Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 26th 2016 Contents 8
Friday, February 26, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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for 25TH FEBRUARY, 2016
Central Trinidad Steel Limited (Centrin)
terminated the services of over 200
employees yesterday, prompting the Steel
Workers Union of T&T (SWUTT) to call
for the intervention of Prime Minister Dr
Around 10 am yesterday, about 50 of the
terminated workers gathered outside Cen-
trin s main gate on Mediterranean Drive in
the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Couva, to
vent their anger over the decision, asking
how they would now take care of their fam-
The workers, led by union president
Christopher Henry, showed their termination
letters to reporters.
"We are again calling on the Prime Min-
ister of T&T to step in here, to sit and have
a meeting not only with the company but
with the union together and let us have a
discussion on the way forward," Henry said.
"I am also saying some sort of discussion
at the government level must be had with
ArcelorMittal in terms of the company s
operations in our country.
"Since last year to now, we have approx-
imately 2,000 workers that have hit the
breadline. When you work that out it s about
15,000 citizens of T&T being affected," he
Henry said numerous efforts by the union
to negotiate with Centrin to stay open had
He added: "Comrades who have been
working in this company for the last 20-
25 years, today have been informed that
because of the company s inability to be
serviced with raw material from Arcelor-
Mittal they have to close their doors.
"The union would have sat with this
company and reached out in regards to what
could we do together to keep this company
"They would have said to us there are
two things that can be done, either Arcelor-
Mittal opening its doors once again, sup-
plying the raw material or the opportunity
for US currency to import the raw material
to ensure these workers stay viable, that
the company remains open and the workers
SWUTT, which also represents the hun-
dreds of dismissed ArcelorMittal workers,
said it also met with ArcelorMittal man-
agement to discuss the future of Centrin
workers as well.
"We would have made approaches to
ArcelorMittal as it relates to what is the
future of the company here because the
management of Centrin is saying their stay-
ing open depends on Mittal.
"To date ArcelorMittal has not made any
statement as it relates to the future of the
"We would have met with them last Fri-
day, indicating to them that we demand to
know what is the future of the workers.
They say at the end of February they might
be able to say something on it," Henry said.
Although the economic downturn has far
reaching effects, Henry said workers should
not be the ones to bear the full brunt alone.
"One suggestion is that the employers
cannot just be looking at continued profit
when we are in a recession. It has to be that
we look at all avenues and everybody in the
sphere of this whole challenge that we are
facing...face some sort of cut and all the
citizens of T&T will be able to survive the
challenges and will be able to rally this chal-
lenge that we have until it turns around."
He made a appeal to those in authority
to recognise that the job losses were a
"We must now realise it is not just a mat-
ter of steel union workers being displaced,
it is a national issue and it will continue to
get worse. We have to come together to see
how best we could stop the hemorrhaging
that is taking place," he added.
The T&T Guardian contacted Centrin for
a response and was told to contact Centrin s
parent company, Bhagwansingh s Hardware
& Steel Industry Limited, to speak to the
company s director Vinoo Ramoutar.
However, a member of staff said Ramoutar
was not at the office and messages left for
him were not returned.
Temul Khan has been with Centrin for
the past 32 years, since its inception.
Khan told the T&T Guardian yesterday
that at age 53 he has no idea what he would
do now to support his family.
"I started working here when I was just
"None of the guys who work here come
from any kind of wealthy background. It s
mostly the poorer class and we would have
worked to build this company up to what
it is today," he said.
Khan started at Centrin as a machine
operator and before yesterday s termination
was a production co-ordinator.
He blasted Centrin and its parent com-
pany, Bhagwansingh s Hardware & Steel
Industry Limited, for not absorbing the
200-plus employees in its other compa-
"They should have at least tried to absorb
the workers in the other companies they
own, instead of just sending people home.
Most of us do not know if or where we will
get another job. With all the job cuts facing
the industry, who is going to hire us?" he
JENSEN LA VENDE
Police are working on the theory that teenaged
friends---Daniel Halls and Stephan Singh---were killed
in a dispute over the torching of a car.
According to police reports, around 4.40 pm on
Tuesday, residents of St John s Road, St Augustine,
heard gunshots and alerted the police. Officers respond-
ed and found the bodies of Singh and Halls, both 16,
in a forested area.
Police said they were told that the teens were seen
in a group of five entering the bushes. Singh was a
student of Trinity East College while Halls attended
Aranguez North Secondary. Police said Halls had an
empty revolver on him when he was found.
Police said they received information after receiving
a voice note sent by Halls to another friend trying to
clear Singh s name. On the voice note, Halls was
addressing another man who was blaming the friends
for partially burning a Nissan Sentra but Halls tells
the person to confess and to offer compensation for
"Let the men and them know me and you bun
down the thing boy and you willing to pay the men
and them, or if you not willing to pay the men and
them I done tell you look how much guns I have here.
"It s bacchanal. It s bacchanal. You moving like a
real rocket. Dog, I telling you even Stars and them
coasting you, making it look like Stars and them put
up the ting when Stars had nothing to do with it dog.
It is me and you stamp the shot. Let the men and
them know it s me and you do it dog," Halls is heard
Tunapuna police eventually found the burnt car
but no report was made about the incident. Police
said they believe the two friends went to clear the air
on the issue and may have ended up in a further alter-
cation, resulting in their deaths.
Singh was buried yesterday following a funeral
service under Muslim rites at his Plantana Drive,
Dyette Estate, Cunupia, home.
Speaking with the media following the funeral serv-
ice, Theatre Arts teacher at Trinity College East, Shawn
Smart, said the entire school was "hit hard" when
they learned Singh had been killed and both teachers
and students alike were affected.
Joint patrols for high risk schools
Meanwhile, Education Minister Anthony Garcia
yesterday announced that he was in discussions
with the Ministry of National Security to discuss
the issue of placing joint army and police patrols
at high risk schools.
In a statement, the minister said teacher safety
was a top priority and they were reviewing security
levels at such schools.
He also said the Ministry of Social Development
had been asked to support the services already pro-
vided by the ministry s Student Support Services
Unit to schools being affected by issues of violence.
killed in dispute
over torched car
No raw materials due to Mittal shutdown so...
Centrin sends home workers
Former employees of Centrin display their dismissal letters outside the company's compound, Point Lisas, Couva, yesterday, where they
called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to intervene on their behalf. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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