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– as Jagdeo promotes Ramotar’s Presidential qualitiesBy Sharmain CornetteThough the gathering was somewhat scanty at the National Park, with workers primarily occupying the eastern stand, the rally orchestrated by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) to commemorate Labour Day yesterday saw speakers echoing the call to sustain the fight for the betterment of the working class.The event was graced by President of the Republic of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, who delivered the feature address.  The President pointed out that FITUG has over the years grown in reputation even as he underscored that the umbrella body which covers four unions – the Guyana Labour Union (GLU), the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) – has consistently fought for the rights of all Guyanese and not just the working class. He amplified too that FITUG continues to demonstrate the capacity to lead the trade union movement “at this critical juncture in our history when most things are changing in the world and we too are changing here in Guyana.”  According to the President, local efforts are being directed at creating a modern economy which could satisfy the needs of our people.”A section of the gathering stands as they sing Solidarity Forever.Though he did not speak at length yesterday, the President hinted at the possibility of being able to speak more extensively with the workers at a later date. He however urged those in attendance to seek after information about economic recession, a state of affairs that has gripped the world.  He pointed out that today the world is faced with one of the worse economic recessions since the 1930s, which as a consequence,Wholesale Jerseys, has caused millions of people to become unemployed.   He speculated that there are perhaps 50 million people who have lost their jobs across the world with 10 million alone in the United States of America. He revealed further that in the United States alone, 15 million people have lost their homes or are on the verge of losing their homes because of their inability to pay their mortgages even as a massive reduction in social welfare occurs in Europe. Most of these countries today, he noted, exhibit features that Guyana once had, inclusive of a declining economy, a growing fiscal deficit and debt service figures that would by any standard make them bankrupt.  “Countries like Spain and Portugal and the others have to seek external help to get out of bankruptcy. We were there once in Guyana! We were there when 94 percent of our revenue went to service debts; we were there when our debt was seven and a half times the size of our economy.  Do you know where we are today? Our debt today stands, if you take out the Paris Club Creditors, at some 35 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we use four percent of revenue to service our debt.”The developed countries on the other hand, President Jagdeo added, have gone in the other direction.  He pointed out that while Governments in some developed countries have been cutting finance to universities, Guyana has been increasing such funding. He revealed, too, that thousands of people are marching across Europe in retaliation to governmental moves to increase the age for pension and even freeze its availability altogether. “Thousands more are marching because their wages are frozen and their government is laying-off massive numbers like the United Kingdom. In fact, half a million people in the next three years would be laid off in the United Kingdom.”“This poses one question…If things were so bad in Guyana in the past how did we manage,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, without harming workers’ rights, to bring the macroeconomic fundamentals back to stability? This comes back to the nature of the Government that we head – the People Progress Party/Civic Government.”  He asserted that even from the days of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and even when the party was in opposition, to the days after it assumed power, “we have never succumbed to the IMF prescription that there should be large scale lay-off in the Public Sector. We have never ever done that.”The President further emphasised that if one was to look at wages and salaries from the time that the PPP/C assumed office, the percentage increased is in fact over 500.  According to him “those who talk about Guyana’s inflation can adjust those to US dollars inflation and you will see the massive changes there.”But although there has been a significant effort to increase wages, President Jagdeo noted that the Government yet recognises that it has a long way to go, adding that “you will never hear any PPP leader claim that we are where we want to be.” Wages and salaries, he said, must grow with the economy, a phenomenon which is currently unfolding in Guyana thus the Government’s capacity to pay is increasing. However, he highlighted that it is not just the wages and salaries that will make a difference in the country but rather people’s need for a whole range of other things to lead a healthy and productive life. It was in recognition of this, he said, that the Government has opted to budget over $24B for education which is being enhanced by the recently launched Education Channel.  “Every Guyanese child can continue the learning process because if they learn more they have the capacity to earn more in the future.  The education provides that capacity particularly in a knowledge-based economy.” In addition to hyping-up the One Lap Top Per Family Programme, intentions to expand the delivery of health care, housing availability and the recent five-year agreement inked with the Guyana Teachers Union for the benefit of teachers, the President also urged that other unions seek to engage the government in similar discussion.  “We want unions to look at this agreement…where we can put wages negotiations on a more predictable footing so that every year we do not have the annual to and froing…that we can all work together in this atmosphere – union, government employers – working to change our country to ensure that every Guyanese child has a good quality education, every Guyanese person has (access ) to good quality health care, that every Guyanese family owns their own home and start accumulating wealth…this is what we are about.”Endorsing Donald RamotarAnd there is no doubt in the President’s mind that worker’s right will continue to be a priority of the ruling party even after he would have vacated the office of President later this year.  “I have no fear, although this is my last year as President…before the end of the year the elections will be held…I have no fear that this will continue because I know Donald Ramotar comes out of the union movement too.”“He (Ramotar) worked at GAWU and I know him personally.  He emerged out of the bowels of our party and he has been the leader of our party for over a decade. He has helped our party to retain the poor working class characteristics unlike most of the other parties.” According to President Jagdeo, Ramotar, the PPP’s Presidential Candidate,China Jerseys Cheap, has over the years helped the party to retain principles that allows it to engage workers and talk frankly with them even when it may be deemed difficult.  He further asserted that a party that has principles that respect workers, their struggles and their causes is the sort of party that Ramotar has led for over the years.  “I have no fear that he will bring to the Presidency those qualities and we will continue to have good engagement with the workers as we continue to build our country…” Ramator and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds were among the special invitees who were prominently seated at the event, which also entailed remarks from President of FITUG, Mr Carvil Duncan.  Duncan assured workers during his presentation that,Wholesale Jerseys China, although there have been reports that the Regional Labour Market is facing severe challenges, Guyana is in a much better position.  “We have not been losing jobs at the rate as our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and North American Countries…In fact our President has recently announced that based on the development plan that this Government has been unfolding in the next five years we may very well have to import labour, in order to meet our requirements.”Meanwhile, it was Vice President of FITUG and President of GAWU, Mr Komal Chand, who lamented the fact that Trade Union Unity was once again not achieved,Wholesale China Jerseys, evident by the separate rallies which were hosted at the Critchlow Labour College by the Guyana Trade Union Congress and another by the Guyana Teachers Union at the GTU Hall. Chand pointed out that “by our division we are only hurting ourselves. Division means weakness and weakness simply makes our struggles to defend workers’ gains, interest and rights less effective.”Undeniable unity as the drumming from Indo and Afro Guyanese fused.The FITUG-hosted rally was however not without entertainment. The gathering was taken to hilarious heights with the presentation of comedian Henry Rodney who unlike the speakers on the programme was able to capture the attention of the gathering, some of whom were perhaps physically fatigued and had a short attention-span due to the lengthy march which preceded the rally,Cheap Jerseys From China, or simply were uninterested. The gathering was no less entertained by a fusion of African and tassa drumming which saw at least two workers taking to the tarmac in gyrating delight.