Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2014 Contents A18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 16, 2014
Poor governance and a list of woes,
including Government’s failure to deal
with the Petrotrin oil spill in south
Trinidad, are among the reasons for
the Joint Trade Union Movement’s
(JTUM) demonstration on May 23 in
This was the word from Ancel Roget,
president general of the Oilfields Work-
ers’ Trade Union (OWTU) during a
media conference at the Communica-
tion Workers Union Hall (CWU), Port-
of-Spain, on Wednesday.
“The situation at Petrotrin remains
unaddressed and remains the worst
major environmental disaster this coun-
try has ever experienced, yet the man-
agement is still in place in their cushy
jobs, yet still the Energy Minister is still
in his job, the other directors are still
in their jobs. All of those things speaks
to a level of arrogance and poor gov-
ernance. This could only happen in
T&T,” he said.
JTUM has dubbed the demonstration
the Mother of All Marches and themed
it “Time To Take a Stand For T&T”.
Calypsonian The Original De Fosto,
who had initially supported the People’s
Partnership Government but eventually
gave up his support, performed a new
song at the conference, entitled We
Didn’t Vote For That.
Roget claimed De Fosto was “vic-
timised” by the Government.
Without giving an idea of how many
people were expected to turn out, he
said the support for the march was
“So far we have had good responses
from the national community. We have
gone to San Fernando, Point Fortin,
Arima, Sangre Grande and Penal. The
campaign is not over as we are yet to
go to Tobago, Mayaro and Rio Claro,”
Apart from the NGOs, he said they
also met with the political leadership
of opposition parties.
“We met with the leadership of the
PNM, we met with the MSJ, we are to
meet with the ILP’s leadership. We will
meet with the leadership of any political
party or any interest group to gather
more support for this march,” he said.
He said the regional co-ordinator for
Green Peace International, Mike Singh,
would also be visiting the country.
“He would come into the country
days before the march to do some
investigation and look into matters
relating to the Tacarigua situation, the
Highway Re-route Movement and the
Petrotrin oil spill, all impacted by the
Government’s approach,” he added.
He also said two trade unions—the
Steel Workers Trade Union and the
OWTU—were at an international trade
union movement in Colombia, where
they received support for the demon-
“The problems we are experiencing
in T&T with the non-implementation
of the workers’ agenda and attack on
trade unions and other issues of poor
governance were reported at this forum.
With the exception of a few sellout
trade unionists, the Government cannot
claim it has the support of the trade
union movement,” he said.
Transparency Institute chairman
Deryck Murray is calling on members
of civil society to assist in the fight
He made the appeal during the open-
ing session of a two-day NGOs con-
ference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-
Spain, on Wednesday.
Murray, who was not listed to speak,
made a brief comment during the ques-
He said there should be more col-
laboration among NGOs and used the
opportunity to urge their involvement
in addressing the crime problem.
This as the police continue to inves-
tigate the May 4 killing of special state
prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC.
“At the end of the day, we belong to
a country that is slipping deeper and
deeper into the morass of crime and
corruption and I think it is very impor-
tant that we develop a kind of country
that we want,” he added.
CEO of the Energy Chamber Dr
Thackwray Driver told NGOs they
should “never ask a politician for a
favour, because they would charge
you for it. Demand things from politi-
He said NGOs should submit pro-
posals to the politicians “but don’t ask
them for favours... you may get it but
you will have to pay back more than
UN resident co-ordinator Richard
Blewitt said NGOs should lobby more
for what they wanted. He said civil
society played a significant role in the
country and must continue doing so.
Tears welled up in the eyes of
89-year-old Dolly Ramkissoon
on Wednesday when she formally
received a starter house from the
National Commission for Self-
Help Ltd (NCFSHL) after her
home was destroyed last year by
The woman, who could barely
walk on her own, said she never
expected to have a roof over her
head after flood waters washed
away her home at Delhi Road, Fyz-
abad, last year with all her belong-
“I coulda never expect this but
when the house fall down every-
body come and see it,” she said
while tears welled up in her eyes.
“The Government people and
they pity me and from then, I get
help from them. I cannot finish
thanking all of you, through God
blessings. I cannot do more than
that or say more than that.”
Ramkissoon was one of six peo-
ple to receive starter homes con-
structed by the commission as part
of its mandate to help the less for-
The woman, a pensioner with
eye problems and a heart condi-
tion, said while she was happy
with the home she needed a new
stove and mattresses, adding while
she was barely able to walk on her
own she wants to get back to the
position she was in before the
floods destroyed her home.
Ramkissoon said bad weather
knocked her wooden home off its
foundation and the flood waters
destroyed the remainder of her
possessions. She resided in the
home with three orphaned children
On Wednesday, commission
chairman Surujdeo Mangaroo told
reporters the Government had
mandated it to deliver 100 starter
homes every year to deserving cit-
izens and to date it had completed
“We have another 14 ongoing
and today (yesterday) we are dis-
tributing the houses in Fyzabad
and Oropouche East and West
“These starter houses were built
at the cost of $110,000 to $120,000
and as you can see it provides liv-
able accommodation for the recip-
ients, two bedrooms, flush toilet
and a kitchen,” he added.
Managroo, who was joined by
board members, including attorney
Petronilla Basdeo, said all the
starter houses were delivered on
time and within budget, adding
the cost of the 100 houses has
been pegged at $12 million.
Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma
was also on hand for the hand-
ing-over of the houses in his con-
stituency and welcomed their
The former minister declined to
comment on the police investiga-
tion into allegations he physically
assaulted his former girlfriend
Sasha Singh in the carpark at
Grand Bazaar earlier this year.
“I said I would not be speaking.
It is a police matter and I cannot
speak on it. It is the proper legal
thing to do,” Sharma told reporters.
delivered in South
Woman, 89, moved to tears
Civil society must
help in crime fight
Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma, left, and Self Help Commission
chairman Surujdeo Mangaroo greet Dolly Ramkissoon, of Delhi Road,
Fyzabad, after she was given the keys on Wednesday to one of the
commission’s starter homes. Looking on is Shagnille Bharat.
PHOTOS: RISHI RAGOONATH
The home built by the commission
which was presented to flood victim
Dolly Ramkissoon on Wednesday.
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