Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 26th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, July 26, 2017
basis of race
The Equal Oppor-
tunity Tribunal has
found that a driver
was unfairly by-
passed for promo-
tion with the Min-
istry of Food Pro-
duction (now the
Ministry of Agri-
culture, Land and
Fisheries) on the basis
of his race.
In making its ruling recently,
the Tribunal awarded Dindial Ra-
goo close to $200,000 in damages,
interests and costs.
It also declared that Ragoo is entitled
to be given a fair opportunity, within a
reasonable time, to be considered for
promotion to the position of diesel
Ragoo, who is of East Indian de-
scent, filed his complaint with the
Tribunal in 2013, through his
attorney, Kevin Ratiram after
being denied promotion to the
post of diesel mechanic, even
though the Permanent Secretary
gave approval for him to act.
Instead, he contended in his doc-
uments, Noellyn Paul, was given the
opportunity to train and subsequent-
ly act in that position, although Paul's
supervisor said he was not ready to be
Ragoo applied for the post whichwas ad-
vertised internally in the ministry's Horti-
cultural Services Division, in 2010.
He said each time he asked agricultural
assistant III, Alphonso Roper the status
of his application he was told that was
awaiting a response from the HR De-
By memo dated January 26, 2011,
the PS gave approval for Ragoo to act
with effect from January 7.
Ragoo said Roper never informed
him of this and he only learnt about
it in February, 2011. Yet he was never
allowed to so act.
On November 11, 2011,he wrote to
the PS indicating he wasgetting a run
around, and that Paul, on the basis of
his race, was unfairly given the oppor-
tunity to train for the post ahead of him,
and allowed to act in that position.
According to court documents, at a
March 10, 2010 meeting with officials
from the ministry and the union, Roper
decided that Paul wouldactin the position
for a six month probationary period, after
which he would be assessed.
However, the Tribunalsaid that the minutes
of the meeting reflected that the decision was to
have Paul trained while on probation and notact.
The Tribunal ordered that the Ministry pay Ra-
goo the sum of $167,351, plus interest at the rate of
sixper cent, from the date of filing of the complaint,
to the date of judgment, as well as costs in the sum
RADHICA DE SILVA
Some local furniture manufacturers says
the Government's ban on the export of teak
could revitalise the dwindling furniture in-
dustry in T&T.
The ban which has sparked uproar from
local sawmillers, is still under review by the
But in an interview on Monday, managing di-
rector of UMR Furniture factory in Debe, Youd-
istir Sankar said over the past five years, dozens
of small furniture manufacturers from Penal Rock
Road, Debe and Siparia were forced to close down
because of the unavailability of lumber due to exports.
"The sawmillers were exporting everything to India.
The demand for teak there is great and they could swallow
up all of our lumber. We had made recommendations for
a ban under the former minister Ganga Singh but it never
happened. Furniture manufacturers could not get teak at that
time and many people had to close down their businesses,"
Sankar said. He said that the ban on lumber, particularly teak
could revitalise the furniture making industry.
Asked why suppliers were still not taking advantage of
the abundance of lumber on the market, Sankar said this
was because the price of teak was still high.
"I bought teak for $14 per square foot last week," he said.
He also said customers were more careful about spending.
"The entire market has slowed down. Right now I am making
cheap sofa sets for $1,995 because the larger sets are not selling,"
Sankar said. He denied that importation of foreign furniture was
affecting local manufacturing.
However, owner of Furniture Specialist Indira Nath disagreed. She
said importation of foreign furniture had a devastating impact on the
"Over the past five years, many furniture manufacturers were forced
to close down because they could no longer operate," Nath said.
"We have been in this business for 25 years. We used to ship lo-
cally manufactured furniture abroad. We used to have 60 and 70
employees but now we are down to just six people in the factory.
At least four factories have already closed down in the Arima
area," she said.
Rocky Mahadeo, the owner of Direct Home Furnishers Ltd
in San Fernando also said the ban on lumber exports was good
for the economy.
However, he said importation of poor quality furniture has
been detrimental to the local manufacturing industry as there
was a greater supply of good quality lumber at a cheaper price.
"The price of teak has dropped from $18 to $14 per square feet
and now we are getting the best quality lumber," Mahadeo said. He
noted that apart from banning the exports, government should also
assist in promoting the products of local furniture manufacturers
on the international market.
Last week, local sawmillers said they have been struggling to
survive because of the ban on exports. They said they have been
unable to pay their workforce and the local furniture industry could
not absorb the supply of wood.
However, Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat said the
decision to ban lumber exports was meant to boost the local manu-
Saying it was too early to assess the impact of the ban on down-
stream users of teak, Rambharat said the management of valuable teak
resources, highly subsidised by taxpayers, was of paramount concern.
"We have to extract teak from our reserves in a sustainable way. Some
sawmillers only existed to cut and export teak," Rambharat said.
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