Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents A5
Thursday, July 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Immigration staff has been asked to put
in extra hours to deal with the backlog of
cases which resulted from the shutdown
of the San Fernando and Port-of-Spain
immigration offices, says Watson Duke,
president of the Public Service Association
He was speaking yesterday after a Pension
Fund Plan presentation ceremony, hosted
by the HDC, at the Hyatt Regency, Port-
It included members from the Housing
Development Corporation (HDC), PSA and
National Union for Government and Fed-
erated Workers (NUGFW).
Duke added: "I have met with the workers
today and I have asked them to commit to
some hours of work so we will ensure that
those persons who have to travel because
of emergency and, perhaps, leisure would
have some level of satisfaction and comfort
in so doing."
Dr Roodal Moonilal, Minister of Housing
and Urban Development, said the Govern-
ment and PSA had come to a resolution
although it had taken some time.
He said: "We are happy that the matters
have been resolved. We have spoken to Mr
Duke so he will speak to his workers to try
to see if we can get some extra hours in to
deal with the backlog that presented itself."
Saying operations were back to normal
at the passport offices, Duke said: "It was
never about shutting down a country or
mashing up a country to prove power. It
was always about to get the attention of
those in office and those who are responsible
for improving our conditions of service and
Asked if he thought the PSA acted irre-
sponsibly in shutting down the passport
offices, Duke said: "We did not. When you
are trying to get the attention of someone
you will use different intensities of your
Asked to comment on the case where a
sick person was unable to travel abroad for
treatment due to the shutdown, he said:
"Well, there are persons who are dying
right now in the immigration office. I could
tell you that. They are sick."
Asked what the people were dying from,
he said: "I don t want to give you that here.
Should I give you that here? Be reasonable...
certainly there are persons who are sick
because of the building."
Moonilal said the Government would
continue to work with all stakeholders to
ensure there was no further inconvenience
to the public and proper health and safety
conditions were provided for all public ser-
Last Friday workers at the San Fernando
and Port-of-Spain immigration offices
walked off the job leaving several citizens
stranded without passports. Duke reportedly
said both offices had electrical problems
and were unsafe for workers.
In a release on Tuesday, National Security
Minister Gary Griffith described the action
by the PSA as "unjust, inhumane and illegal."
He described the action as reckless and
called on the PSA to adopt responsible, rea-
sonable and legal industrial relations prac-
The industrial action was part of a series
of protests against poor health and safety
working conditions in the public service,
including the Immigration Division.
Duke had threatened to shutdown all
passport offices unless the Government
intervened. See Page A12
Duke on passport backlog:
Workers will now
work extra hours
JENSEN LA VENDE
Police say they have inten-
sified their patrols in Laven-
tille following the murder of
Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas at
Beverly Hills on Sunday night.
However, the statement yes-
terday by police public infor-
mation officer Inspector Wayne
Mystar contradicts that of res-
idents who say it is not police
but soldiers who are patrolling.
Asked about the patrols by
the Defence Force during yes-
terday s weekly police press
briefing, Mystar said:
"There has not been an
intensification. That is not a
correct statement. The Police
Service and Defence Force are
working together in our joint
"They go under the 24/7
patrols and they go under the
Inter-Agency Task Force and
we continue to collaborate with
the Defence Force."
When the T&T Guardian
visited Beverly Hills and adjoin-
ing Laventille communities
yesterday, there was constant
patrolling by regiment officers,
without the assistance of police.
Some were seen in vehicle
3TTR153 patrolling St Paul
Street, Clifton Street, Clifton
Lane, Rodney Street and Bev-
Others were on the top floor
of the Spree Simon Flats with
Residents complained on
Monday they had been beaten
by masked men wearing army
camouflage at nights, with no
"What we did is that we
intensified the operation and
it would last as long as it takes
to deal with that situation and
it may intensify more," Mystar
He added the intensity had
nothing to do with Thomas
killing but was part of a con-
tinued effort to make the areas
safe and secure as all homicides
were treated with urgency and
Around 11.30 pm on Sunday,
Thomas was driving along Plai-
sance Quarry Road, John John,
when a group of men stepped
in front of his Mazda 323 and
Thomas, who was heading
to the Beverly Hills home of
his mother, ran off the road
and crashed. He died at the
scene. Police found 30 spent
after killing of corporal:
It's not police
A resident of Beverly Hills, Laventille, walks past a soldier on patrol
in John John yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Stranded passengers of Caribbean Airlines
are calling for reimbursement of ticket fares.
Those calls were made after CAL cancelled
all flights to Tobago following sickout action
on Tuesday by 24 of its pilots.
Speaking with T&T Guardian yesterday,
Tobagonian teacher, Deryck Wright, said he
and his team from the Speyside High School
were forced to take the Tobago ferry s 5 pm
He said: "After our flight was cancelled we
had to head immediately to the ferry s terminal
in Port-of-Spain to catch the 5 pm sailing out
"It is an unfortunate situation but at least
we are glad to be back home in Tobago. We
intend to contact the airline to enquire about
reimbursements because if flights were cancelled
the company ought to reimburse ticket fares."
The T&T Guardian was told some flights
were back to normal as pilots resumed duties.
However, CAL advised passengers to check
their online Web site before they made their
way to the airport.
In a statement late yesterday the airline
assured passengers that all disruptions from
the unprecedented pilot shortage of Tuesday
have been addressed.
CAL said the domestic air-bridge operated
at full capacity for the full day and international
flights operated to schedule with minor delays
in some cases as a result of the disruptions the
CEO Michael DiLollo said: "We are again
fully operational. I must extend sincere gratitude
to our customers for their patience and under-
standing during the disruption of the past day
and for their continued loyalty."
He praised his employees for their role in
the successful management of the affected pas-
sengers and for the speed at which the recovery
operations were actioned.
"Our committed employees have conducted
themselves to the highest levels of customer
service," he said.
Members of the T&T Pilot s Association
(TTALPA) again met with company officials
TTALPA s industrial relations consultant,
Gerard Pinard, said a release would be issued
later today as to what transpired in that meet-
"I am not at liberty to say what went on in
the meeting because I await the council to
come together to discuss the outcome of that
meeting. When that happens a release will be
issued," Pinard said.
In the Senate yesterday PNM Senator Faris
Al-Rawi called on the Government to deal with
He said: "I am concerned about the citizens
of this country losing their hard-earned money
because of cancellations. I hope this unlawful
industrial action is dealt with. Pilots are sab-
otaging this country."
Al-Rawi raised concerns over Pinard s encour-
agement to the pilots to take industrial action.
He said: "I am very concerned to see a gen-
tleman by the name of Gerard Pinard. He is
the person associated with the unlawful indus-
trial action in a strike at the airport. Very sur-
prised to know that he is the same man sitting
at the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) for
over 20 years."
want back $$
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