Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2015 Contents B1
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North Korea says it is facing its
worst drought in a century, sparking
fears of worsening food shortages.
State news agency KCNA said main
rice-growing provinces had been badly
affected and more than 30 per cent of
rice paddies were "parching up".
Hundreds of thousands of North
Koreans are believed to have died
during a widespread famine in the
This drought is unlikely to be as
deadly because of recent agricultural
reforms, correspondents say.
The United Nations World Food
Programme says North Korea
regularly faces significant food
shortages and currently about a third
of children in the country are
Some rainfall was reported on
Wednesday but this is not unusual for
a country that often veers between
droughts and severe floods, according
to BBC Weather's Phil Avery.
Any rainfall now will not make up
for the dry weather in the last few
North Korea says it faces worst drought in a century
o serves on
(CWU) as its Deputy
Treasurer. Aged just 37, she is
a trade union activist and a budding
attorney awaiting to be called to the bar.
Alexander-Cornwall, a product of Gas-
parillo, had her schooling at Gasparillo
Composite School, St Kevin's College,
Keith Beckles Law School in Couva and
Institute of Law & Academic Studies,
Chaguanas. She has one sister, Josanne,
and describes herself as something of a
tomboy growing up. Alexander's hobbies
include cross country driving, hiking,
sight seeing and travelling abroad.
Alexander-Cornwall thinks that trade
unionism is relevant to today s youth. She
added: "I would say there is a balance in
this regard, though it benefits young peo-
ple to become involved in a trade union.
If you look at most progressive unions
today like OWTU, CWU, BIGWU etc
there are a lot of youth officers, primarily
because this has been a case of your par-
ents working in the oil fields and cane
fields, or in the same establishment and we
have seeing and experiencing the benefits,
and because of the understanding of these bene-
fits. Through the blood, sweat and tears of the
past generations, we live to carry on this said
"In terms of attracting today s youth, most
young people are afraid of joining a trade union
merely because of the lack of education and the
wrong concept of what a trade union represents.
Most people see a trade union as an entity
which comprises rebels and aggressive workers.
"Most young people have the fear of opening
themselves to victimisation and even worse feel
they can lose their job if they decide to defy
their employer and join a trade union. Education
is the key. There is clear evidence of union-
busting by some business organisations. This is
illegal in T&T. Union busting refers to activities
undertaken by employers, their proxies, and gov-
ernments, to prevent workers from freely organ-
ising, joining and maintaining trade unions.
So, why did Alexander-Cornwall join a trade
union? "Trade union is in my blood," she
admitted. "I became active in the CWU from
the inception of my joining TSTT in 2000. Ini-
tially, there was not really a choice; it was a rule
on the ground. You joined the company and the
next step is to join the union. After doing so, it
was a way of life for me.
"I have a passion to fight for what is right, just
and due. I knew to myself this was a way to engender
the opportunity to see this passion materialise and
it has. Nothing gives me more pleasure and a feeling
of being vindicated after an oppressed/aggrieved
worker smiles and thanks you for your
As we look forward to tomorrow s Labour Day celebrations, the
T&T Guardian looks at the future of trades unions. Peter Ray Blood
spoke with Joanne Alexander-Cornwall, one of the young executive
members of the Communications Workers Union about her role
in the union, the future of unions and why younger people
should get interested in what unions do.
believes that young people need
to be involved in trades unions
and have a say in their futures.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Continues on Page B2
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