As the 2011 general elections approach, the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) General Secretary says now is the time for a government of national unity.
Lewis, who read from a prepared statement yesterday at a briefing at the Critchlow Labour College on Woolford Avenue, said the GTUC as a body sees its work as being pivotal to influencing national decision-making in keeping with the creation of a just society. He said the body views politics as being about people, and people’s development as well as its impact on their lives.
According to Lewis, Guyanese need to actively participate in a system of governance that respects the country’s diversity and which allows the nation an equal share at the decision-making table as well as one which respects the facts embedded in our national song.
He continued, “This is the time for a government of national unity since the current approach to governance is not consistent with the political objective of the constitution.” He said too that the time is ripe for political maturity and for a government which works in keeping with the framework of the Constitution that offers each citizen protection from executive branch, lawlessness and corruption of the other branches of government.
He told that gathering, which included members of the recently formed opposition coalition APNU, that the establishment of a proportional representation system for a system of governance was advocated in 1962 by the body when it sent a delegation to London.
Lewis noted that in the Guyanese political context, “the larger preys on the smaller, threatening their survival even as laws offer little or no protection and an uncaring government creates and nurtures the environment for social chaos – offering the vulnerable in our midst little or no hope.” He said it is now imperative that Guyanese strengthen the country’s institutions, the branches of government, national laws and resolve to hold every government accountable for mismanagement.
The GTUC is of the belief that an inclusionary society can only be achieved when fundamental human rights, dignities and justice are guaranteed and protected for each citizen, “where they can grow and develop and have meaningful participation in their country’s development, and that the law protects and holds each citizen accountable.”
He noted too that the GTUC stands committed to forging a truly inclusive government and for holding the government accountable to reinforcing and giving meaning to Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution. “We stand committed to work with every group/individual to protect the rights of all Guyanese citizens whom we classify as labour – past present and potential.”
Lewis stated that the recently formed APNU, at its launch, committed to the electorate that it will form a national front government should it win the upcoming national and regional elections.
The AFC is on record saying that it is prepared to collate after the elections, he noted. He said that the time has come for the nation to have a serious working parliament and for deepening the spirit and intent of a “people’s representative government” as constitutionally outlined.
He added that decisions as it relates to the passing of laws, national budgets, agreement with international financial institutions, trade agreements, privatisation of state assets, investment processes must not be allowed to be made by a simple majority vote.
When questioned yesterday as regards how the body plans to take its message to the populace, Lewis said the media have their role to play in this regard, adding that the private media today are not like in the olden days.
He said GTUC will be utilising available media to get its messages to the masses.