Thursday 22 August, 2019

Roget cries Gov't sabotage ahead of 'stormy protest'

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is levelling serious allegations against the Government, ahead of their August 4th march in Port-of-Spain.

JTUM Leader Ancel Roget accused the Dr Keith Rowley-led regime of attempting to sabotage their efforts to hold protest action.

Speaking outside the Police Administration building on Thursday, Roget claimed that senior Government officials and members of the Police Service have both tried to foil their attempt at exercising their constitutional right.

“We are aware of manoeuvres behind the scenes to prevent us from hitting the street on the 4th of August and those manoeuvres are coming from senior persons in the Government.”

“I can’t substantiate any claim in that regard except to say, I’m speaking from our past experience and from what little information that we would have had. I’m concretely aware of the past where there would have been moves and certainly, they would have denied us the use of vehicles on the street and all of that.”

“It has been our experience in the past that the police service would have waited until the last minute to grant the application, they would have waited until the last minute to raise objections, which objections they felt that we could not have satisfied in an underhand attempt to deny us the right to march and so on.”

Roget said in an attempt to prevent any interference with the Trade Union’s intent, he along with representatives of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Oranizations (FITUN), have decided to hand deliver the application for permission to hold the march.

“We are forewarning the public that this application has been made, it has been received and it has been signed for by one Keisha Bowla-Hines, head executive manager of the police service of Trinidad and Tobago.”

“We are going to be checking on this application between now and the time it is supposed to be granted to make sure that no slip ups are made and no underhand dealings take place to prevent us or to deny us our lawful right to be able to hit the streets and to protest and to rally and to raise legitimate and lawful issues in the interest of, not just our members, but in the interest of all of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

However, when contacted to respond to the JTUM leader's claims, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said Trinidad and Tobago is a free country and denied any attempt by the Government to interfere with the rights of any citizen.

"I would be entirely surprised if there was any merit in that. This is an open democracy where people are encouraged to exercise their rights and I would be hard pressed to ever believe that that could be the truth."

Meanwhile, in addressing issues of mass retrenchment of workers, the JTUM leader slammed cable provider, Flow, for its recent announcement to offer Voluntary Separation Packages to employees.

Roget said the Government is as much to blame as the organisation.

“Workers throughout the length and breadth of this country are feeling the pinch and you know what, the Government is setting the tone. The Government instead of setting a proper example, they closing down agency after agency, they set the tone.”

“We condemn outrightly, vehemently, the sending home of all of the workers by Flow. That flow would have used those workers in the sun and rain, you see them climbing those ladders, risking their lives at any day of the week to provide a service for which those workers, after providing those service, they were not even paid properly throughout the years but they would have worked diligently. And flow, just with a reduction in their profits, determined that they will send all of those workers home. 

In issuing his latest rallying call, Roget urged all employees to join the union's march against a series of issues. He said thus far, the march was a 'gathering storm; as it is gaining huge support.

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