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[UPDATED] Duke tells Kamla: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’

Hunger march planned from CDA to PM's Diego West office

Watson Duke
Watson Duke

PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke has blanked a request by UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for labour unions to help the party win next year's general election.

She made the call on Tuesday while addressing a UNC public meeting in Gasparillo, and Duke responded yesterday during a media conference at the PSA's offices in Port of Spain.

Duke said though he was president of the National Trade Union Centre he could not speak for all trade unions when responding to the Persad-Bissessar's invitation for trade unions to join her.

"All trade unions must speak for themselves on this point.

"But I want to say to her, 'Thanks, but no thanks.' We are not joining or supporting any political party. We need to have more than a token that we will protect you."

He said Persad-Bissessar had to answer where the money was from negotiations between 2014 and 2015, when she was prime minister. He added the negotiations had been foisted on the "wicked and incapable" PNM Government.

"We will not join you," he declared. "Wheel and come again."

Federation of Independent Trade Unions president Joseph Remy, in a media report, also denied the request, slamming the previous administration for betraying the labour movement, and said Persad-Bissessar's failure was betraying the working class.

Duke also commented on job cuts at the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA).

"I say to workers at the CDA, 'All is not lost.' We challenge the Prime Minister – do not proceed with the mass retrenchment planned for the CDA."

He said scores of monthly-paid workers have already lost their jobs and the PSA intended to mobilise its forces and stand with them to stage a hunger march.

"(Dr Rowley) is boxing food out of their mouths."

He said he would be seeking permission from the Commissioner of Police to stage the march from the CDA to Rowley's Diego Martin West constituency office on a Thursday, when he is expected to meet with his constituents, many of whom worked at the CDA.

"We will come with our pots, spoons and trolleys and we will not leave until he answers the question: 'How are we going to feed our pickney?'"

Duke said he is challenging Rowley to hold his hand on the CDA retrenchments for what remains of his political career.

"The end is not near; the end is here."

This story was originally published with the title "Duke to Kamla's support request: 'Thanks, but no thanks'" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke has blanked a request by UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for labour unions to assist the party in winning next year's general election.

She made the call on Tuesday while addressing a UNC public meeting in Gasparillo and Duke responded Friday during a media conference at PSA's offices in Port of Spain.

Duke said though he is president of National Trade Union Centre he cannot speak for all trade unions when responding to the Persad-Bissessar's invitation for trade unions to join her.

"All trade unions must speak for themselves on this point. But I want to say to her 'thanks, but no thanks.' We are not joining or supporting any political party. We need to have more than a token that we will protect you."

He said Persad-Bissessar has to answer the question of where are the monies from negotiations between 2014 and 2015 when she was prime minister. He added the negotiations have been foisted on the "wicked and incapable" PNM Government.

"We will not join you. Wheel and come again."

Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Trade Unions president Joseph Remy in a media report also denied the request, slamming the previous administration for betraying the labour movement and said Persad-Bissessar's failure was betraying the working class.

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