Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2017 Contents ing.
Unions participating included the OWTU, Com-
munication Workers' Union, T&T Unified Teachers'
Association, Steel Workers' Union, Postal Workers'
Union, the Registered Nurses 'Association, Fitun,
Industrial General and Sanitation Workers' Union,
Bank and General Workers' Union and University
of T&T workers.
TTUTA head Lindsay Doodai also called on the
Education Ministry to meet on issues at the Ste Ma-
deleine Secondary school and to retract recent state-
ments seeking disciplinary action against teachers.
CWU secretary general Joseph Remy also reiterat-
ed concerns about Tourism Development Company
Saturday, April 8, 2017 guardian.co.tt
"Take your rig and go!" That's
the message from joint trade un-
ion leader Ancel Roget to bpTT
and multi-national companies
who may refuse to observe T&T's
Oilfield Workers Trade Union jefe
Roget issued the retort at a protest
demonstration by Joint Trade Union
Movement (JTUM) bodies outside the
Prime Minister's St Clair office yes-
This following concerns that bpTT
may have decided against fabricating its
Angelin platform locally due to union
Denouncing the Dr Keith Rowley-led
People's National Movement Govern-
ment, Roget warned of a series of pro-
"This Government has had 15 months
to get its act together - all we've seen is a
lot of failure. They're devoid of any idea
that can bring about good governance,
we're experiencing very poor govern-
ance," he said.
"It's the 'Kamla Road' which Dr Row-
ley is walking. If he didn't learn from the
mistakes she'd have committed then
the same consequences will apply. To-
day is the beginning of mobilisation for
further protests - we'll put thousands
of workers on the streets - we came here
to send a message to those who're not
prepared to listen and who're walking
the road the last government did."
Roget said JTUM was prepared to
"shake up this blasted place" if Gov-
ernment didn't treat workers with the
respect they deserve.
The unions had initially gathered
outside the Parliament to telegraph
concerns on various issues to the
Government. But Parliament didn't
meet yesterday. They thus shifted
the demonstration to the PM's Office
though Rowley is overseas and returns
Roget responded on concerns that
bpTT's decision on the Angelin plat-
form fabrication was due to industrial
"BP is unfortunately holding the
Government to ransom as they'd do
with any Third World Country where
a government is devoid of ideas or how
to deal with multi-nationals," he said.
He said while BP had committed to
investing billions in T&T over coming
years, the company also appeared to
be telegraphing that if it didn't have
its way to support the exploitation of
workers "who produce the wealth BP
, they were prepared to with-
draw the fabrication job.
"Well, take the platform and go, take
your rig and go," Roget said.
He added that the union wasn't
prepared to have workers in unsafe
environments lacking good industrial
"BP as a multi-national cannot allow
local contractors to do as they please.
We're prepared to send that message
Roget said the current economic situ-
ation cannot be used to sacrifice work-
ers for economic gain. He said workers
had been protesting for jobs and against
unsafe workplace conditions and if this
wasn't handled pro-actively, "we'll
have more and more protests."
Noting public sector retrenchment,
he said the Finance Minister was de-
void of ideas to balance his books, "but
they'll have much more to deal with
figures. There's a level of disrespect
being meted out to the trade union
Despite calls for dialogue, he added,
"You cannot find the Prime Minister,
the Labour Minister is making vacuous,
inconsistent, out of timing statements."
On concerns that protests could put
T&T at a disadvantage competitively,
Roget said, "Should we work in unsafe
conditions and take substandard pay
and disrespect? BP and any multina-
tional has to know we have laws that
ought to be respected and protected."
Roget said unions didn't feel respon-
sible for negative consequences follow-
ing recent energy company protests in
La Brea, since they had a responsibility
to ensure lives aren't lost. He said JTUM
would make critical a announcement
by May Day.
During yesterday's protest, OPM
workers peered at the demonstrating
unions from upstairs the office build-
PM puts ferry
Government's hopes to keep the Super Fast Galicia on
sea bridge for a further three months have been dashed,
but Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says
"we have options" as he looks to put measures in place
by April 19 to ensure Tobago is not adversely affected
when the Galicia leaves.
Sinanan told the T&T Guardian that Prime Minister
Dr Keith Rowley has been keeping in contact on efforts
to resolve the problem.
Rowley is in New York on vacation following his recent
trip to Houston for talks with energy sector officials and
is due to return home today.
Sinanan said while Dr Rowley "wants us to find a
solution, he also wants us to ensure that going forward
we are not placed in this situation again." It was for this
reason Sinanan said Cabinet had agreed "that we will
buy a vessel and build a vessel suitable to the needs of
Trinidad and Tobago."
The imminent departure of the Galicia on April 18 has
prompted major concerns among stakeholders in Tobago.
Sinanan said he listened to their concerns when they
met this week. The stakeholders told the minister he
should go back to the local agents and try to re-negotiate
to keep the Galicia or to get an alternative vessel. They
gave him until Monday to come back with a solution.
Late Thursday Sinanan did just that. He met with the
local agent for the Galicia, John Powell, the managing
director of Inter-Continental. Sinanan said "we made a
suggestion to keep the Galicia for another three months,
but they indicated that is not possible." He said "they
trying to get a boat by May, but that is too late, we want
to have things in place by April 19th when the Galicia
is no longer available."
The Galicia's owner, Transmed, has already booked
the vessel to take up service in North Africa from June
1 and the vessel needs to get back to Gibraltar before
it is reassigned.
Sinanan said after the meeting he felt "comforted
we have options."
Powell told the T&T Guardian the meeting with the
minister and his team "was cordial and very solution-ori-
ented and he promised the minister to "get back to him
by Monday morning, with a few recommendations on
what is available."
Sinanan said he visited the port yesterday to look at
the "two Coast Guard vessels. Obviously the options
are not like the Super Fast, which is an excellent boat,
but we have options."
Sinanan said he had "no problem with the Galicia",
but the negatives outweighed the positives.
"The vessel is too large. When I visited the port this
morning (Friday) the Galicia was parked out in the wa-
ters with a big barge behind it."
The barge is used to load the vessel because it cannot
be berthed at the docks, he said.
Sinanan said "if there is a cruise ship in port the Galicia
cannot be in the port and when there is a cruise ship
in Tobago it cannot dock. It is high maintenance, the
cost of the fuel is twice the price of the vessel which
Contacted yesterday, chairman of the Inter Island ferry
Commission in Tobago, Diane Hadad, said solutions put
to the Tobago Chamber, including the tug and barge,
Coast Guard vessels, and the TCL barge "just sounded
like a whole lot of mess."
She said stakeholders were not interested in a barge
because "we did that before, we learnt from our mistakes
and will not be making them again."
Hadad said the "barge causes salt water exposure
and puts goods through unnecessary damage, so that
goods are not good for consumption. We don't want to
go back and do the same thing. There is no way tugs
and barges will be accepted."
Tobago Chamber president Demi John Cruikshank said
the minister has until the close of business "four o'clock
on Monday to get back to us, so we waiting on him."
OWTU members during the protest outside the parliament building, International Waterfront
Centre, Wrightson Road, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Roget: Rowley walking the Kamla road
JTUM ready to
shake up T&T
Links Archive April 7th 2017 April 9th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page