FOR the second time in as many weeks, ex-employees of the defunct Caroni (1975) Ltd protested in front of Brechin Castle Estate in Couva to demand the lands promised to them under their Voluntary Separation of Employment Package (VSEP).
The workers first protested at the estate on February 14, while the Prime Minister was giving a feature address nearby at the opening of the Nutrimix Group of Companies Ltd’s Next Generation Hatchery at the corner of Rivulet and Captain Watson Roads.
Industrial relations practitioner Davica Thomas led Wednesday’s protest and told Newsday the ex-workers are frustrated that they have been waiting close to 20 years for their land.
She said, “We’re going to continue this protest action for weeks to come and we hope something would happen.
“We just want Caroni to do the right thing because the employees are entitled to their two acre and one lot plot of lands. It is part of the VSEP package, so they’re entitled it’s not a gift.
“They have been waiting, getting run-around and nobody seems to know what is going on.”
She has sent a letter on the workers’ behalf to Caroni (1975) Ltd CEO Lionel Wayne De Chi asking for a meeting and an update on the issue. Thomas said if De Chi is acting in good faith on the issue, he will not take more than two weeks to reply.
Calling all politicians both sides of the political spectrum complicit in the issue, coordinator of the Ex-Caroni Workers Association Rakeeb Mohammed said politicians must work together to solve the issue.
He lamented, “It (the land) is not a gift, it is not a handout and it is not a promise. It is your legal entitlement according to law.
“We have to stand up and we have to band ourselves as brothers, and sister, and come together and fight this issue.”
One irate ex-worker exclaimed the workers should begin blocking roads and burning tires as that may be their only to get the authority’s attention.