Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 11th 2018 Contents A16
Sunday, March 11, 2018
They win, we all lose
The Industrial Court has decided that Petrotrin
workers deserve a pay increase but they do not
seem to mind that the rest of the citizens of
T&T are not getting one cent in revenue from a
company we own.
Last week's judgment settled the inal year of
the 2011 and 2015 bargaining period at a 1 per
cent, on top of the 5 per cent agreed between
the OWTU and the Government last year. The
Industrial Court announced that this was "fair
The Industrial Court was unequivocal that
the workers deserve an increase and the only
question was how much.
The ability of the company to afford the
increase was not considered.
Petrotrin is a company which is wholly owned
by the State and belongs to all of us.
Yet it was revealed at the recent Parliamentary
Joint Select Committee that Petrotrin has failed to
pay its taxes and royalties.
Royalties are our basic inancial entitlement
when any company exploits our resources.
Petrotrin is a company that we own who is
not paying us, the citizens, our most basic
entitlement. All foreign-owned companies are
It is not right that one privileged group
of citizens gets paid handsomely from the
exploitation of our resources, while the balance
of the population gets not one cent.
The Industrial Court judgment fails to recognise
that OWTU workers at Petrotrin are already paid
signi icantly more than workers doing similar jobs
in other ener y sector companies.
Last year, the Ener y Chamber showed that
Petrotrin workers were getting as much as double
the going rate.
This does not even consider the wage increases
that these privileged workers will demand for the
period 2016 to 2018.
Other citizens working in the ener y sector have
lost their jobs and many others have had pay cuts
or reduced working weeks.
Any SEA student could work out that Petrotrin
is unable to meet its current wage bill, unable to
meet its future wage bill, and certainly cannot
meet what it owes the people.
That SEA student can also deduce that we are
inevitably going to have to bail out Petrotrin and
it will be a whopping bill.
While these few privileged workers tuck into
their "just desserts", the Industrial Court wants
us to take comfort in the fact that they deserve it.
The only problem is that the rest of us will have to
pick up the tab.
years, relatives said.
Children tell granny after mur-
der: WE CAN'T WAKE MUMMY!
Gardener in court for wounding
wife and son: A Barrackpore man
who allegedly breached a pro-
tection order and stabbed his es-
tranged wife and son was denied
bail when he appeared before a
Siparia magistrate yesterday.
Between 2016 and 2017, 57,000
applications for a restraining
order were made to the courts.
52 women were killed in 2017
alone. More will die this year.
Each story, remembered and
present, and those I haven't read
is a daub of grey on our lives.
I wanted to weep at the reduc-
tive Hallmark-type platitudinous
women's day greetings. As if we
are puppies who get a day.
I think now the quality of the
light that day in Maracas with
my friend---its beauty is derived
from the way we love, how safe
we feel, how we battle the dark.
I think of how much of what we
feel for our country is tied up with
food, kitchens, mothers, women's
bodies, as Carnival, as homecom-
ing, as warmth. I feel a catch in
my throat when I think of all the
women everywhere who, faced
with being objecti ied, marginal-
ized, brutalized, neglected, con-
tinue to nurture and dignify the
human race, remain in the light.
with overflowing pelau, and the
soca blasting into iron-grey cold
I felt warmth. Light. Safety.
I needed to remember that pho-
tograph. Because right after that
light-bathed morning, this coun-
try felt dark as hell. It's as if I had
allowed myself to be lulled into
nostalgia, light that drowned out
With the memory of the light of
the Savannah, of friendship, of a
Trinidad I long for in the dark, I
began my day.
Idon't feel special on In-
ternational Women's Day.
It's a reminder of vulner-
ability. Half the human
race given a sliver of a day.
A plea. Please, celebrate
us women, cherish us, mothers,
sisters, daughters, lovers, friends,
dignify us. We should not have to
beg for our lives.
That was the irst daub of grey
on my day of light.
On International Women's Day
while my awesome women friends
sent me celebratory texts, I was
throwing away old newspapers
unable to tear my eyes away from
'I begged my daughter to walk
away from abuse': The woman
identi ied as Arisa Vana David,
25, the mother of two girls---ages
seven and two---was in an abusive
relationship for the past seven
On a day so crisp
this week the
trees in the Sa-
like they were
touched up by
master painter, the light falling
with elongated slants, the shade
of branches dancing with the sun
on the street, I remembered the
photograph. It was March 2015 in
England, but felt like the winter
would never end.
My friends and I were huddled
in coats, around a table still damp
with the rain, waiting for the heat-
ing to come on, for the brandy to
kick in for warmth. Unexpectedly,
a friend pulled out an album.
Under a tender heading under-
lined twice it read "Trinidad,
Beneath, photographs of a
wide, empty, sun-bright beach;
two women on the beach in Ma-
With cold hands I touched it, the
blinding light, the sea ridiculously
blue spreading into the sky, the
crest of the wave bleached white.
Half submerged in the water two
women, kneeling, one nut brown
with black hair, the other blonde
holding their hands in supplica-
tion to showers of the sea, their
eyes half shut. You could hear the
laughter just looking at their faces.
One of the women was me. The
other, a friend I loved from the
minute I met her.
In an instant I felt what I hadn't
before, that photo made me un-
derstand so much about Trinidad-
ians abroad, why we adore Sam
Selvon who writes about West
Indians in London, why people
carry heavy suitcases back to New
York, illed with roti skins, pepper
sauce, mixed tapes, curtain mate-
rial from Charlotte street.
It made me understand why
Trinis in London come together
to party and how, with the heat-
ing up full blast, the kitchen warm
Executive Editor Lucio Mesquita
Head Current Affairs Unit Shelly Dass
Guardian on Sunday Editor Debra
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