Letter: It is a political strike

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Some teachers who are on strike protesting outside of the Ministry of Education in Georgetown

Dear Editor,

On December 12th, I wrote a letter captioned ‘Another political twist’, in which I called attention to the fact that the Opposition is using the 6.5% wage increase to public servants to further its political agenda.

During Budget 2024 debates, this was the main focal point, and GTU General Secretary, the APNU/AFC Member of Parliament, made sure that this was driven to the hilt. In her opening statement, she inadvertently exposed the GTU’s political agenda when she claimed that the teachers’ only hope to transform their lives was ‘to return the Coalition Government to power’.

So, the strike is not about the ‘collective bargaining agreement’ being breached, or the 6.5% wage increase.

She went on to accuse the PPP/C of launching a ‘parliamentary coup’ against the Coalition Government, and that the PPP/C became the ‘first installed regime’, therefore she does not accept the legitimacy of the PPP/C Government.

Ms Coretta McDonald has indeed exhibited deliberate amnesia in regard to ‘installed regime’ in Guyana. In addition, she shamelessly blamed the PPP/C for the ‘pain and distress’ this nation had to bear after the successful passing of the No Confidence Motion in 2018.

It is no surprise that as soon as the Parliamentary Committee of Supply’s consideration came to closure, the GTU called a strike, even though the grievance procedures have not been exhausted.

In her 2024 debate presentation, she stressed the importance of education in transforming the lives of children and lifting them out of poverty, yet she hypocritically ignored this presentation and called an illegal strike at a critical time: when students are preparing for the NGSA and the CSEC exams. Completion of the SBA component of the CSEC syllabus is a crucial point. Is this how much the GTU cares about our children?

It is also important to note that the General Secretary spoke about a ‘corporate sponsor’ who would fund the strike relief for the striking teachers. Therefore, this was well-planned, and it would be enlightening to know who the ‘sponsor’ is.

McDonald’s frequent use of race-baiting, with many references to GAWU and sugar workers, also exposes the GTU’s political agenda. It was also observed that several APNU/AFC operatives were in the midst of the striking teachers. They are part of the teachers’ strike, and this again exposes the strike for what it is.

No doubt, this strike called by the GTU is just the beginning of the modus operandi that the Opposition would utilise to destabilize the PPP/C Government.

Teachers must act sensibly and responsibly, and not be used as pawns in this nefarious and villainous power struggle by the APNU/AFC, who will no doubt use them to gain power once again, and discard them soon after.

Yours sincerely,Haseef Yusuf