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Unions staging march next Friday

By Richardson Dhalai Friday, June 20 2014

click on pic to zoom in
MP for Fyzabad Chandresh Sharma (left) greets Guave Road farmers as they marched yesterday in Fyzabad....
MP for Fyzabad Chandresh Sharma (left) greets Guave Road farmers as they marched yesterday in Fyzabad....

Joint Trade Union Movement, (JTUM), leader, Ancel Roget has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to call an early General Election saying the nation was experiencing a crisis in governance and was “hanging over a precipice” of economic instability and corruption.

And, as if to encourage the Prime Minister to call the election, which is due next year, Roget announced that the labour movement was planning a series of strategic measures to hasten the election, one of which was a march from King George V Park, Port-of-Spain to the Office of the Prime Minister next Friday, June 27.

Addressing a mass rally comprising union members and representatives from a number of civil organisations, together with supporters of the Opposition People’s National Movement, during Labour Day celebrations at Charlie King Junction, Fyzabad, Roget cited the economic stagnation of the economy, the current foreign exchange shortage and the controversies involving government ministers saying the labour movement had predicted the foreign exchange shortage at last year’s Labour Day observances.

“It is without doubt that our country is in real trouble and we have to find a way out,” Roget said, adding, “we cannot and will not and shall not allow this to continue.”

“Next year will be too late,” he said, and quoting the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes which observed that there was time for everything under the sun including “a time for voting government in and a time for voting them out,” he thundered. “Today in the true spirit of Butler, we demand that the early calling of elections now.”

He said a number of strategies would be employed to encourage the calling of the election saying, “Next Friday, 27th of June, we will assemble in our thousands at King George V Park in Port-of-Spain, from there we will be going straight to the head of government of Trinidad and Tobago, then one who has ultimate responsibility for government, we will go directly to the office of the prime minister, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, herself.’

However, Roget stopped short of saying what the demonstrators would do at the Prime Minister’s office saying this would be revealed during the mass demonstration.

“There is where we will announce our next move, June 27, and we call on all workers and members of civil organisations to rescue Trinidad and Tobago,” he said, “the power of the people is greater than the people in power.”

Roget also offered a prediction on the outcome of the next election saying. “Today, in the spirit of Butler, I am predicting that this People’s Partnership Government will lose

the next general election by a landside.”

Roget also trained his guns on former OWTU president general and a man once regarded as an icon in the labour movement, present Labour Minister Errol McLeod saying Mc Leod had drawn “first blood” when he had attacked the trade union movement and the OWTU at the Peoples Partnership 4th anniversary celebrations on May 24, 2014.

Roget, who had once served under Mc Leod said his former leader had told that audience that the union should stick to industrial relations activities and not engage in politics, but reminded the audience that at Mc Leod last Labour Day Address in 2008 had called on workers to engage in political action against the PNM administration.

And playing an audio tape of Mc Leod who had called on workers to engage in strike action to bring about changes in the political arena, Roget said, “I does obey instructions good. We will strike, we will strike and we will strike.”

“Errol K McLeod has to be counted as one of the worst Ministers of Labour this country has ever had,” Roget said, adding, “we are prepared to challenge your Government and we are prepared to die in the process. We declare all out war,” he thundered.

Roget also called for the firing of Sports Minister Anil Roberts saying this should be done in the interest of the national good and as an example to the nation’s youth who had raised the issue during a recent parliamentary outreach programme by Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith about the reasons for his still being a member of Government.

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