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Saturday 18 November 2017
Local

Duke: ‘Satan can’t prevail’

PSA president Watson Duke speaks with reporters outside the Financial Complex in Port of Spain yesterday.

Satan can’t prevail.

This from a singing Watson Duke, president of the Public Services Association (PSA), as he responded to Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) leader Vincent Cabrera’s description of him (Duke) being a, “political schizophrenic.”

Saying he does not need to hear what Cabrera said about him, Duke sang, “Satan can’t prevail” to reporters outside the Financial Complex, Port-of-Spain yesterday.

“If you are standing on a solid rock,” Duke sang, “and you know the power that you got, Satan you can’t prevail, Satan you can’t prevail.” He had another message for Cabrera and his other “detractors and distractors”.

“I want to say to them, God bless you and you will see me on the 28th (PSA election date). That which they are trying to do cannot take place because the word has already been spoken and I am just living the manifestation of it right now.”

Cabrera, earlier yesterday, said his union will be writing the Central Bank’s chief inspector and the Attorney General on the PSA’s pension plan which he described as, “the biggest fiasco”, out of the four major issues Duke has not addressed. At a press conference at BIGWU’s headquarters in Barataria, Cabrera accused Duke of having a poor relationship with workers who have complained about poor occupational safety and health conditions. Cabrera said the workers are on 2010 salaries.

“There is an act called the Insurance Act and part of the section says no person may establish or operate a pension fund plan in TT unless the plan is registered under this part,” Cabrera said. “The website of the Central Bank does not list the PSA’s pension plan as registered. The workers are contributing to the plan, retirees are being paid pension but the plan is not registered in accordance with the Insurance Act. Duke does not realise he can lead his union and himself into some serious legal hot water,” Cabrera said.

“It seems as though Duke is a political schizophrenic, because the same issues this man champions on behalf of workers are the same issues he is perpetrating against the workers of the PSA and in the same way the politician tells Watson Duke he is being political, when workers take action he is telling them they are political,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said while Duke is all over the place closing down places for violations against the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, there are major violations at his office. “Watson being the prime schizophrenic in Trinidad and Tobago does not understand that there are real industrial relations problems where his office is situated.”

He said that last Thursday, workers protested in front of the PSA’s Port-of-Spain building and this was followed by a sick-out on Friday.

“Our information told us the Chaguanas and San Fernando branches were closed due to a shortage of workers. More than 75 per cent of the workforce at the main building on Abercromby Street also did not turn out for work on Friday. Our sick-out action was successful,” Cabrera said.

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