The regime should reverse its anti-worker stance and create jobs

Dear Editor,

Wherever you go in the country and speak to business people, large and small, you will be told the same thing: business has slowed to a stop. Many small businesses have been closing their doors because of the fall in people’s purchasing power. This is a clear indication that the economy has stagnated and is even in decline. Many are losing their jobs daily.

The current news reports are mainly focused on the tragedy of the sugar workers, thousands of whom have been sent home even without severance pay. This is by far the worst incident of job losses. Another demonstration of this is the regime’s disregard for our laws and its anti-working class nature. However, many workers and self-employed small loggers in the timber industry have also been pushed out of employment. This was caused by the Barama Company having almost totally closed. The BaiShanLin company was forced out of business leaving hundreds unemployed. The impact is felt all over.

Some stores in Georgetown have had to lay off workers, while others have had to stagger them. This is creating under-employment. Many are not able to find work for the whole week.

Even the gold sector, where some growth in income was registered, is seeing a contraction in employment. Big companies have laid off persons, while small miners and even some medium scale operators, have been pushed out of the industry. This is due to the withdrawal of duty-free concessions to them for machinery and equipment which they had enjoyed under the PPP/C administration.

So much for the government’s talk about small business growth. All hogwash! People are hurting seriously.

However, there is one area that has been experiencing some significant growth: security guards.

A run through of the press since the “Change” took place would show this. More new security companies have come on the scene. They have been advertising for guards. This is practically the only form of employment in our country today which is growing.

The first working day of the year, January 2, 2018, Professional Guard Ser-vice Inc advertised on Facebook for security guards. No amount was specified. That suggested that many were needed.

Some of the security companies that were advertising include, Professional Guard Services Inc, RK Security, Queens-way Security Services Inc, Delta Security Services, BAMS Security Service, GEB Security, to name a few. These companies have had several advertisements.

Professional Guard Services Inc had advertisements almost every month during 2016 and 2017 on Facebook. The other companies followed closely. They have also had a considerable number of advertisements in our dailies.

Outside of the security companies, many companies have been advertising for their own security guards. Some big companies such as Caribbean Containers, National Hardware and Puran Brothers.  Also some private hospitals, banks, etc. And those who can afford it have been employing watchmen for their homes.

Added to this is the growth of the Guyana Police Force. A look at the papers show reports that in September 2016, 57 persons were recruited; in December 2016 some 225 law enforcement officers graduated; in March 2017 85 were recruited for course; in June 2017 another 183 were added to the Force; in November 2017 a further 133 ranks were added.

The 2018 National Budget saw employment and local travel and subsistence costs at $7.7 billion and $1.1 billion respectively. This grew significantly from 2014 when the figures were $4.3 billion and $0.7 billion respectively.

These figures confirm what we all know, that crime has risen exponentially under this APNU+AFC regime. It has been responsible for almost all the new jobs since this regime took power.

Despite the huge jump in security personnel, police, army and private security, the crime rate continues to escalate. Many commentators believe that it has gone out of control. No one is safe any more. The rich, middle-class and working people are all targeted by the criminals.  A lot of serious crimes are being reported. The prospects of the situation getting any better seem remote.

It is known universally that there is a direct correlation between crime and unemployment. With the huge rise in unemployment, it is expected that the negative impact on the economy would be great. The stagnation is growing into a recession. This is a very serious situation caused by sheer incompetence and the discriminatory practices of the regime. The crimes are fundamentally economic crimes. Despite the best efforts of the police, crime will continue to rise. The regime has created the economic conditions for this.

While on the one hand some persons have been able to get some employment due to the high level of crime, it is at the same time absorbing a huge amount of resources. If the economy was performing better it is certain that a huge amount of resources that could power our economy would be going to the productive sector. In an anaemic economy it is a very big drag on the country. This is reminiscent of the late 1970s. At that time Professor Ken Danns had calculated that the PNC regime had one security personnel member to every thirty-five citizens. Then we had the Army, Police, National Service and People’s Militia. I suppose we are there already in this APNU+AFC regime if we add the private security to the state’s security personnel.

It is time the regime reverse its anti-worker and anti-business stance and create jobs in the productive sector of the economy. Important as security is, such a situation tells of a country in decline.

Yours faithfully,

Donald Ramotar

Former President

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