August 21 marked five years since central government signed an agreement with the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council, and it is yet to be honoured. This agreement entails the return of the community television gifted to the people; the return to regional management of the Land Selection Committee as is done in other regions; the establishment of an Economic Committee to develop a plan for the development of the region and its people; and establishment of the Technical Committee to look into the electricity situation in Linden.
The sealing of this agreement under the Donald Ramotar government, which was marked with the lives, blood, sweat and tears of the people, also had parliamentary approval via a motion brought by Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon, and approved by the House. What this is saying to us is that in addition to the executive signing on to the agreement, the nation’s highest decision-making forum (Parliament) has too given assent. In keeping with the branches and role of government, the executive which is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the state is duty bound to respect all decisions taken by the nation’s supreme decision-making body.
The honouring of the 2012 agreement was also a campaign rallying call by the APNU+AFC should they get into office. The people of Linden/Region 10 played a major role on 11th May 2015 to ensure this. The depressed state of this community was acknowledged in the 2001 agreement signed between Leader of the Opposition Desmond Hoyte and President Bharrat Jagdeo to address such communities. Lindeners in 2012 and 2015 fought to secure this attention.
This is Emancipation Month and we are also in the United Nations’ designated International Decade for People of African Descent. President David Granger in addressing the Cuffy250 Committee’s forum at Critchlow Labour College on Sunday, called on African Guyanese to submit their projects to government for funding. As a citizen of such ancestry, I re-submit today the 2012 Agreement and the commitment given by the David Granger-Moses Nagamootoo government to stop the denial of the rights of workers, who are primarily of African descent, employed in the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated.
The continuous violation of the nation’s sovereignty with the disrespect for the laws of Guyana and Guyanese by Russian management has been a bitter battle since 2009. The APNU and AFC in opposition condemned the PPP/C government’s refusal to secure the constitutional rights of this section of Guyanese labour. The group also campaigned on a commitment to respect the laws and uphold the rights of every citizen and the nation’s sovereignty. These workers too worked hard and delivered for the administration at the ballot based on the social contract. And whereas I have argued that such violations were supported and inflicted by the PPP government because of who the workers are and their perceived political association, the APNU+AFC has no excuse given its commitment to bring about racial equality and government according to the rule of law.
Africans have to hold themselves and others accountable for respecting rights and treating people with dignity and respect. To do otherwise would be acting like compliant servants and imposing upon ourselves systems of servitude our ancestors valiantly fought against and which secured our freedoms and right to self-determination.
And if we proudly fought other races not to treat us with disrespect then we owe it to ourselves not to treat ourselves in like manner or allow any among us to think such treatment is acceptable. Only in this manner can we build on the legacy of our ancestors and allow holistic development to take place.