Mr Cummings' dismissal should be investigated
Stabroek News
May 5, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Page 8 of SN of April 30 (editor's note - a letter page), which I am reading on May 2, is quite a page.

This is a country of "for or against Dr.Luncheon ", "for or against Ms Balram" or rather "on Ms Balram's side", or "on Dr. Luncheon's side".

It is an interesting dispute, since the Human Resources Manager and the HPS are politically on the same side. This is even more so under democratic centralism, which has been brazenly extended by the Cabinet from the Party to statutory bodies. ( More on that, perhaps, later).

For years I had heard at second hand about discrimination at the Forestry Commission. Without direct information, I said nothing about it. Having finally read Mr. Cummings' letter in SN of April 8,2002, it is clear to me that Ms Balram has much to answer. Some independent tribunal should be assigned to review the case. If the Ombudsman has jurisdiction, a case of discrimination is right up his alley. The President has power, by order, to place entities under the Ombudsman's jurisdiction. It is a power given by Act of Parliament.

In case Ms Balram should feel oppressed by my recommendation, let me state that in the seventies I knew a young African Guyanese graduate in Forestry from a Canadian University who had to leave the country because his qualifications were not recognised. I remember his name. I know who the government was, but not the personalities in Forestry.

The HPS cannot justify his intervention in the GFC or his overriding of a statutory authority. There are steps the cabinet could have taken to right wrongs there. It is surprising that he did not move during the years when rumblings of injustice and high- handedness at GFC were persistent. It seems that the Cabinet moved only because someone affected was known to the authorities. Any member of Parliament of any party, or the President can request the Ombudsman to investigate a fault of administration, including discrimination. I reviewed his recent book which confirms this opinion.

The other item on page 8 is "Resistance to May 5 being a national holiday". I wonder what is the basis of that resistance. If Indians, as a certain specific historic vintage, see it as a day to celebrate as a national holiday, why should other vintages be opposed? It was the PPP/C which made August First a public holiday. I can assure the writer that, speaking for myself, making May Fifth a holiday will not offend my so-called creole culture. I have seen PPP/C contracts which give favourites without special qualifications up to five times the salary allowed to the GPSU bargaining unit for the same grade. Why can't they give a whole people a day which means so much to them?

Mr Sooklall's letter, also on page 8 fully establishes the case for a full- blown enquiry. If GIFT could hold an enquiry, which I have said was fully justified, in 1998, the government can hold one now. Mr. Sooklall's letter relies heavily on the police press release carried in the SN of April 16, and also in the Chronicle of that date. No newspaper reported "sporadic firing" along the East Coast public road during the funeral procession. There are many conflicts in reports and only an enquiry can resolve them.

Yours faithfully,

Eusi Kwayana