ERC has a responsibility to hear the bauxite union’s case

Dear Editor,
As a citizen of Guyana I am very concerned that the complaint filed by the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) many months ago before the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has not been addressed at all. Understandably, the framers of the Constitution never intended for the ERC to be used to ventilate every hue and cry clothed in “ethnic” garb, but neither was the ERC designed to pick and choose what it will decide to investigate and what it will not. Surely, as a quasi-judicial body, the ERC has a constitutional responsibility to enquire into the merits, if any, of the claim made by the Union, and if it is without merit, to strike it out. It may very well be that the complaint is unmeritorious, but the ERC cannot arrogate onto itself the power to pre-determine the merits or bona fides of a complaint without “hearing” the parties involved.

To refuse to entertain a complaint, or to ignore one when made, is constitutionally and morally reprehensible. Unless the ERC can provide a cogent reason for not entertaining the Union’s complaint they should proceed to hear and determine it. It has to say something because its lawful process has been invoked.

Yours faithfully,
Raphael Trotman

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