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Guyana Public Service Union President Patrick Yarde in his May Day message questioned whether persistent poverty rather than political aims is the reason for accelerating crime here.

In his message Yarde said, "The GPSU like every other respected organization in our country, is alarmed and concerned about the accelerating level of violent crimes in our dear land of Guyana. Our major concern however, is to determine reasons for what we have been witnessing for without knowledge of the cause there can be no cure.

"Guyana is rated by the World Bank, 'as a lower Income country with long and persistent poverty.' Is it that we are now witnessing a backlash of that long period of persistent poverty and not solely what some are advocating, that crime is being politically driven?"

Yarde said this year's May Day celebrations met public service employees with two critical and unsolved problems. He said the union's leadership recognized that workers were "ketching hell" in trying to balance their monthly expenditure with their income.

"You can rest assured that we grieve with you and will continue our unending struggle for a living wage especially for those at the bottom rungs of the wages and salaries pyramid, and a comparable wage for the others that are at all levels of the pyramid." The second problem, he said was, "that our self-styled working class government, has seen fit to have the vast majority of our members, public employees unrepresented at the level of the Public Service Commission, a representational constitutional provision which they had enjoyed for the past 50 years."

The GPSU President also highlighted the amendments to the Public Utility Undertakings and the Public Health Service Arbitration Act and the term strike as it appears in the original Act to outlaw any form of protest by workers engaged in a number of operations.

"The GPSU while appreciative of the need to prevent the disruption of essential services, must view the government's approach as lacking in balance and likely to be oppressive, and so must express concern, over what may be untimely responses by the Ministry of Labour to its obligations, under the act in state agencies."

May Day he said was a time when workers took stock of their gains and losses. Assessment is made of how far "we are away from the good life.

"And more importantly," he said, "whether those who are responsible for getting us the good life, are by their policies and actions, making it possible for those who labour, to ever achieve the good life."

Stabroek News
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