Striking workers BCGI Threaten with dismissal –sovereignty at risk

Submitted by Press Release Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union

This morning (15th February 2019) workers at the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) downed tools protesting the Russian management’s imposition of one percent wages increase. This is an embarrassment to all Guyanese. The workers’ protest was responded to by management at a meeting held where they were brutally told that they will be fired if they do not return to work within the day, that they can seek redress wherever they want, and to hell with the government. The operation at the mines and maintenance departments have come to a halt.

Article 147(2) of the Constitution of Guyana protects the right to strike. And whereas in the Collective Bargaining process strike is considered an industrial weapon to be used whenever the circumstances become necessary, all are reminded that since December 2009, under the noses of successive governments, BCGI has been engaged in a series of violation of the law and transgressing of the workers’ rights. The management continues to refuse to treat with the recognised union of the workers’ choice, the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU).

GB&GWU has earlier today informed Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle, of the industrial action taken by the aggrieved and deprived workers. The Union stands in solidarity with these workers in the exercise of their basic right and for the upholding of their attendant rights. GB&GWU calls on all Guyanese to understand the struggles faced by these workers, to empathise with them, and to lend them your support. GB&GWU calls on the international community for its solidarity.  The continued violation of BCGI workers threatens multiple family units and the entire communities within which they reside. The threat to one is a threat to all; and injustice here is an injustice everywhere.

Workers of BCGI have been suffering since under the previous government and continue to suffer under the current. How many more have to suffer, how many families and children have to suffer. As Guyanese, citizens of the world, one and all will have to face the reality now.  The best defense for the unaffected lies in the protection of the rights of those around them. GB&GWU calls on the Government and Opposition to intervene immediately and stop this violating of the Guyana Constitution and the Rule of Law and the transgressing of the workers’ right by a foreign sovereign power.

In this period of political division and external tension with our neighbour Venezuela, who is facilitating a growing presence of Russia in its ongoing pursuit of geopolitical relevance, is management’s new threats and intensified violation a strategy we must pay attention to. Moreso, in the context of a heated upcoming election and the exploitation of our oil and gas resources. This matter is no longer a simple labour issue. There seems to be a hidden agenda with potentially dangerous consequences that both the Government and Opposition should take immediate action on. This is about a nation’s sovereignty and national interest, the respect for worldwide comity.

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Bauxite Company’s circular sending home workers (received after press release)

12 comments

  • Vincent Codrington

    Does it matter the source of the exploitation? Same old battle; only change of faces. There is nothing new under the Sun. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

    Like

  • Did they expect anything different from Putin and his oligarchs????????? The powers that be are the same worldwide.

    Liked by 1 person

  • How is Russia influence in the bauxite sector in Guyana spawning the Venezuela situation?

    Like

  • Haiti anti government protests turning to burning and looting. Does anyone care ?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Hants at 1 :39 PM

    The Haitians have to care about themselves first before demanding care from others. They are not all children. We all want sovereignty but do not want the responsibility of developing it for our selves and making the sacrifices .

    Like

  • Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union

    Press Release

    17th February 2019

    BCGI places an entire community at risk

    At entire community of Guyanese is placed at risk from the recent violation of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) threatening to remove workers and their families from Maple Town. This cannot be allowed to happen in Guyana. The Russian management of BCGI must not be allowed to exploit our resources and in the process violate Guyanese and disrespect our Laws. Not here in Guyana!

    120 bauxite workers, including their families, who permanently reside in the residential location at Aroaima, owned by BCGI were issued an edit, via circular, last Friday afternoon (15th February) to immediately vacate the community. The company hired buses to facilitate the move to enforce its edict. The children of these workers attend the nursery and primary schools in the area. The surrounding communities are dependent on the workers.

    Last Friday workers proceeded on strike after BCGI’s failure (since 2009) to respect their rights to a union of choice and collective bargaining. The further act of seeking to physically dispossess them is not only lawless, inhumane, vindictive and uncalled for but a violation of their conditions of employment. Every act of the worker remains consistent with Article 147 of the Guyana Constitution.

    Workers have ignored the edict and are resolutely standing their ground. They, along with their families, remain within Maple Town. The Government of Guyana, the Ministry of Public Security, now has the responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being in the area and immediate environs since their lives have made untenable by management.

    Other workers who live partially on site have had kitchen services taken away from them. These workers spend two weeks on site and leave for their days off. It is evident in the management thinking that workers can be brought to their knees by depriving them of food. This tactic will not break the indomitable spirit and will of those who are committed to struggle for their freedoms. The many examples of history are on their side.

    Tomorrow, Monday 18th February, there is expected to be a meeting at the Labour Department at 10:00 a.m. to attend to the grievances. The meeting is at the invitation, via letter dated 15th February, of Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle to the Union and BCGI management. GB&GWU shall attend not only confident the Laws are on the workers’ side, but in quickened steps to bring about resolution conscious that the soil we walk on is drenched with the blood, sweat and tears of our forebears and made more enriched for the workers of today to first reap of its bounty.

    GB&GWU is on record saying the stalemate is much more than that of an industrial nature; it has elements of ethnic disrespect, political bias, political inaction and disrespect for Guyana’s sovereignty (Laws). Friday’s act by management, in closing down critical areas of operation (mining and maintenance) and ordering workers and their families out of the town, has escalated the contempt.

    Government of Guyana has joint shareholding interest in BCGI. It must be mindful that whatever is being done by management is also done in its name. Guyanese, home and in the diaspora, must not countenance the continued violations. Enough is enough or as one striking worker said, if we don’t stand up now and fight, we won’t be able to fight in the future! That worker echoes the conviction of citizens of the world who believe in the benefit of respecting basic right of freedom of association.

    GB&GWU, on behalf of the aggrieved workers, continue to ask for your solidarity. Every voice added in condemnation to the transgressing of rights and violating of just laws is a voice necessary in the fight for justice here and everywhere.

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  • Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union

    19th February 2019

    Press Release

    Gov’t and Opposition must ensure RUSAL shape up or ship out

    The Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) is aware the management of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) met with the Labour Department today. As GB&GWU awaits the Department’s feedback it needs to be said very clearly the reasons given by the Russian management for the dismissal of workers are null and void and ultra vires. According to media reports BCGI advised the dismissal of the 61 workers yesterday had to do with: 1) re-deployment and; 2) the workers signed a contract that they can be dismissed if they refuse to work.

    The Collective Labour Agreement will require that management engages the bonafide representative of the employees on any action that seeks to interrupt their contract for service, whether through termination or re-deployment following consultation, negotiations and agreement between the employer and workers’ representative, in this case GB&GWU. Based on engagement, management and union will look for ways and means of addressing any economic hardship that affects the company’s sustainability and can militate against maintaining the workforce and the conditions of work. This will require intense discussions, negotiations on any drastic change in conditions of employment. If as the company is projecting that re-deployment is necessary it also requires consultation, negotiation and agreement with the Union to determine conditions of severance such as benefit, pay, etc.

    The management’s claimed position that workers can be terminated because they signed a contract that they be will dismissed if they refuse to work is blatant nonsense! Article 147 (2) of the Guyana Constitution protects the right to strike. Anything outside of the Constitution that infringes the rights of the employee is a violation. The fact BCGI management can go to the ministerial body with such utter nonsense demonstrates the height of RUSAL’s eye-pass.

    GB&GWU trust that the learned officials would have done justice to the taxpayers who are paying them to provide service to the Guyana labour force and advised BCGI as to the wrongness of its thinking and actions, and present those personnel copies of the extant articles. GB&GWU hopes former chief labour officer Mohamed Akeel, in his new role on BCGI’s payroll as labour advisor, has in his possession similar document that should have served to guide his foreign masters in this land of ours. It is a shame that Guyanese would allow themselves to be paid to violate other Guyanese, our laws and Constitution. This is a pattern of behaviour we must look for as self-interest trumps universal acceptable principles.

    The effrontery of RUSAL/BCGI knows no limit and lacks consideration for those whom they employ. We the people of Guyana must show them that they will not be allowed to get away with this any longer. We must say collectively as a united nation that enough is enough! Bauxite does not spoil. The Russian management must shape up or ship out for Guyana existed and its bauxite was exploited before RUSAL/BCGI and it will continue without them. GB&GWU will hold the Government and Opposition equally accountable for this. RUSAL needs us, for our bauxite has a distinctive value as sweetener for them. There is a symbiotic relationship but it must be treated with mutual respect.

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  • 19th February 2019

    Fellow Guyanese, brothers, sisters, friends,

    Re: Bauxite workers need your solidarity, your support

    Workers employed at the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) need your solidarity. We particularly need your moral support and voice raise in support of the struggle and condemnation of RUSAL/BCGI and all those who lend them their support, directly or indirectly, covertly or by silence, in their violation against the Constitution and Laws of Guyana and transgression against your brothers and sisters in Aroaima and Kwakwani. In this matter silence is no longer an option that we must accept.

    BCGI is jointly owned by the Government of Guyana and Russia Aluminum (RUSAL) in a 9:1 ratio favouring RUSAL. The presumptuous of RUSAL’s actions and the greatest concern is that what is done by RUSAL is done by the Government and has been done since 2009 under successive Government and Opposition, save and expect the Opposition of Robert Corbin who fought the Parliament and stood in solidarity on the streets with workers to bring pressure on the Bharrat Jagdeo government.

    The Guyana Constitution, Article 147, protects the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining and strike action. Section 23 (1) of the Trade Union Recognition Act mandates engagement between management and trade union on the worker’s behalf. This is not an option for RUSAL/BCGI to determine whether to uphold or not to uphold. These laws of Guyana that shape and determine our sovereignty must be protected by the Government of Guyana.

    Violation of these laws by BCGI constitute frontal attacks of Guyana’s most vulnerable, our sovereignty (laws). It insults the Government with whom it is in partnership with by taking advantage of weaknesses, real or perceived. Further, the actions of BCGI stand in direct contravention of corporate ethics and obligations. As Guyanese we of the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) urge you to embrace the tenet of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. where he said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

    The facts of our grievances in brief are: on Monday 18th management dismissed 61 workers for daring to exercise their rights under the Constitution of Guyana. This follows their callous action of 2009 when 57 workers were dismissed without due process for similarly exercising their right to reject the imposition of wages. The current struggle escalated after strike action commenced on Friday 15th when management ordered the 120+ plus workers and their families who live in the resident compound (Mapletown) to vacate the premises, and sought to ensure this by providing transportation. Management has also withdrawn kitchen services for those who live off site but are roomed when on shift to work. These acts are not only disrespectful and draconian in nature they constitute violation of the right to collective bargaining and the workers’ conditions of employment. In essence, RUSAL/BCGI is belittling the People of Guyana, the workers of Guyana, our brothers and sisters in Kwakawani and Aroaima.

    The Union, on behalf of aggrieved workers and their families, asks of the citizens of Guyana and all who possess the will and strength to help us in this struggle, irrespective of creed, ethnicity, geographical location or association, to stand in solidarity with us, as we demand from this Government and Opposition strident support and intervention to end the disrespect.

    We ask that you share our story, wide and far, in every media space, social and otherwise to sensitise those around the world, particularly in countries where RUSAL has corporate interests or can be influenced. GB&GWU is a small union, in a small developing country, coming up against a large predatory conglomerate (RUSAL) whose actions and that of its principal actors are not without international concern for the dubious nature of its corporate and other behaviours.

    To our Government and Opposition, under whose noses these transgressions have been occurring, we say in the words of the renowned trade unionist and politician, Lech Wałęsa: “The sole and basic source of our strength is the solidarity of workers, peasants and the intelligentsia, the solidarity of the nation, the solidarity of people who seek to live in dignity, truth, and in harmony with their conscience.”

    We need every available understanding and support.

    Thank you,

    Lincoln Lewis

    General Secretary

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  • These small islands (just threw a bone for Simple Simon) will have to watch out who they do with business with. It is OK pretending you are wheeling and dealing and signing contracts, but they are a lots of devils doing the same. All this talk and fancy article will dissipate if the Russian mafia is involved and start to lean on some of the key players on the other side.

    This is my fear, they go to bed with a criminal element that is (1) seeking easier access to the US or (2) trying to wash money. If this is a case, the workers are even worth less than a pawn are best discarded,.

    You might be ‘punching’ above your weight, but you are still a flyweight.

    For those who want to use Greece as a reference point
    Area:
    131,957 km2 (50,949 sq mi)[1] (95th) – 300 times as big as Barbados
    Population
    • 2017 estimate
    10,768,477 — 41 times the people
    Look at other relevant stats

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  • Dear all,

    This RUSAL disrespect was given free rein under the Jagdeo led regime. Our current government has an opportunity to stop this. Failing to do so then they must be prepared to take equal responsibility for what will now appear to be acting in sync with the PPP when they were in opposition to deliberately ignore a foreign company violating the rights of our people, our constitution and the laws of Guyana. As one looks the dual citizenship ordeal which our MPs on both sides are faced with and the fact that they knew it was wrong but silently supported each other in wrongdoing is not hard to believe that the RUSAL violation is another such lawless breach of our policymakers /governments. It is of concern that Minister Keith Scot failed to address the media as they sought to solicit his view. The Minister’s attitude so far is setting a negative tone to his ministry’s response and in particular to the government. Is he equipped for the task at hand, being properly advised by his technical people, powers that be, or is he being driven by pettiness? These concerns are pertinent at this time.

    Over the years, for whatever reason (s) successive Governments and the Opposition turned ‘Nelson’s eye’ on the prevailing lawlessness, the recent court action, confidence motion, LGE and general hemorrhaging of party supporters , should cause some reflection on the MO of this government that silence, inaction, and conjoined lawlessness has no place in our society. These are not signs of a progressive and caring government or one with a true working class interest. The government must ask itself whether the neglect that persons complained of, the callousness of some of our leaders, the lack of care and compassion that is being talked about and the overall negatives that surfaced after the LGE and the Confidence motion are again manifesting as once again they seem not moved to act swiftly in the interest of the people they are elected to protect.

    The COALITION government must be sensitive to the fact that politically, RUSAL ‘s actions and the workers’ grievances are particularly unfortunate at this time when our nation is embroiled in a political power struggle and government is being defined as uncaring, insensitive, inept, downright out of touch with the people, and a failure. This is a position ripe for the PPP to take advantage of on the ground.

    That Rusal is exploiting perceived weaknesses among our politicians and in our government is evident. That they test the strength of our government to make decisions to protect Guyanese workers all of whom are potential voters is an insult to all right thinking Guyanese. Clearly, RUSAL is being guided by local participants to believe that they can get away operating like a state within a state, setting their own laws in direct violation of the laws of Guyana. How else does a foreign company declare that workers signed a contract to be dismissed if they strike? How does RUSAL declare to our people that mine workers do not strike?

    Who and what is driving this Russian company? At the same time should we as a people, a party, a government be concerned about other possible initiatives which this company may be able to fund and influence at a time when Russian geopolitical interest is rising? There is a notable recent presence in Venezuela. There is reported interest in influencing elections around the world. The Coalition’s opponent allegedly has great relationships with Oleg Deripaska a Russian oligarch who is the founder of RUSAL and according to the USA sources, has connections to organized crimes. These issues are certainly not escaping the eyes of many of us with eyes on the corruption and wealth driven mentality of many of our politicians on both sides who are prepared to use public service only as a sham to amass wealth at the people’s expense. Some across the divide are even alleged to be in cahoots with better working business relationships than political ones. Hopefully, none of these explain the sloth or seeming government’s unwillingness to put a stop to this lawlessness of RUSAL.

    Debra.

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  • Guyana Trades Union Congress
    Press Statement
    20th February 2019

    RUSAL’s contempt threatens Guyana’s sovereignty

    If indeed there had been any doubt about the complete and utter contempt of the Russian management of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) for the sovereignty of Guyana, the constitutional provisions that embrace the right of Guyanese workers to be members of a trade union and to take legitimate industrial action without fear of unjustified and ruthless reprisals, there can now, surely, that can now, surely, no longer be the case.

    Monday, the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) the trade union representing BCGI workers learnt that the company had summarily fired sixty-one (61) of those workers after they had exercised their democratic right to take strike action in protest over a ‘pay increase’ imposition that had not been preceded by any negotiating exercise. That kind of arbitrary high-handedness, underpinned by the total and complete exclusion of the GB&GWU from the negotiating process has always been an integral part of the management style of BCGI’s Russian management.

    While the Guyana Trades Union Congress’ (GTUC) primary concern at this time is that the dismissed workers be restored to their jobs, immediately, without loss of pay and that the company be required, as obtains under the Laws of Guyana to recognize and engage the GB&GWU, we are no less concerned over the historic persistence of the Government of Guyana with its ‘policy’ of leaden-footed indifference to the sustained arrogance and abusiveness of the Russian management of the BCGI. RUSAL, we need to remind ourselves, has a significant staked in the country’s bauxite industry. That stake, however, does not extend to the sovereignty of Guyana.

    Over the years, successive political administrations have sat on their hands continually, indifferent to the various and repeated instances in which the BCGI’s management have trampled on the rights of the workers and laughed in the face of the Government of Guyana, as if defying the administration to respond to its audacity.

    Distressingly, the conduct of BCGI’s Russian management has, over time, reflected a contempt for high officials and institutions of the Government of Guyana. Nowhere is that more clearly reflected than in the repeated refusal of the company to respond to summonses by the Ministry of Social Protection to engage on matters pertaining to the rights of the company’s workers and the responsibilities of its management. That indeed, was the case in the instance of last Monday’s meeting. Rather than sit around the negotiating table BCGI’s Russian management simply applied their accustomed draconian and heavy-handed approach by dismissing sixty-one (61) workers.

    Since BCGI’s operations in Guyana has been spread over political administrations led by both of current APNU+AFC coalition and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), we believe that both of these must accept responsibility for the prevailing status quo. One might add that the struggle to push back against the tyranny of the RUSAL managers at BCGI is not a partisan political struggle but a struggle for the dignity and sovereignty of our country against an oppressor. Accordingly, and whatever political differences might obtain at this time, the company’s Russian management and RUSAL as a whole must be left under no illusions regarding the unified nature of our struggle to bring an end to this tyranny.

    Accordingly, the GTUC is seeking the following immediate action in response to the arbitrary and illegal dismissal of the sixty-one (61) BCGI employees.

     Robust and unambiguous public statements from both the Government of Guyana and the Opposition PPP/C specifically condemning the dismissal of the striking workers and calling on the management of BCGI to respect the laws of Guyana with regard to trade union membership and the rights and entitlements appended thereto.
    
    This should be followed immediately by a meeting between Government and the management of BCGI to follow through on details surrounding their public call and the re-establishment of clear guidelines and understanding of RUSAL/BCGI’s need for compliance with all of Guyana's industrial laws and practices if said company is to continue enjoying the goodwill of government and be at harmony with the Guyanese society.  Details will also include: unconditional reinstatement of the dismissed workers; respecting the workers' recognised Union of choice, following the instructions issued by the Department of Labour.  respect the workers’ right to strike; the need to sit at the table to negotiate with the Union the Terms of Resumption which must include no break in service, no penalties or recriminations.
    
    The immediate dispatch to the BCGI management of communication notifying them of an impending visit to the work site by a delegation comprising officials of the Ministry of Social Protection, The Ministry of Natural Resources and the GB&GWU to engage management and workers (including the dismissed workers) in meetings with a view to their reinstatement and to the formal recognition of the GB&GWU as the union representing the BCGI workers.
    

    It is the view of the GTUC that while the role of RUSAL as an investor in the country’s bauxite industry warrants full recognition, the status of an investor does not entitle the company to ride roughshod over the laws of Guyana and the rights of the Guyanese people. The Russian managers at BCGI have repeatedly overstepped their mark and a juncture has been reached where a robust collective response from the relevant institutions and the people of Guyana is warranted.

    Ms. Coretta McDonald
    President- GTUC

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  • Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union

    Press statement

    24th February 2019

    GB&GWU demands swift action by Gov’t not only talk

    The Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) welcomes the visit last Friday to the Aroiama location by Ministers Amna Ally and Keith Scott, and members of the Department of Labour to meet with workers representing the hundreds striking and 61 dismissed of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI). This is a good sign that follows public pronouncements and reassurances by the Government of Guyana, through the Minister of Social Protection, that GB&GWU is the bargaining agent, must be respected by the BCGI and “they have to speak with the union because the union represents the workers.” Note, whereas we acknowledge this as a good sign this is not all that is requited to achieve the targeted end results. GB&GWU now demands swift follow-up action by government.

    Time for swift action

    Our next phase must see swift action to give meaning to the public promises and commitments of Government made by Minister Ally and witnessed by this nation. While we commend the Minister, GB&GWU is not prepared to only accept the Minister’s call for respect of our laws, we hold her and Government accountable for ensuring the RUSAL management conforms to these without delay, failing which there must be immediate consequences. This is important lest RUSAL takes the Minister’s words lightly. In order to achieve this a meeting between the Union and BCGI management to determine Terms of Resumption is expected immediately. Further engagements to discuss other identified issues of industrial importance long overdue will then follow.

    GB&GWU urges the nation, workers of BCGI to remain mobilised, energised, galvanised and vigilant for the struggle does not end when the ink dries on the Terms of Resumption signed by the parties involved. It only ends after implementation of the agreement is met. We must hold steadfast out of an abundance of caution based on our own experiences with failed promises and seeing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory of others whose struggles have been torpedoed and gains perceived and promised lost when they become complacent.

    Internal threat

    RUSAL’s management is not just a foreign threat to our sovereignty that must be contained, it is a high internal threat invited to operate within our national borders threatening our peace and stability with the potential for more deleterious consequences which might well be the greatest challenge we as a nation have faced since independence.

    Complacency must not at this time be an option when our national interest and that of our workers are placed at risk. Complacency must not be an option when our struggles are against a foreign investor who in collusion with locals is encouraged to flaunt our country’s laws with impunity and who has a track record of unfavourable industrial practices, disrespect and disregard for workers’ rights globally.

    GB&GWU urges our nation and reminds workers that we cannot afford to forget that while the Coalition Government has spoken out now, they were silent as an Opposition amidst continuous violations by RUSAL/BCGI management occurring since 2009 and encouraged by the PPP/C Government inaction despite GB&GWU efforts to seek resolution. Until now efforts by Opposition Leader Robert Corbin stands out as the sole effort to bring an end to the lawlessness encouraged by our lawmakers and the Executive branch of government since 2009 when this nation witnessed firsthand how RUSAL was disregarding our laws and preparing to dismantle unions protecting workers’ rights.

    Silence from Opposition Leader and new political parties not an option

    Silence is not an option when Guyana’s national interest is under threat. It is not an option for any Opposition Leader or politician. GB&GWU recognises that whereas RUSAL’s invitation to invest and the violations started were given tacit support under then President Bharrat Jagdeo the time has come for a change in direction and for consciousness to trump pride. GB&GWU calls on him to stand with the nation in oneness in protection of our sovereignty, our national interest, and the rights of Guyanese workers. Failing to do so Opposition Leader Jagdeo has to be mindful his silence becomes indicative that there is PPP or at least his support for RUSAL’s lawlessness; a lack of consideration for Guyana’s national interest or that he is driven to action and struggle only in pursuit of executive power and nothing else matters.

    Recently and as is customary in our political culture new political parties are formed ever so often and moreso around the time of elections. The leaders of these political parties see themselves wanting to lead Guyana or at least become part of the executive or parliamentary decision bodies of our country. GB&GWU therefore urges them to demonstrate the quality of leadership they would give to Guyana not when or if they are elected but now when our national interest is under threat from RUSAL’s violations. Guyanese workers need your involvement and protection now.

    Appreciation/Commitment

    GB&GWU, expresses thanks on behalf of the workers, to all those who by their varied expressions of awareness lend solidarity to this national struggle which we find ourselves at the forefront of. GB&GWU did not choose this but we are prepared to go the distance to protect workers and families who depend on us to defend our country. At this juncture as we celebrate our country’s 49th anniversary as a Republican Nation we are reminded of words of the Song of the Republic:

                                                            "From Pakaraima’s peaks of pow’r
    

    To Corentyne’s lush sands,

    Her children pledge each faithful hour

    To guard Guyana’s lands.

    To foil the shock of rude invader

    Who’d violate her earth,

    To cherish and defend forever

    The State that gave them birth.

    Such is our commitment to this struggle. It is not only about BCGI workers and their families, or the small communities in Aroaima and Kwakwani, which many may have never seen. It is about the sovereignty of our republic which each one must protect and defend. We ask that you continue to give your support to this struggle which we are at the forefront of and vulnerable without your collective efforts.

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