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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Letters to the Editor

People power brought OWTU back to table

THE EDITOR: YES! Reading today’s daily newspapers reminded me of the pleasure of watching from the beach on Mayaro, as the first sliver of sunrise in the East peeps above the dark horizon at the end of a black night. Here are the headlines that caught my attention: OWTU proposing 15% pay cut; Petrotrin, OWTU must work together to save jobs — a letter from a citizen; Roget now seeks private partner; Espinet: Decision to close refinery was not easy; Geologist makes case for refinery to remain open; and Taking a stance on state enterprises.

The dark night before I had watched the television coverage of single mothers, employees of the troubled Petrotrin, pleading for the refinery to remain open to guarantee the future of their fatherless children. And I wondered what could bring us to put our creative imaginations, our learned skills and our common sense of civic purpose and responsibility to stop digging the pit of angry bickering that we have been digging for ourselves for the past five decades.

Then and there it struck me that WE the PEOPLE had in fact signalled to our leaders on September 7, that WE are not prepared to continue to follow them along this destructive path. By disregarding the contending battle cries of fire and fury, to bring the country to a halt and to use the punitive powers of the state to punish offenders, the vast majority rested overnight, reflected, declined the toxic invitations and went about our daily lives with quiet dignity.

The sunrise of constructive dialogue, compromise, and transparency has peeped above the dark horizon suggesting hope for a mature solution. But the dark clouds have not gone away.

Will our "validating elites" take heed of our silent but powerful resolve and get down to the tasks for which we selected and elected them.

Will Cabinet live up to its promise to consider new proposals, by a show of good faith, postpone the October 1 deadline for shutting down the refinery and give the Petrotrin board time to consider not only the new OWTU proposals but inputs from other knowledgeable people in the field?

Will the Petrotrin board live up to its promise to seriously reconsider creditable alternatives?

Will OWTU with their comrades in the labour movement be prepared not only to put their new concrete proposals on the table, including naming their proposed angel investors and the conditions for their participation, but to also be prepared for constructive dialogue?

Will the many experts we have in the industry and in academia be willing to publicly offer concrete solutions to the Petrotrin board, the Government and we the people? In this regard, I offer congratulations to Sunity Maharaj and the Lloyd Best Institute for taking the initiative to sponsor the current thinking forum.

Will our citizens in the media consider covering not only the bacchanal and the negativity, but the positive conversations and contributions that we hope are about to take place.

Our people have spoken powerfully. Now it is the turn of our leaders of contending parties to listen and take corrective action.

D’contrarian via e-mail

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