Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget has advised workers to “resole their shoes” as the labour movement prepares to stage the “mother of all marches” to prevent the closure of state-owned oil company Petrotrin.
“We have to be prepared to hit the streets, we have to be prepared to put down in this country the mother of all marches this country has ever seen and that has to be soon.
We must be prepared to hit the streets, do not throw away your shoes, in fact resole your shoes. We have already resolved that it is going to happen, the details of it we are going to let you know, let the country know as we progress. We have to do it, it is an absolute necessity.”
Addressing a large contingent of Petrotrin workers under overcast skies, which periodically gave way to light drizzles of rain at High Street, Siparia on Thursday night, an impassioned Roget said they had to continue to fight for the survival of the oil refining sector even as Petrotrin’s board contemplates a proposal to lease the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery to the union.
On Wednesday, both parties met at the Hyatt Regency to discuss the union’s alternative proposal for the refinery and are expected to meet again next Thursday to continue discussions.
“We are not relenting. So while they are deliberating, we still have to struggle, don’t relax at all, we must be prepared to take our story throughout the length and breadth of the country.
Roget then revealed that he had been warned some three years ago by a former prime minister about the ruling PNM Administration on the same day that Dr Keith Rowley was sworn in as prime minister.
“I remember on the opening of parliament, this parliament where Dr Rowley became prime minister, this parliament where the country would have made a mistake, we recognise now, a crowd was gathered outside the parliament and I was there and it is a good thing that I was there. And a black vehicle pull up, out came from that vehicle a comrade that we know very well, a fella by the name of Basdeo Panday.
“And comrade Panday would have said to me, after he greet me and he putting on his jacket, he said your problem now start. I said what. He said your problem now start my brother.
Honestly comrades, it take me as the script begin to unfold, I don’t know if he could remember that but I could never forget that, because that remain with me in my head but no sooner than later, as the script begin to unfold, I begin to understand exactly what Basdeo Panday said.
“But is not my problem that now start, it is Trinidad and Tobago’s problem that now start that at this point in time is galloping like a raging bull and ours is the responsibility to right that wrong.”