`Political statesmanship can combat evils’
- GAWU in Republic Day message
Guyana Chronicle
February 23, 2003

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THE Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) in a message on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the republican status of Guyana, said despite achievements, this country has not been allowed to develop and exploit the abundant natural resources it possesses.

GAWU said “The Republic, notwithstanding its achievements in some areas of national life, has never been allowed to exploit its full potential, especially the exploration, discovery, management and use of its abundant natural resources in the interest of its inhabitants. This has been a sad reality for which our leaders, especially between 1970 and the 1980s, must be found guilty. The international oil and economic crisis over which we had no control, did worsen our economic and social plight as a Republic and as a people, even racial injustice, was of our making. Our torturous Republican journey should have taken us all to a destination and destiny of opportunity, achievement and development. But where are we today?”

It could be successfully argued, GAWU said, that in February of 1970, the majority of new citizens of independent Guyana had no problem with the attainment of Republican status. Most patriotic, nationalist leaders and followers endorsed the final constitutional and political break with Britain which was meant to advance independence.

“The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) salutes the nation for remaining a Republic, with all our symbols and institutions Guyanese in nature. GAWU, however, uses this thirty-third anniversary to urge all Guyanese to reflect on the Republican journey and what it has led the nation to.

“GAWU is of the view that Guyana and our immediate region have enough terrible, life threatening international challenges to face, with no time to be spent on unnecessary internal wranglings. The very real threat to our commodity prices and markets for our sugar, rice, bauxite and rum, for examples, obliges all of our national leaders to utilise their full energies to confront and overcome these destructive threats of globalisation’s attacks on vulnerable economies,” the message said.

GAWU said instead of dwelling on the negatives, it would accentuate the positives on this anniversary.

“The election of a new leader of the Major Opposition Party offers renewed, if cautious hope for political, parliamentary and constitutional compromises and advancement so badly necessary at this time. GAWU is of the view that the new leader and the leaders of the lawfully elected Government must be given renewed space and opportunity to demonstrate their statesmanship and commitment to putting Guyana first. Whatever we, as a responsible union, can do to promote this possible co-operative partnership, will be done,” the message added.

“That is why here, in Guyana, on the occasion of the thirty third anniversary of the Republic, GAWU urges political statesmanship to combat such evils as poverty, racism, corruption, crime and terrorism. This could be the best gift and tribute to our Republicanism. And a cause for some controlled celebration to honour that achievement,” GAWU urged.

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