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JTUM stages protest over SoE

By Ryan Hamilton-Davis Friday, August 22 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Members of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union join other trade unionists in a protest outside the Hall of Justice, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday ...
Members of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union join other trade unionists in a protest outside the Hall of Justice, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday ...

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) staged a silent protest yesterday outside the Hall of Justice, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain, to mark the third anniversary of the State of Emergency (SoE).

Ancil Roget, President of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, told reporters that JTUM will continue to observe the day as one where the nation’s rights were removed.

Roget and fellow trade unionists appeared at the steps of the Hall of Justice just after 10 AM wearing black T-shirts printed with the words “We will never forget August 21, 2011.” They all had electrical tape covering their mouths, symbolising the day they believe the country was silenced. The protesters marched in silence while holding black flags.

During the protest Roget told reporters the JTUM felt it is their responsibility to remind the people of Trinidad and Tobago “that the Government took away the rights of the people of this country to promote their own agenda.

“Let us not forget that. We will not forget it. We will not forgive them for that. Workers were clamouring for decent wages and for settling of outstanding negotiations and for the removal of an unfair five percent cap. We were mobilising as to the misdeeds of the government of that time; the People’s Partnership, and what they sought to do to stymie our progress in our campaign for justice at that time was to call an SoE,” Roget said.

Aside from businesses closing down, thousands of jobs being lost, thousands of Trinidadians arrested without warrants and citizens detained without bail, Roget claims the cost of the SoE to the nation has yet to be revealed. He said while the current events may distract the public from the SoE, it is the JTUM’s duty to remind the nation of the transgressions that happened during that period.

“To date the Prime Minister has not given a quantified and a qualitative costing for what the State of Emergency cost the entire country. We will not forget and we will not forgive them for the transgressions that they have committed against the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Many citizens because of the amount of things that are happening in the society today, they lose focus and they forget and if they forget it will be to their own peril. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and we intend to be eternally vigilant insofar as any government but in particular and in the instant case this People’s Partnership Government” Roget said.

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