Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 12th 2016 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Even as workers from the Beetham
landfill downed tools yesterday morn-
ing to protest the non-payment of
arrears, Public Utilities Minister Ancil
Antoine assured he was working to
rectify the matter urgently.
Asked to respond to the demands of
the Industrial General and Sanitation
Workers Union (IGSWU) that the action
would continue until the workers receive
the outstanding monies, Antoine
revealed he had spoken to Finance Min-
ister Colm Imbert about the matter as
recently as Saturday, when the two
attended the funeral service for former
prime minister Patrick Manning.
Antoine said: "I approached the Min-
ister of Finance and spoke to him on
the matter. I am now awaiting the
release of money to pay the workers."
He said yesterday morning he
instructed the ministry's permanent
secretary to "resend the letters to the
Ministry of Finance regarding the release
of money to pay these workers."
Antoine had "no idea" about how
long that could take.
Faced with the possibility that the
situation could continue until the money
is paid, Antoine said garbage and dump
trucks had the choice to go to the Forres
Park or Guanapo landfills in the inter-
im.Meanwhile, police officers turned
away garbage and dump trucks yester-
day as the drivers began lining the west-
bound lane of the Beetham Highway
after the workers congregated in front
of the main gate to protest the non-
payment of the arrears.
The workers began gathering from
as early as 6 am forcing truck drivers
to seek alternative instructions from
Unlike several weeks ago when the
action led to a major traffic pile-up,
police officers acted swiftly to ensure
there were no barriers to impede the
motoring public as drivers slowed to
watch the protestors, with some shout-
ing out positive messages to the group.
Standing firm with the workers,
president of the IGSWU, Robert Bena-
cia, said they were tired of Govern-
ment's "lies and deceptions."
He added: "The workers have decid-
ed they will continue the protest until
Government sends word through the
company (Solid Waste Management
Company Limited) that they are ready
to improve the working conditions and
pay outstanding arrears."
Estimating that the 250 current and
former employees were owed approx-
imately $9 million, Benacia said oper-
ations at the Beetham landfill were
Benacia added: "These essential
service workers are only asking to be
paid what is owed to them."
Acknowledging that SWMCOL
"wanted to do the right thing by the
workers," Benacia said they too were
being misled by Government.
Asked to explain, Benacia said: "They
are being told certain things and when
that is communicated to the workers,
it turns out to be lies."
Indicating that the demand for
improved conditions was due more in
part to the lack of funding from Gov-
ernment and not a reluctance by
SWMCOL to effect changes, Benacia
said the workers could no longer oper-
ate with malfunctioning toilets, the
lack of a pipe-borne water supply and
a building that was falling apart but
also infested with mosquitoes and
The collective bargaining agreement
was signed on June 5, 2015 with officials
of the previous People's Partnership
administration for the period 2011 to
The payment of the outstanding
arrears was promised by November
Benacia said the workers had
encountered financial hardship as some
had taken loans and were owing cred-
itors and that the settlement would
mean a new lease on life for the 120
Dump workers protest again SHALIZA HASSANALI
President of National Parent
Teachers Association (NPTA)
Zena Ramatali yesterday called
on the police to thoroughly
investigate the leak in this
year s Secondary Entrance
Assessment (SEA) results.
Stating firmly that a police
investigation was necessary,
Ramatali said if anyone was
found guilty of wrongdoing they
should "face the consequences"
for their irresponsible actions.
Ramatali was responding to
Education Minister Anthony
Garcia who last Tuesday con-
firmed that there had been a
leak in the results ahead of the
official release date.
He admitted that some
schools knew of the results
before it was announced last
Garcia also confirmed that
they were now investigating
where the leak orginated.
"That is something we have
to look at very carefully. When
we go back to the Ministry of
Education, I will be meeting
with the Chief Education Offi-
cer and the staff of technical
officers to see what we can do
to ensure this does not recur,"
Yesterday, Ramatali said
"There should be a thorough
investigation into what tran-
spired. All those who handled
the results and so on. They
should look at all those who are
involved and give us some kind
of report on it."
She said this was what the
NPTA wanted to see and was
looking forward to.
"Something like would not
If anyone is found culpable
Ramatali said "Let the chips fall
where it may. If there is wrong
doing on whoever's part let the
chips fall where it may. Let them
face the consequences."
Ramatali said the association
was yet to talk to Garcia about
Questioned if there were pre-
vious leaks, Ramatali said "I
can't really remember. I would
have to ask my members. Based
on what the minister indicated.
I think the matter should be
thoroughly investigated and the
findings of the report be
Before the 2017 SEA exam is
held, Ramatali said the country
should be told how the leak
occurred and who was behind
"This should never happen
Neither president of T&T
Unified Teachers Association
Davanand Sinanan and Garcia
could be reached for respons-
A SWMCOL worker holds up a plackard during the workers protest outside the Beetham Landfill yesterday.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
President of Arrive Alive, Sharon
Inglefield, yesterday called on Govern-
ment to convert two major intersections
--- Trincity and Piarco --- which many
have described as death strips, into
She said those accident-prone inter-
sections have claimed the lives of many
drivers and converting them into round-
abouts was a preventative measure to
She was commenting on the seven
vehicular accidents which took place
between Saturday and Sunday in north
and central Trinidad, which left Christop-
er Lewis of Fairley Street, Tunapuna,
Offering condolences to the family
and friends of Lewis, Inglefield pleaded
with reckless drivers and those who fre-
quently break the red light at major inter-
sections to drive with caution and care,
especially when the roads were wet.
Inglefield said Government should
audit those dangerous intersections and
convert them into roundabouts.
Trincity and Piarco needed to be
changed with urgency, Inglefield said.
"We need to ensure that our roads are
being audited, especially where these
serious collisions have occurred," Ingle-
On the Arrive Alive website, it showed
that for the year 68 people lost their lives
on the roads, compared to 76 for the
same period last year.
The figure represented an 11 per cent
Asked if the public have been com-
plaining to Arrive Alive of seeing fewer
police officers using the speed guns on
the nation's roads, Inglefield said:
"We want to ensure that the police
officers are being made to account for
the amount of time that they are spend-
ing on the roads, meaning how many
tickets are they giving out and how
many arrests are being made.
"We want to make sure that the police
are accountable for the time that they
are spending on the roads with the pre-
ventative measures of the breathalyser
and the speed guns. It is critical that
we make sure that these officers under-
stand their responsibility to safety."
Since the 80 kmph speed limit
became law, the police, in May, boasted
that they had ticketed 90 drivers for
breaching the speed limit. Each driver
who broke the law had to pay a fixed
penalty of $1,000.
Inglefield agreed that more speed
guns and video cameras were necessary
with proper laws to support them.
"The police cannot be everywhere at
once. So the cameras will help out. I
would like to see cameras wherever we
have these signalised intersections and
major roads, particularly where serious
collisions have occurred. That is a pre-
ventative measure to save lives. For sure
more can be done," she added.
Commenting on the online petition
where motorists have been calling for
an increase in the 80 kmph speed limit,
Inglefield said Arrive Alive was against
such a move.
She said before the speed limit was
increased, the installation of video cam-
eras on the highways and roadways were
far more important to track drivers who
broke the law.
In May, Works and Transport Minister
Fitzgerald Hinds said Government was
giving consideration to increasing the
speed limit to 100 kmph on some of
the nation's roadways, particularly the
Uriah Butler and Churchill-Roosevelt
Inglefield said Arrive Alive had not
met Hinds to discuss that proposal.
Hinds also proposed the establish-
ment of a Demerit Points System, in
which points would be scored against
a person's licence and a repeat offender
could end up being disqualified from
driving for stipulated periods. Also pro-
posed are stricter and increased drunk
Call for roundabouts at Trincity and Piarco
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