PSI 'mediator' mission?

Guyana Chronicle
April 22, 2001

ACCORDING TO reports in the local media, the Public Service International (PSI) has decided to send a "mediator mission" to Guyana to help in resolving disputes between the Government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU).

The report of such a mission was attributed to the GPSU President, Patrick Yarde, who is known for his personal hostility towards the PPP/Civic Government and his political activist role with the main opposition People's National Congress (PNC).

If what has been attributed to the PSI is accurate, then it would be surprising indeed if it seriously believes that it would still be perceived as being sufficiently impartial to play the role of mediator between the Government and the GPSU.

A prerequisite for an honest mediating role in any situation is that the mediator must be seen to be independent and credible. It must not be viewed as harbouring prejudices that could militate against independent mediation. The PSI would know about the criteria for a 'mediator mission'.

The GPSU current leadership, as distinct from the general membership, cannot pretend to be neutral in the party politics of this country, in the face of attempts even now under way to be identified as much as possible with the PNC in that party's post-elections politics at destabilisation.

The resolution passed at a recent meeting in Washington of the Inter-American Regional Executive Committee reflects a certain mindset of what could be expected from any PSI "mediator mission" to Guyana.

Yet, there is hope that if it is prepared to listen, without prejudice, to "the other side", and relate to the realities of the Guyana situation, in particular the nature of the problem in Government-GPSU relations, the PSI mission may at least be in a better position to avoid tarnishing its own reputation in seeking to help an ally, the GPSU.

Assuming a meeting could be properly arranged with the Government, any PSI mission to play a mediating role, may also find it useful to meet with representatives of the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the private sector.

Right now, as the PSI should know, the GPSU is engaged with its own 'house-cleaning' in preparation for election of office bearers.


THE GUYANA Human Rights Association and the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha are among representative groups to have more recently expressed anxiety for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to initiate legal action against television stations being used to promote racial animosity and violence in the country.

Just last week one of our leading columnists also pointed to the necessity for the DPP to be seen to be actively involved in using his powers under the constitution to deal with has emerged as a most mind boggling abuse of the electronic media to propagate hate and encourage lawlessness.

We have carried various reports and statements of concerns by others, among them the Police Commissioner and the Chairman of the Guyana Council of Churches. The pleas for action must not be ignored.

The DPP can by no means claim to be unaware of the slanderous and seditious statements coming from one television station in particular, Channel 9, as a constant political fare.

We now also join in appealing to the DPP to act, and to do so with haste, in accordance with the powers vested in him by the Constitution, in Guyana's national interest.