I respond to an article in the Sunday Stabroek dated March 26, 2017 on pages 10 and 23.
Permit me first to state that while in no way, I nor the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), is in any position to dictate how you should prioritize and/or publish information that is conveyed to your newspaper, the GPSU was disappointed that notwithstanding that the union sent to your newspaper a timely message for International Women’s Day 2017 when no one in their right senses should not recognise the importance of saluting our women, your newspaper could not find a space to publish it on March 8, or on any subsequent day. This was done notwithstanding the fact that the President of the Union called you to facilitate the message on behalf of the union. It must be noted, however, that subsequent to sending the message to your newspaper it was sent to the Guyana Chronicle and the entire message was published.
Here again, the GPSU had a press conference on March 21, 2017 during which it also addressed the so-called “protest action” to which your newspaper, among others, is giving significant prominence. At that press conference the union provided the supporting evidence for everything that was presented; this was done in keeping with a fundamental principle the GPSU has maintained, ie, whatever is done must be able to withstand scrutiny at any time. While this was done and the point made of the print and electronic media’s deficiency in not verifying the veracity of what they publish, we have observed that your newspaper continues to publicize erroneous and misleading information, although the evidence exists that your newspaper is well acquainted with the facts.
Your newspaper published an article on Sunday, March 26, 2017, which stated that Patrick Yarde had been President of the union since 1987. We are stating that we have several articles published by the Stabroek News that George Daniels was the President of the GPSU up until May 1989. We can also establish that the Stabroek News was well aware that the GPSU had elections for the members of the Executive Council in 1989 for the term 1989-1993 and that Mr Farley Thompson was elected President unopposed at that time. And on Farley Thompson’s migration Alan Monroe acted as President, and that on his resignation, Mr Yarde acted as President. Patrick Yarde’s first election as President was in 1993 when he contested the position. So you made a six-year blunder.
Your reporter who recorded Mr Hermanstyne’s contention that the term of the presidency is two years and that the incumbent is confined to two terms is misleading. Let me state emphatically, that the rules of the GPSU were amended in 1981 to extend the election period to four years. At that same conference the rules were also amended to create the full-time position for the President/CEO and George Daniels was President. It is to us disturbing that there are elements contributing to your newspaper who are definitely in a deliberate conspiracy with those who have no locus standi in the GPSU, and that your newspaper seems to be giving much prominence to such misinformation, seemingly not concerned of its impact on your newspaper’s credibility.
Undoubtedly this attack on Mr Patrick Yarde is malicious. Mr Yarde has made it very clear to me that he would not dignify it by responding, even though he has expressed significant disappointment in my reports to him of your erroneous publications.
I wish to state that I would not respond to everything published which I consider nonsense and fabrications, but state my abhorrence of statements made by opportunists who feel that they could determine what we do in this union and who tries to mess with one of our greatest stalwarts whose life was threatened repeatedly, who was shot at, charged and detained for things he never did. These acts of intimidation and terror were no secret; your newspaper carried them and they attracted international attention and condemnation, and disconcerted back-stabbers who now think that they have an opportunity to use their daggers are attempting to do so.
Let me also state that we are aware of the political elements involved. As a matter of fact, at the Executive Council meeting when a unanimous decision was taken to support Mr Yarde to contest the position of President/CEO for the election 2017-2021 he informed the meeting that the decision would attract much attention and reaction. We were all well aware of it too and we all decided to consciously confront it.
We have already dared the opportunists to take the matter to court. I wish to state that nothing would stop the elections process and one thing we are conscious of is the intelligence and consciousness of our members. This masquerade is an insult to the intelligence of our members, a blatant disrespect of the rules of the union and the contributions and sacrifices made by Mr Yarde and other members of the Executive Council, and will be resented and rejected.
We see this as an attempt to assassinate the character of Mr Yarde and to weaken the effectiveness and undermine representation, something that is currently being frustrated by the government. Just to mention a few: The sweeper/cleaners issue; the 2016 salary and allowances negotiations; the appointment of persons on contract above the age of 45 years on the permanent pensionable establishment; the provision of recreational facilities for public service workers; the construction of daycare facilities for public service workers in all ten administrative regions; the provision of house lots; the full payment of gratuity to mothers on maternity leave; the payment of night premiums to nurses; increases of on-call allowances to all health workers and others.
These are the negotiations that the masqueraders are allowing themselves to obstruct. However, we would never be distracted; we have dealt with gimmicks (ploys) so often in the past.
Mortimer A Livan
1st Vice President
We carried no message from anyone on International Women’s Day. We have long ceased to carry messages, no matter what the occasion.