Go it alone

t&t trade unions shun pnm-organised march

The Joint Trade Union Movement will not be attending today’s People’s National Movement-led march and petition-signing initiative.

Ancel Roget, de facto head of the JTUM and president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, yesterday said the unions would be meeting later today to discuss its response to the Section 34 fiasco.

On Sunday, PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley called on all people, regardless of political affiliation, to join their march and deliver a petition to the President which will outline the controversy of Section 34.

The petition will call for the removal of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Justice Minister Herbert Volney.

“It is at the top of the agenda for a collective response going forward,” Roget said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“The JTUM will meet tomorrow (today) to discuss in detail our position with respect to how that fiasco played out. The Government did a hatchet job using its constitutional majority to continue to betray the trust of the country,” he said.

Roget said after the success of the joint union march against corruption and poor governance two weeks ago, they were already planning another activity. “This march is a manifestation of one issue, our call is for the whole Government to go,” he said.

Roget said the OWTU saw evidence of this poor governance earlier on and that prompted the union to call for the Movement for Social Justice to leave the Government.

With regard to the Section 34 debacle, Roget said he was “not surprised … but the whole Government needs to take responsibility for it, not just the AG and the Minister of Justice. All must go”.

Joseph Remy, head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Nongovernmental Organisations and head of the Communications Workers’ Union, yesterday said neither group would be part of the march.

“We were not consulted, there was no discussion. We are not at the beck and call of any mainstream political party,” Remy said yesterday.

Remy said the JTUM meets for weeks before finalising any march and it was just not an immediate thing.

Movement for Social Justice leader and trade unionist David Abdulah yesterday recalled that the party launched its own petition against poor governance three weeks ago.

The party had planned to hold an executive meeting on Wednesday, but moved it to yesterday afternoon to make a final decision on its response to the PNM’s call.

The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association, which held two days of protest last week, yesterday said it will not be joining today’s march either.

However, Phillip Alexander, chairman of the NGO The Jericho Project, yesterday said it would support the call. (Trinidad Guardian)

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