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Wednesday 16 October 2019
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No hope for TT

Roget predicts bleak future under PNM

OWTU president general Ancel Roget.
OWTU president general Ancel Roget.

THERE is no hope on the horizon for TT with the present Government.

This was the view of president general of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget as he spoke on the state of the country, while condemning the arrest and laying of a sedition charge against Public Services Association president Watson Duke.

Speaking at the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) headquarters at Lord Street, San Fernando, on Saturday, Roget said after 57 years of independence there was now a “creeping dictatorship” where no one can speak out against the mal-performance, corruption and nepotism of the Government.

“Any voice that is raised against them is crushed and they are prepared to jail left right and centre,” Roget said. Pointing to the laying of a sedition charge against the PSA’s president, Roget said it appeared to be “politically manipulative” and reeked of political interference in the work of the police.

“They are using the police as their political tool to do their bidding and this is why you will see them sending the police for many of us,” he said.

“I could be next since I would have said many things that are consistent with trade union language in the mobilisation for workers to stand up for what is right and to stand up for their jobs,” Roget added.

He also questioned the instruction given to the police to lay the charge.

“Who gave the police the directve to use an old colonial law to arrest a trade unionist in 2019...in an independent TT?” he asked.

Roget said the Government had no moral authority to talk about independence, since, according to him, it was putting the country in a state of total dependency.

“Since the Government came into power, we have seen the most amount of workers being retrenched. Workers who do not have a clue as to what to do next and how to take care of their families.

“They have demonstrated a lack of care to the citizens, because instead of giving the type of direction and support to employ people, they are rendering onto the country the highest rate of employment it has ever experienced within the last three decades,” he said.

There is no hope in the horizon, he said.

“This is the most telling thing that, as we celebrate some 57 years of independence, not only are there no opportunities due to the lack of economic direction by this Government, but there is absolutely no hope for our young people and our qualified youths,” he said.

He pointed to recent retrenchment notices to workers.

“Today, in 2019, 199 UTT workers are served notice to go home, with 289 workers from Unilever also being served notices and they will be joining the thousands of workers on the breadline.

“How could that be good for this country? Government has no moral authority to talk to employers about sending home workers because they are the largest culprit in that area,” he said.

Roget also foresees a bleak future for TT, saying the country had little to celebrate because of the high murder rate, the highest unemployment rate and a failing economy.

“We live in a society where the PM makes excuses for the dismal performance of his Government,” he said.

Roget said he has been in contact with workers who were recently retrenched and will be meeting with them to discuss their future.

In the case of UTT, he said there were 77 vacancies in their new structure, but they were sending home 199 employees. “This a sort of political cleansing and victimisation as they prepare for campaigning and reprisal against people whom they believe the UNC would have placed in their jobs and we condemn that,” he said.

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