THE Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), which speaks on behalf of thousands of our nation’s workers, has seen a statement from the Private Sector Commission calling on the government to declare Elections Day – March 02 – as a national holiday. Several workers have also asked us whether elections day would be deemed a national holiday.
FITUG recalls that the last few elections were declared national holidays by the then government. Such decision obviously took into account the inalienable right of Guyanese to exercise their franchise and to ensure maximum participation in this important democratic process in our country. While we are aware that employees, lawfully, ought to be given adequate time off to be allowed to vote, we cannot discount the reality that there are employers who may not comply and thus deny such persons their right to vote. In cases where workers are required to work, such workers must be given sufficient time off to cast their votes.
We believe that with the merger of several polling stations across Guyana, we cannot discount that the voting process may be protracted. We believe that a national holiday will allow our workers to be able to exercise their franchise without worry or fear of reprimand should the process take an extended time. We, therefore, reiterate our sincere call for March 02, 2020 to be declared a national holiday in the interest of upholding our nation’s democracy.