I have tried very hard to make sense of Dr. Henry Jeffrey’s letters to the editor. To date, I must confess no progress has been made.
The latest one in the media under the title, “When autocracy becomes democracy” is worse than any of the previous convoluted pieces. Before I go into a close examination of Henry Jeffrey’s baseless complaints, I want again to ask him – what did you do for Africans in the very long time you were a member of the PPP/C cabinet?
Jeffrey’s problems are multiple, but for now we will look at (a) his torturous logic, and (b) the poverty of his ideology.
His logic works something like this – Africans in the public service are discriminated against, but when they get increases above standard pay raises, they are being duped.
Jeffrey would also like you to believe that there are separate sweetheart “deals” with non-Africans, while Afro-Guyanese are excluded. But wait! Jeffrey turns around the whole logic of the argument when the evidence directly contradicts his absurd claims.
Sections of the public service that received salary top-ups and other benefits, and that have substantially benefitted Afro-Guyanese are either ignored or decried. Jeffrey acknowledges that “[t]he security forces were the first to be given reformed increases of between eight per cent and 32 per cent.”
By “reformed,” he means higher than the eight per cent given to public servants in the 2023 budget! Could Dr. Jeffrey please tell this nation about the demographics associated with the top-up of eight-32 per cent?
Top ups were also offered to healthcare workers including medical officers, medical specialists, nurses, nurses’ assistants, staff nurses, midwives, dental aides, lab aides, community health workers, Medex, and pharmacists.
The employees in the Guyana Fire Service, and in the GPF also got increases above the eight per cent. For example, Lance Corporals got an additional 5.8 per cent; Corporals an additional 12.3 per cent; and Sergeants an additional 9.3 per cent.
Here is the twisted logic of Jeffrey in his own words in response to the eight-32 per cent top up just discussed – “[b]ut unfortunately, this was considered insufficient to stem the emigration of educated Guyanese and so the government was again prevailed upon and returned with increases for health workers of between 13 per cent and 74 per cent on their salaries in for (sic) 2023.”
First, he complains about suppression of wages, with a little ethnic stuff mixed in for good measure. But when the evidence is palpably against his rants, he introduces another variable, namely migration. But here he is dead wrong again.
The evidence shows that, in fact, Guyana’s net migration rate is in the negative. The net rate in 2020 was -7.146 per cent or a decline of 3.87 per cent; in 2021 it was -6.859 per cent a decline of 4.02 per cent; in 2022 it was -6.57 per cent or a decline of 4.2 per cent, and in 2023 it is -6.283 per cent or a decline of 4.38 per cent. The available data shows that Dr. Jeffrey is basically clueless.
His ideology of racial antagonism will fail in the same way in which Aubrey Norton and David Hinds have not managed to get too many takers for their diabolical plasma cocktail of distrust and division.
Dr. Jeffrey’s Kool-Aid kit is an assemblage of emotional excesses hatched, nurtured, and reproduced in the “dreary sands of dead habits.”
Just think of the level of betrayal when Jeffrey openly and without a hint of critical reflection tells us that “…GTU has been more closely associated with the PNC.”
The man seems to take pride in the fact that the union representing teachers is attached to a party that has a history of rigging elections, and of harbouring fugitives like Rabbi Washington.
Teachers in Guyana actually come from all political, religious, and ethnic persuasions and they know better what democracy is than Dr. Jeffrey. The Kool Aid Gang is hard at work trying their best to disrupt the development in this country.
They will fail because this is not the old Guyana. While there are still some fossils around, the new One Guyana is being built on respect for all citizens and new comers. Dr. Jeffrey should break away from the Kool Aid Gang and try to do something positive.
Dr. Randolph Persaud