‘A time for reflection, introspection and revival’- GAWU Republic Day message


 See full statement from the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) on the occasion of Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary.

As our nation pauses and reflects as we observe half a century of Republican status we of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to the Guyanese people on this significant anniversary. This anniversary gives us – the Guyanese people – yet another opportunity to assess what and where that Constitutional status has brought us.

As we salute our nation on this important anniversary of Republicanism we must take a sober look at where the Republic stands nearly half a century on. No doubt we made strides in various socio-economic aspects during this time but, we contend, that the economic transformation whereby the masses of Guyanese could experience fully the results of development is still to be achieved. To this day, the economic struggle for a reasonable standard of living continues. Too many of our skilled, qualified citizens have opted for migration in pursuit of a better life. As we have noted before the “Good Life” here is still out of grasp of the working-people.

When we consider our times of today, we recognize that several issues still linger on. In fact our now-a-day circumstances, very much mimic the situation on our attainment of republican status. Dr Cheddi Jagan, speaking in the National Assembly on February 23, 1970, said “…we have a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Foreign vested interests have become more entrenched, more exploitive and more ruthless. For their support of these bureaucratic capitalist elites, they receive more and more concessions. Meanwhile, unemployment and underemployment soar and crime, delinquency and prostitution increase.” Dr Jagan went on saying “[t]hey [the Government] have betrayed a trust. They have sold out the people. While serving imperialism and building a retinue of hangers-on and yes-men, they are feeding the people with half-truths, slogans and gimmicks.” He, at that time, urged the then Administration to “…cut out their Daimler-style living, abandon Duvalier methods, follow in the footsteps of Julius Nyerere and Fidel Castro and serve the people…”.

We have seen similar situations unfolding today. Guyanese are still grappling with the shocking news that our nation has given up as much as US$55B from our oil resources. The cheap sell out of our national patrimony is a matter that cannot be countenanced or explained away with wishy-washy excuses and rationales. Such conduct cannot and is not helpful especially given our stage of development and the pressing need to address several national issues. Of course, we cannot ignore too that this significant anniversary comes on the eve of National and Regional elections. The polls which are overdue nearly a year now come as we see a new litany of promises and commitments emerging from those holding the reins of power. Certainly, as Dr Jagan put it “half-truths, slogans and gimmicks” cannot meaningfully address the troubles that afflict our nation and our people. As we head into the elections, we cannot ignore, too, that several fears are harboured regarding the sanctity of the poll. This too is an unwelcome development.

None-the-less, GAWU calls on Guyanese not to abandon hope and unite and struggle for genuine progressive change. As the Anniversary’s Mashramani events take centre-stage, let us celebrate but, bear in mind our responsibilities as citizens of our Republic to bring about enduring prosperity and all-round progress benefitting every Guyanese.

A happy, peaceful Republic Anniversary and Mashramani 2020 to all!

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