Saturday, September 17, 2016

History of Trade Unionism in Guyana - 1900 to 1961

Chase, Ashton, History of Trade Unionism in Guyana - 1900 to 1961, Demerara, Guyana: New Guyana Company, Ltd., 1964.

Mr. Ashton Chase has had a long connection with the trade union movement. At one time he was Assistant Secretary, then General Secretary of the British Guiana Labour Union – the oldest trade union in Guyana. (…) One of the foundation members of the People’s Progressive Party, Mr. Chase was the Minister of Labour, Trade and Industry in the 1953 PPP Government. After the suspension of the Constitution, he wrote the booklet 133 Days Towards Freedom recounting the Party’s achievements during its short term in office.

The People's Progressive Party PPP was founded on 1 January 1950 as a merger of the British Guiana Labour Party led by Forbes Burnham and the Political Affairs Committee led by Cheddi Jagan, and was the first mass party in the country. It was initially a multi-ethnic party supported by workers and intellectuals. The party held its first congress on 1 April 1951. Its third congress was held in 1953, with Burnham unsuccessfully seeking to become party leader. The party went on to win the 1953 elections, taking 18 of the 24 elected seats in the House of Assembly, resulting in Jagan becoming Chief Minister. However, Jagan's radical social reforms led to the British authorities sending in troops shortly after the elections, claiming there was the threat of a Marxist revolution. The PPP government was removed from office and an unelected Interim Legislative Council replaced the House of Assembly. General elections were held in 1957, by which time the PPP had split into two factions, which competed against each other at the elections; the faction led by Jagan won nine seats, whilst the Burnham-led faction won three. Following the elections, Burnham's faction left the party to establish the Afro-Guyanese-dominated People's National Congress (PNC), establishing an ethnic divide between the two parties, with the PPP left representing Indo-Guyanese. The PPP won the 1961 elections by a 1.6% margin, but received almost double the number of seats compared to the PNC, leading to serious inter-racial violence.[6]

No comments:

Post a Comment