Wednesday 21 August, 2019

T&T Chamber slams JTUM leader's riot calls

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce says it deems it ‘wholly unsatisfactory’ that members of the Labour Movement should call for citizens to riot in a show of discontent with the budget measures for fiscal 2018.

Speaking with reporters after delivering a letter to the Prime Minister on Wednesday expressing disapproval with the budget, head of the Joint Trade Union Movement Ancel Roget said, “It is time for this country to riot.”

This, as he alluded to statements made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert at an IMF forum last year where he said he raised fuel prices on more than one occasion and citizens did not riot and questioned whether he should do so again.

However, the T&T Chamber in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon criticised Roget’s statement saying, “at a time when the country is grappling with challenging economic conditions, such rhetoric, inciting citizens to mobilise in mass protest can only be described as reckless.”

The Chamber recalls that earlier this year, similar utterances became a major cause for concern, given what it describes as the then apparent cavalier attitude towards the prospect of driving investment away from T&T.

It says any such fallout could only serve to intensify already trying times for all who share the burden - including the more vulnerable among society.

The JTUM leader had come in for criticism earlier this year after he told oil and gas giant bpTT, “to take your rig and go,” after the company announced that it would not be building its Angelin gas platform in this country.

On another occasion, Roget called on citizens to boycott businesses owned by the so called powerful “one percent.”

The T&T Chamber says instead of calls for disruptive activity, it is of the view that there needs to be a commitment to tripartite discussions to work through issues of national importance.

It says this approach must be undertaken with all key stakeholders on board-Government, the business community and the Labour Movement.  

The T&T Chamber adds that it subscribes fully to the ideals of constructive dialogue as established through the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC).

It says anything less, would be counterproductive to securing a better future for all citizens who live and work in Trinidad and Tobago.

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