My colleague Lincoln Lewis in his last Sunday commentary referred to the trade unions’ housing drive contribution. He referred to the Guyana Post &Telecoms Workers Union involvement in their present housing scheme location. There is a small but not insignificant historical correction.
The union under the Andrew Jackson leadership with their international affiliates’ assistance had a prior, very early attempt at housing development for their members. Each interested member also contributed $250.00 as down-payment for their plot and the union bought Pln D’Endragt on the East Coast. (As an example that $250.00 compared with a postal apprentice salary then of $48.00, and cycle allowance of $3.00 monthly.) When the disturbances came, our land was squatted upon. Andrew Jackson died before the matter was resolved.
Under the Selwyn Felix leadership it took us years to call in favours/network and the government of the day eventually assisted. We were told that each entity should form a coop society and the Housing Ministry with the Coop Ministry collaborated in the ‘exchange’ of land. D’Endragt was for Post and Telecoms workers with the ministry to identify additional land later to make the union whole.
Yes, the Post Office and Telecoms assisted, as did other agencies and individuals in the self-help building exercise. Some of the signing/active coop members are still without their land!
The union leadership and the government passed through several phases and the matter is still not concluded!