Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Saturday, June 20, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Exactly 78 years after Tubal Uriah
"Buzz" Butler led the historic Labour Riots
in south Trinidad, chaos broke out in Fyz-
abad when the police riot squad physically
threw Public Service Association (PSA)
president Watson Duke out of the annual
Labour Day celebrations.
Leading thousands of members from the
National Trade Union Centre (Natuc), Duke,
along with Seamen and Waterfront Workers
Trade Union (SWWTU) president Michael
Anisette broke through a human barricade
formed by South Western Division Task
Force and stormed the Joint Trade Union
Movement s (JTUM) gathering at Charlie
This led to reinforcements being brought
in and officers held Duke by his neck, hands
and back and dragged him out of the crowd.
Guns were aimed at protesters and several
of them were struck with batons as they
followed their leaders.
According to Senior Supt Patsy Joseph,
police had approved Natuc s request to
march through the streets of Fyzabad, but
instead of following the intended route
through Lum Tack Hill, they went to Charlie
But a defiant Duke said the police was
out of order to stop them as Charlie King
Junction belonged to the people of T&T.
"Charlie King Junction belongs to no
man. It represents the highest point of the
struggle since the 1930s and today we have
come to pay homage to the late great Butler
at Charlie King Junction and no man can
stop us from that," Duke said.
Anisette said the police showed a clear
bias by their actions, adding that Natuc
never agreed to bypass Charlie King Junc-
In a response, Roget said Natuc s efforts
were planned in advance and was intended
to stop the Joint Trade Union Movement s
performance appraisal of the People s Part-
nership. However, he said they failed.
Charlie King Junction
belongs to no man---Duke
An officer of the Police Guard and Emergency Branch takes aim as his colleague searches a member of the PSA who tried to attend
JTUM's labour day celebrations at Charlie King Junction, Fyzabad yesterday. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Blowing whistles and horns, Natuc members brought a halt to the activities outside
the Oilfields Workers Trade Union's office. Duke demanded that he be invited on stage
with JTUM members who had previously warned Natuc that they were not invited to
this year's celebration.
President of the T&T Postal Workers Association welcomed the members saying
that trade unions shared the common goal of representing the national labour force.
But after this failed to quiet the PSA, Joseph and T&T Unified Teacher's Association
president Devanand Sinanan took to the podium and asked Duke to control his
Instead of calming down, PSA members began chanting, "Tell Roget the same thing."
While the commotion was taking place, Roget, who is also mourning the death of his
mother, sat calmly and revised his speech. Assistant Commissioner of Police Donald
Denoon held a discussion with Duke, but also failed to quell the union's defiance.
Lawyers representing 25 inmates of the Golden
Grove Prison who were injured in this week's
prison riot have begun their litigation against
After an emergency sitting at the San Fernando
High Court which ended last evening, Justice
Ronnie Boodoosingh granted approval to the men s
legal team to revisit their clients today to take
photographs of their injuries. The meeting is
expected to take place between 2 and 5 pm today.
As part of his ruling, Boodoosingh also granted
their legal team permission to file a judicial review
against the Prison Service challenging its decision
to bar them from taking the photographs during
their initial visit on Thursday afternoon.
A date for the next hearing of the case will be
set after the lawyers file their substantive case.
The prisoners legal team includes former attorney
general Anand Ramlogan, SC, Gerald Ramdeen,
Kent Samlal and Varun Debideen. The Commis-
sioner of Prisons was represented by Neil Byam.
The riot, the largest since two major incidents
in 2009, reportedly began on Tuesday night while
prison officers were searching cells for contraband
By the time the the disturbance was brought
under control, a dozen inmates had to be taken
to hospital for various injuries.
Prison sources said when the prison officers
returned to the cells the following morning to
deliver the inmates breakfast another riot erupted.
During the melee 13 more prisoners were wounded
while five prison officers had to seek medical
attention. The riot was eventually quelled around
midday on Wednesday.
The prisoners were taken to various hospitals
across east Trinidad but have since returned to
their cells at the prison. No more disturbances
have been reported since.
The wounded prisoners, 22 of whom are on
remand for murder, are all Muslims.
In a telephone interview with this newspaper
last night, one of the injured prisoners said that
despite being heavily medicated he and his fellow
inmates will still fast for Ramadan.
He said the photographs will assist in their
lawsuit against the prisoners officers for assault
and battery as it would clearly show the extent
of their injuries, which include swollen eyes, con-
cussions and multiple cuts and bruises. None,
however, suffered any broken bones.
In a press release issued yesterday, the Prison
Officers Association secretary Gerald Gordon
denied that the incident was based on the mens
"Officers of the T&T Prison Service continue
to conduct their duties without prejudice to any
particular inmate s religious beliefs. In fact, as
much as is practical and within the tenets of
maintaining safety and security, inmates are
encouraged to hold on to and even rekindle their
religious beliefs and practices," Gordon said.
See Page A9
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