WATSON Duke, THA Minority Leader and president of the Public Services Association (PSA), says the business community has the full support of the PSA for a two-day protest shutdown of Tobago.
In a vote by a show of hands, over 30 business owners at a stakeholders’ meeting, hosted by the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Tobago Chapter last Sunday evening, voted to protest by closing their businesses.
The protest was suggested by president of the Trucker and Traders Association Horace Amede who said it will take place before March 13.
Business owners at the meeting at Rovanel’s Resort said the THA doesn’t respect Tobago businesses and they are ready to act.
Speaking yesterday at the minority opposition’s weekly press briefing at the PSA Tobago office in Scarborough, Duke said he was surprised to hear the call by a member of the chamber, but the PSA and minority opposition will assist in any way necessary.
“It was just a matter of time before it would reach this explosive state.”
He said it was ironic that “the group that boasted about the need for productivity” was calling for a national shutdown.
“In my mind, it is something out of the ordinary that would have triggered that type of response from the chamber of commerce.
“I must say, as the president of the PSA that represents a large number of people and families in Tobago, we are standing with the chamber in the call for a national shutdown.
He said it was time for, not just a shutdown, but “a time when Tobago must stop and think things over. It cannot be business as usual, it must be business as we desire and as we see fit. Tobagonians are all together. We are for a better Tobago, we want better health care, better education, and a better shopping experience. We want a better standard of living. I think any Tobagonian would want that. We are eating the bread the devil took his feet and knead because we voted the PNM.”
Representative for the L’Anse Fourmi, Parlatuvier, Speyside Farley Augustine said the call for the business community to take a stand should not have taken this long. He described the move by the Tobago business sector as “brave” and said it should be fully supported.
“Unfortunately it would have taken us to hit rock bottom for Tobagonians to stand up. I was heartened by the move taken by Amede to be engaged in a two-day shutdown strike action and when the motion was moved there was one abstention and another person voted against it, but it was carried by the other 150 present.”
He said Tobagonians had been quiet on a number of issues for far too long.
“We have endured the inter island ferry crisis which was created by Dr (Keith) Rowley and his Cabinet, we have endured people being laid off, we have endured late salaries. That is why this is a call for us to say enough is enough.”