Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2016 Contents who are the real power brokers.
They are the ones who have never
lost power. Government come and
government go. They remain in
Oh gosh, Mr Duke, don t just
spout empty phrases.
Mr Raphael, last night we heard
plans that will allow those people to
enter a sacred thing as building homes
for your people. A sacred thing like
that. And it seems to be a natural
giving away of this nation s patrimony
to those people. The bourgeois are
the ones who could buy those prop-
erties at $4.5 millions and sell them
back at $7 to $8 million.
You have spoken about a chal-
lenge facing the PSA as a result of
the VAT provision...
We are deeply concerned about
the general spread of VAT across the
board. In the past VAT was applicable
only to certain items. Now everything
will be VATable. They are going to
reinstitute land and building taxes.
Rents are going to go up automat-
ically. No land owner, as small as they
are, would accept that.
Mr Duke, an essential part of the
measures are the proposed tripartite
discussions and historically there
has been a divide in the trade union
movement. Does this mean the
unions would enter these talks in
a fragmented manner?
No. We are going into these dis-
cussions in a unified manner and
today I spoke with the president of
FITUN in my capacity as first vice-
president of Natuc...hoping that next
week we can start a conversation to
bury the hatchet. Let s recognise the
common goal is the hundreds of
thousands of people, voters, we rep-
resent, to have a unified position
going forward. It is of utmost impor-
tance that when we speak to one
Government we do so as one unit
and we are willing to eat humble pie
and smoke the peace pipe, to ensure
we, the PSA, protect the lives of
At least one good thing will
emerge from this development---
the unification of the labour move-
I am saying potential because we
are all men and until it is done it is
not done, all right? Once they divide
us then they will rule us but if we
agree and we have our own accord
as leaders then we will be in a posi-
tion to meet the Government on an
equal footing to hold those discus-
sions in a balanced way.
Mr Duke, how would the PM s
package affect thousands of work-
ers back pay as a result of com-
pleted and incomplete negotiations?
Our intention is to seal the nego-
tiations by mid-2016, plus outstand-
ing back pay. You see we run the
risk of entering into a period where
the dollar value, because of the
unsatisfactory foreign exchange sit-
uation, could be devalued overnight.
When this happens it will hit us like
a tonne of bricks because the money
you are yet to get loses its value.
What is the quantum of the back
We have heard the Government
saying that it is about $5 billion for
the protective services and the RHAs
but that is an inflated figure. Gov-
ernment does it all the time to give
the public the impression that it is a
weighty sum owing the people. We
are of the view that they should make
haste and pay the money to start the
whole economy going again.
Finally, Mr President, all in all,
how would you rate the overall pack-
age in relation to the working class?
While the message was solution
oriented it is something that could
be viewed two ways. The draconian
measures spoken of last night, cer-
tainly there would be some more
money in the coffers but at what
expense? Persons will lose their jobs,
salaries will be worth less and you
will find yourself working twice as
hard to achieve the same things as
obtained two years ago. We are pre-
pared to compromise for specific gains
for the workers but the Government
must also make certain compromises
by having meaningful tripartite dis-
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 3, 2016
From Page A10
'Tripartite talks must be meaningful'
Our intention is to
seal the negotiations
by mid-2016, plus
outstanding back pay.
You see we run the
risk of entering into a
period where the
dollar value, because
of the unsatisfactory
situation, could be
When this happens it
will hit us like a tonne
of bricks because the
money you are yet to
get loses its value.
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