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Roget mulls another NTAC pull-out

Published: 
Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Calypsonian Karen Ashe performs “Every Knee Shall Bow” at the OWTU’s 79th Annual Conference of Delegates at OWTU headquarters, San Fernando, on Friday. Looking on, from left, are MSJ leader David Abdulah, BIGWU president Vincent Cabrera, MSJ chairman Gregory Fernandez and Cuban Ambassador Guillermo Vazquez Moreno. Photo by:KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) leader Ancel Roget is again considering departing from the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) because of Government’s failure to honour their agreement.

Speaking at the OWTU’s 79th Annual Conference of Delegates at the union’s San Fernando headquarters on Friday, Roget lambasted the Government and its supporters.

Last year, the union returned to NTAC after the Government agreed to five measures, including a three-month moratorium on retrenchment in the public sector. But Roget told delegates Government simply was not honouring its promises.

“Nevertheless the dishonesty and disrespect continue, where the Government is simply not honouring any agreement whether it is the MOU or the September 13th, 2017 Agreement. And with this level of disrespect, they want us to continue business as usual and remain silent.”

Roget said they will be delivering a letter to the NTAC chair for the immediate discussion of several issues, including the retrenchment of UTT workers, the planned retrenchment of 2,000 Petrotrin workers and the performance of Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet.

“For us, it cannot be business as usual. Therefore we are currently reviewing our participation in the NTAC. This disrespect for labour must be brought to an end,” he said.

Lamenting the austerity measures imposed by the Government over the last three years, Roget said the burden of adjustment is falling only on poor ordinary people while creating a perfect paradise for the elites and the “one per cent.”

Criticising the Government’s “failed” crime plan, he had this message to the PNM loyalists, “Don’t shoot the messenger, because when the gun-toting criminal come for you, your PNM party card cannot save you.”

He also took a swipe at former trade unionist Rafique Shah for his “unwarranted attack” on the OWTU, which “only serves to help Dr Rowley with his anti-worker agenda.”

Feature speaker, political analyst Dr Winford James, said the “one per cent” continues to have influence in the banks and corridors of power.

“We can hardly penetrate the corridors of those banks where decision-making is concerned, where preferential situations are embraced and shared among a chosen few, the one per cent. Because they have money they can afford to send their kids to the best schools worldwide and because also they have been able to bribe our local political parties they have been able to maintain their influence in the corridors of power.”

He encouraged workers to educate themselves and also ensure their children achieve a tertiary education.

“I went to school with one of those guys (one per cent) and I beat them sad, not only me but other black boys and girls in the class, beat them sad, dunce as bat (spells) rat.”

He also suggested that children be taught standard English at the elementary school level.

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