Standing up…

first_img…to high-handedness at UGThe academic staff at UG – from both of the unions representing all workers at the sole tertiary institution in Guyana – came out in force against VC Ivelaw Griffith. He insists that he and his tight coterie live high off the hog to engage in all kinds of “Cadillac” style events at UG’s expense, while the rest of the University – which actually delivers the goods –  has to make do with a “donkey cart” budget. They’re demanding an audit of UG’s spending.Now, bear in mind that last year UG received $3.1 billion from the Central Government, with just $501 million earmarked for capital expenses. Meaning that $2.6 billion– plus another $1.5 billion from fees imposed on students was for operational expenses – including salaries!! The Lecturers got a measly three to four per cent increase last year – after agitation!!The VC wanted to know from where he’d get the money!! Well duh!! How about from the $4.1 billion from the student fees and the Govt subvention?? But the academic staff have brought up their demands at a very strategic moment – just as the Guyana Teachers Union has done. With elections just around the corner and most of the staff from the PNC’s constituency, it’ll be interesting to see how the powers that be will react to the demand for an audit!After all, the Government was willing to spend over $150 million for 50 audits of Govt departments where they suspected PPP office holders had pilfered from the public purse. Shouldn’t the sauce for the duck at UG be the same as that for the gander at Govt departments?? Well, in the honest opinion of your Eyewitness, the answer will be no!!You see, this nonsense has been publicised ever since the man was recruited – handsomely!! – back in 2015 after he was let go with two years on his contract from some land-grant university in Georgia. The staff also had issues with his predecessor, the Nigerian Dr Jacob Opadeyi, and had demanded that HIS contract not be renewed. But while Opadeyi was given the boot, why will a different treatment be accorded to Griffith??And the answer, dear reader, has been blowing in the wind since 2011 when Griffith – who’d been a YSM leader back in the day with the present crop of PNC leaders – was tasked by Florida International University to gather a bunch of Guyanese academics to conduct a “Strategic Culture” analysis of Guyana, for use by US policymakers. Griffith’s selection of academics was as “outcome determinative” as could be.Their report declared: PNC was the group in Guyana most closely aligned with US interests!!Granger and the PNC owe him big time!!…at the Privy CouncilThere was an interesting Privy Council decision out of Trinidad. T&T, of course, has retained the Privy Council as their final Appellate Court, even though it houses the CCJ. The case concerned appointments to their Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) by their President in accordance to their Constitution Art 110(3)(b) which stated that one of the persons had to have served as a Judge and two from “persons with legal qualifications at least one of whom is not in active practice”. The President went on to appoint two retired Judges to fill the last category.The Privy Council ruled:“…the difficulty exemplified by this attempt to categorise a serving Judge as either in, or not in, active practice as a person with legal qualifications, adds significant weight to the argument that it was not intended that Judges should be included within section 110(3)(b) at all.”Yet our Appellate Court ruled that the DISJUNCTIVE “or” separating a “judge” or “other fit and proper person” in our Article 161 (2) could be JUDGE!!CCJ anyone??…for free and fair elections?The Carter Centre knows about PNC delaying tactics and the Elections Commission when the elections scheduled for 1990 were pushed back to 1992.They visited GECOM on their timelines. We hope they issue a “déjà vu” statement!!last_img read more

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