GPSU’s leadership cupboard bare

It has taken Patrick Yarde the better part of twenty years or so to discover that the Guyana Public Service Union is facing a leadership crisis. Big deal Patrick! The writing was written all over the walls of the Union’s Regent and New Garden streets Secretariat for years. The problem is that you were too obsessed with holding on to power. You should have been reading the tea leaves.

Of course the Union is facing a leadership crisis, Patrick. We don’t need you to tell us that. In fact, you appear to be afflicted with an aversion to the truth in your advancing years to say nothing of a seriously flawed memory.

Recall Patrick, your years of lording it over the union, parading as a hero of what you call “the struggle,” scattering all those whom you perceived to be rivals or enemies to the winds; running the union single-handedly as though it were your private property.

Recall Patrick, your perpetuation of self in office; your constitutional sleight of hand that kept you in office way beyond the allowed age. Those days, my friend, were the beginning of the Union’s contemporary sorrows. The GPSU is now reaping what you sowed.

Remember too, Patrick, the days when the GPSU attracted the best and brightest of Public Servants, people of talent and integrity, prepared to give service to the Union. Each of them, in turn, walked away, frustrated, fed up, sick and tired of your dictatorial disposition. It was you who scuttled the Union’s succession plan, Patrick; you and the agents of the political administration who cynically divided public servants. They saw your scheming and took advantage of it, scuttling the Collective Bargaining process and paying wage increases in dribs and drabs. It was you who helped the politicians to turn the union into what it is today……. a shell of what it once was. Those who know can talk!

The outward migration from the GPSU by potential union leaders and the current lack of leadership has everything to do with what now surely appears to be Yarde’s President-For-Life policy since – even though you must be ‘pushing seventy’ by now and reportedly not exactly in the pink of condition, you continue to hang on.

On the other hand, you are not alone in your thirst for power. There’s Carvil Duncan, the General Secretary of the Guyana Labour Union and another of labour’s dinosaurs. Duncan, like Yarde, has steered clear of any challenge to his leadership. Trade Unionists of their generation simply have no place else to go. Then there is Lincoln Lewis, another dinosaur, a one-time General Secretary of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union who, after a stint with the Caribbean Congress of Labour has now returned to a toothless TUC, split into pieces by the machinations of the political administration, ably assisted by union leaders.

As for divisiveness in the labour movement, it is no secret that Yarde, Duncan, Lewis et al have made their own healthy contributions to the carving up of the labour movement into factions and fiefdoms. They have all, in the past, been co-conspirators in the periodic fight-downs over who became the President of the TUC. Now Yarde is saying that the TUC and FITUG must find ways of working with each other! Give it a rest Patrick! And as for this business of a “code of conduct,” can labour leaders like yourself and the other be relied upon to honour a code of conduct when you cannot even be relied upon to honour your unions’ constitutions!

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