NATUC general secretary Michael Annisette has challenged pollster Nigel Henry to produce the empirical evidence to support his claim that a large percentage of the population has a negative view of the trade union movement.
In part two of a three-part poll published over the past few days, Henry said a significant number of people believe the country would be better off without the trade unions.In an e-mailed response, Annisette said the movement had been “traditionally used as the scapegoat for the failing economic policies and the politics” of politicians who have the capability to build a unified Caribbean region.
He observed that a country rises or falls based on the quality of its leadership, saying after 57 years of independence, “mudslinging and the tribal politics is still part of our political landscape.“The norm of putting party before country is so entrenched in our political DNA that the country continues to fail to unify the people to work for a better TT.”
He said the transition from tribal, ethnic and colonial traditions to the complexities of modern political life is the “first requirement for a better TT, and not the casting of blame on the trade unions when so many ills confront our society.“ Until we begin to appreciate that politics is not life and death, but a competition of ideas in the political and social arena, we will not advance as a people. It is unfortunate that politicians continue to see its citizens as a political mortgage to be refinanced every five years.”
He said trade unions have made “sterling contributions” to TT's democracy from colonial times to this century.“I will therefore challenge the Nigel Henry polls to bring the empirical evidence in support of what he is saying, and let us debate and exchange ideas.”
He said he had expressed his view "to emphasise that trade unions will not be held hostage by anyone. We will not allow anyone to paint the working class and by extension, the trade union movement as being responsible for the ills that has befallen our beloved TT.”“Mr Nigel Henry, l view the findings of your poll and your comments, as demonstrating a lack of 'intellectual hygiene,'” he concluded.