Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 10th 2017 Contents news A17
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Baptist leader at Archbishop's funeral
The public health system
failed Spiritual Baptist Arch-
bishop Monica Randoo, who
died after there was no one to
do a scan at a medical institu-
tion she visited, says Sterling
Belgrave, a leader in the Baptist
Addressing a large crowd at
her funeral service in the Judah
Spiritual Baptist Church at Water-
hole, Cocorite, yesterday, Belgrave
said if there was someone at the
institution to do the scan, Randoo
may have been alive today.
He said because she did not get
the scan, the right medication
could not have been administered
Randoo, 80, who reportedly suf-
fered from a stomach ailment, died
last Sunday. She was a mother of
Belgrave told the crowd, which
spilled outside the church and onto
the roadway, it was time for Bap-
tists to get their own doctors and
There was no open mourning
for Randoo and the service, which
included intermittent singing and
drumming, was celebratory.
"I must walk this lonesome val-
ley alone," they sang.
A long wooden staff with a glass
of water under it blocked the en-
trance to the church where Ran-
doo's casket lay. In attendance
were former Culture minister,
Joan Yuille-Williams, PNM Sen-
ator, Foster Commings, former
UNC minister, Archbishop Bar-
bara Burke and Brother Resistance
(Lutalo Masimba), president of the
Trinbago Unified Calypsonians As-
Delivering the eulogy, Ran-
doo's son Barry said from the age
of eight, his mother developed a
strong love for the Lord and by 16,
she was baptised into the Spiritual
He said soon after baptism she
wanted to "mourn" and, although
her father wanted her to become
a lawyer, her life's mission from
then was to spread the gospel of
"For her, the Bible held every an-
swer. She lived to sing the praises
of God and that is what gave her
Barry said Randoo founded the
Judah Spiritual Baptist Church in
the hills of Cocorite overlooking
the Gulf of Paria opposite her own
He said she was employed at the
St Ann's Mental Hospital and min-
istered to struggling souls there.
She also had a burden for the poor
and oppressed and worked to help
them in whatever way she could.
Randoo also served as one-time
advisor in a former culture ministry
and was instrumental in starting
the school feeding programme and
was part of the group who lobbied
for a holiday for Spiritual Baptists.
Shouter Baptist Day will be cel-
ebrated on March 30.
Barry said his mother who had to
fight many battles from childhood
and faced them all head on.
"Whenever she met difficulties,
she would say, 'I am a lion from the
tribe of Judah'
At this, the musicians burst into
drumming and the crowd began to
chant, "I never get weary yet."
Randoo was laid to rest at West-
ern Cemetery, St James, after the
Joint Trade Union Movement
(JTUM) and OWTU leader Ancel
Roget is concerned about what he
says is Government's betrayal of the
cause of workers.
He said the Keith Rowley adminis-
tration benefited from the concerns
which trade unions raised openly about
poor governance, incompetence and
mismanagement under the People's
"We signed a memorandum of un-
derstanding with the PNM where they
committed to be different and to treat
with workers' issues, but today we feel
a sense of betrayal," he said.
"They told us they would do things
differently but now they are going
down the same road quickly. We are
very disappointed that those who were
talking to us are now controlled by the
elite class. They are controlled by those
who do not have workers or the public
interest at heart, they only care about
private and business interest."
Roget said JTUM plans to send a
strong wake up call to the Government.
"We have to shake them up. On May
Day (May 1) and Labour Day (June 19)
we will hit the streets. They must know
that they cannot malign trade unions
and workers for other interests," he said.
Roget said 18 months after the PNM
took charge of the country there are
several outstanding negotiations in-
volving the OWTU, including National
Petroleum, the University of the West
Indies, University of T&T and Cipriani
Labour College. He said many of those
negotiations are for 2007 to 2011 or 2011
"We know the last government did
not settle those negotiations because
they had a score to settle with the union,
but why is the current government not
moving to settle them?" he asked.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley announced that Govern-
ment will pay the $2.5 billion in arrears
owed to public officers.
Roget said: "We have no problem with
that, but what about settling outstand-
ing negotiations for other categories of
workers who are also affected by infla-
tion and who have not benefited from
a salary increase for years?"
Noting that Government "went and
borrowed money to ensure that the 14
per cent increase for public officers and
the backpay would be paid"
, he added:
"We have no problem with them hon-
ouring that debt, but until and unless
they treat all workers fairly, we will not
have industrial peace."
In the case of Petrotrin, he said, af-
ter agreeing to a five per cent increase
to stave off a strike at the company,
Government subsequently offered one
per cent for the remaining bargaining
"That is ludicrous," he said, "Petro-
trin can be viable but it needs restruc-
He said workers whose negotiations
remain outstanding will now by right
ask, 'What about us?"
Roget said the decision to pay the
$2.5 billion debt to public officers will
affect workers' morale and productivity
at State enterprises where negotiations
"These State enterprises will be de-
nied their full potential because workers
are not motivated to work."
OWTU president general Ancel Roget
Members of the Baptist faith during the funeral service for Spiritual Baptist Archbishop Monica Randoo at
the Judah Spiritual Baptist Church in Cocorite yesterday. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Spiritual Baptist Archbishop
...Settle outstanding negotiations
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