Post-elections unrest knocks `big dent' in economic development
- President reports

Guyana Chronicle
May 1, 2001

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has said the post-election unrest has "caused a big dent in our economic and social development."

"The cost of this unrest is still being assessed, but we know that hundreds more of ordinary workers are out of jobs", he said in a message to mark May Day today.

A huge fire last month amid street protests by the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) since the March 19 elections wiped out almost a block of stores and offices in the city.

The violence also forced city stores to close several times and Police said many people were beaten and robbed during the PNC/R protests.

In his message, President Jagdeo noted that the "lack of cohesion and unity can retard future progress."

"We must forge ahead together to address the issues that concern our people most such as job creation, housing, education, health and security."

The President and PNC/R leader, Mr Desmond Hoyte are due to tomorrow continue talks they started last week on an agenda of issues raised by both sides.

"I call on all workers of Guyana to use this day (today) for reflection and serious stocktaking.

"We must put our country and its development foremost so that we shall see progress and prosperity in our home and in our everyday life", he urged.

"On this occasion, I wish to restate my administration's commitment to continue improving the working and living conditions of our people.

"As we celebrate May Day, it is appropriate for us to reflect on the threats and challenges which face workers around the world and to examine, in a philosophical way, our own situation", he said.

Mr Jagdeo noted that in many developing countries, workers face crises of varying nature from reduction of jobs, high rates of inflation, depressing wages and in many instances denial of fundamental basic human and trade union rights.

"In many cases this is a direct result of free trade, the dismantling of preferential market and other changes in the global economy", he said.

He said that workers here have made "significant gains" and the PPP/Civic administration "has a proud track record of improving benefits, wages and salaries and institutionalising protection for the workers of this country."

"A happy May Day to all Guyanese.

"May the unity and solidarity of all our people take root in every corner of our dear land", he said.