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N Touch
Sunday 22 October 2017
Letters to the Editor

Unpardonable disservice to Williams by columnist

THE EDITOR: Reference is made to your commentary article titled “Paralysed by politics” carried in your Sunday edition.

Over the years I have become accustomed to articles and scribes who pour scorn and who vilify the trade union movement.

Many times I have ignored such articles while noting the ignorance displayed by writers of various shades of opinion who seem to be happy with unjustified attacks on the trade union movement. However, this article seems to cry out for response by way of rebuttal.

The impertinence displayed by the writer in labelling Dr Eric Williams as being unpatriotic is too much to assimilate. While any statesman will not escape criticism, it is unpardonable to do such a disservice to someone who deservedly is referred to as the Father of the Nation.

Williams introduced labour legislation which many trade unions have described as oppressive of workers but I cannot agree with the disparaging description of Williams displayed by the article.

If I read correctly, the writer alludes to his destiny of leading a “bipartism cabinet,” which should really read a bipartite cabinet, but before any notion of leading any type of cabinet in TT, I suggest that such a conceited individual should at least have a good understanding of the history of labour in the Caribbean; a history which does not confuse or categorise trade unions with criminals and corruption.

The first conclusion of anyone who wants to think about the subject of moving beyond the PNM/UNC paradigm is that a successful third party must be built on class lines and not on lines of race or ethnicity. That successful third party would have to convince some elements from both traditional parties to leave their comfort zones and work towards fundamental political and economic change in TT.

The reality is that the current move by some trade unions to seek the political kingdom should not be disparaged. It is high time that trade unions move outside the limits of collective bargaining and look at the bigger picture.

Through slavery, indentureship, colonialism and neocolonialism, the working class and now the middle class have been the ones who have felt the heat in the kitchen.

But anyone who wants to become prime minister will have to build genuine links with the trade union movement. I am afraid that is a task that very few people are able to accomplish including the writer who is paralysed by his unsupported conclusions and his unscientific approach to historical analysis.

In the meantime I will look forward to his other “great” revelations.

VINCENT CABRERA

president, BIGWU

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