CCWU urges civil society to sit down with political parties
Stabroek News
July 9, 2002

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The Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) says the time had come for all who make up civil society to sit with political organizations and talk about the needs of the country and how these could be met, bearing in mind the global economic scenario.

The union’s General Secretary, Grantley Culbard, in a press release yesterday asserted that "it makes no sense for certain organizations and individuals to continue to say that they intend to make the country ungovernable.

"To continue along that path is to say that you do not accept the will of the people who by democratic means elected a government."

The CCWU also condemned the assault on the presidential complex in Georgetown last Wednesday by dozens of anti-government protesters and the wanton destruction of businesses in the commercial sector, when two stores on Regent Street were burnt to the ground in an orgy of arson and looting.

Declaring that the CCWU was joining with other organizations and individuals who have spoken out on what the union termed the "lawlessness" on July 3, the release observed that "the recklessness exhibited by some misguided citizens" had led to the loss of two lives.

Culbard said his union could not remain silent while witnessing the destruction of the commercial sector in which the union operates mainly, adding that it shared the concerns recently expressed by the Private Sector Commission.

While acknowledging the right of people to protest if they felt wronged in some way, the general secretary said that such protest should be done within the framework of the law.

The release noted that the police had refused permission for a march to take place that day, but the leaders of the protesters disregarded the caution and warnings by the police and proceeded as planned. "They therefore must bear the full consequences for the sordid events that followed."

And Culbard said his union "is appalled that some individuals and political organizations, although condemning the invasion and destruction of property in the presidential secretariat, are at the same time trying to justify such destruction."

Referring to the storming of the Office of the President when two protesters were fatally shot, Culbard opined that the situation could have been much worse had those guards not exercised great restraint. "We believe that it was that kind of restraint that emboldened the protesters to enter the premises and destroy valuable equipment...," the release said.

The general secretary urged that all Guyanese should let good sense prevail and do what was just and right to move the country forward. "Let ‘justice and righteousness’ be our buzzwords as we seek to grapple with our problems. Do not destroy the land that we all have to live in. The international community is not going to assist us if we continue to self-destruct," Culbard cautioned.