Saturday 18 November, 2017

Duke says 'holiday' on Thursday and Friday still on

Public Services Association (PSA) President Watson Duke is maintaining that staff at the Customs and Excise Division (C&ED) and Inland Revenue Division (IRD) will take Thursday and Friday off, in protest of the establishment of the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority (TTRA).

Duke held a media conference on Wednesday, in response to a statement from the Finance Ministry, which said that Minister Colm Imbert will meet with Duke to "clarify the Government’s aims and objectives with regards to the establishment of the TTRA".

He said he accepted the proposal to meet with the Finance Minister after he received three separate calls from his secretary.

The PSA President said, however, that he was not aware of the agenda for the meeting, noting that the media and members of the public were privy to information that he was not.

He said despite his decision to attend the meeting, protest action will continue as planned on both Thursday and Friday.

"I say yes! the workers are on holiday tomorrow and mind you, it may not be all the workers as yet because we are quite careful but certainly, if the Minister continues to go down that road of not consulting, only wanting to 'clarify', he will have to face with the law because the law is clear that the Minister of Finance shall consult with the PSA."

Duke added that contrary to the Finance Ministry's press release, he intends to visit the Minister for consultations on the way forward.

"We do not want any clarification meeting with the Minister. I will be going to that meeting but I am not going there seeking any clarification, I am going there to consult. Let there be full disclosure, let there be transparency, let there be participation in this single important process."

"Don't disrespect us with any 'clarification'. Do not disrespect us, it's an insult. I am not going there to be clarified on any issue, I'm going there to consult. You lay plain before me the agenda of the plans, allow me to challenge it and let's agree. Coming out of the meeting there should be an agreement, a memorandum of understanding, a memorandum of agreement."