UNC Women: PNM Women’s League distracting from real issues

The UNC National Women’s Arm notes with displeasure and disappointment the desperate attempt by the PNM Women’s League to distract from the various issues currently plaguing our Country and are of utmost importance to be addressed by creating an outcry over the use of the word “Oreo” as a racist remark towards the Prime Minister .The PNM Women’s League have failed to acknowledge the rampant increase of domestic violence cases, women continue to go missing daily in this country and most importantly the upcoming shutdown of the Petrotrin Refinery which will have a ripple effect over this Nation as employees join the ever increasing breadline and due to this we are expected to see an increase in domestic violence cases, suicides and depression in our society.

The UNC National Women’s Arm will not allow these issues to be swept under the carpet since every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago will be affected and we call on the PNM Women’s League and the Government to redirect their focus on addressing the many questions surrounding the impending shutdown of the Petrotrin Refinery, the ongoing fiasco of the ferry service, the increase of crimes against women, the displacement of families that will be affected by the Curepe Interchange and the many

other real issues that are affecting the citizens!

The UNC continues to focus on the wellbeing of every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago as we await the Budget and we once more call on those in authority to place the people first and do not engage in distractions and deflections to conceal the incompetence of this PNM Government!!!

Marisa Vidya Ramlogan
Public Relations Officer
UNC National Women’s Arm

Message from Leader of the Opposition on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11….

I join the rest of the world in remembering the victims of the horrific terrorist attacks on United States of America which took place on Tuesday September 11, 2001, when a series of suicide attacks were perpetrated against the United States.

On that historic, tragic day, 19 operatives from the international militant terrorist group Al Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets bound for the US and engaged in coordinated strikes the areas of New York City and the country’s capital Washington, D.C., when they intentionally piloted two of the planes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Centre complex, both of which collapsed within two hours, and also voluntarily crashed two more planes into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

The result of this cowardly, despicable act against a free, independent great nation was the loss of nearly 3000 innocent lives, including the 246 civilians, and 19 hijackers on board the four planes. Fourteen of these victims were born in Trinidad and Tobago who mainly worked in the World Trade Centre at the time.

These Trinidadian-born victims and citizens of our twin island nation were Conrod Cottoy, Reena Sam Dinoo, Winston Grant, Joan Francis, Clara Hinds, Stephen Joseph, Paula Morales, Boyie Mohammed, Jerome Nedd, Oscar Nesbeit, Glenn Neblett, Anthony Portillo, Vishnoo Ramsaroop and Goumatie Thackurdee.

In extending my deepest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of all the victims of this dastardly attacks, I wish to pay a special honour to the memories of these fellow countrymen and women of Trinidad and Tobago, whose lives were stolen by these despicable acts of violence.

Indeed, their tragic deaths serve as a reminder every year to all of us who live in a Free State that the price of our cherished freedom, of our ideal governing system of democracy, can indeed be a steep one to pay.

These terrorist attacks on the United States were not only an attack on that great nation and its long held traditions of freedom, equality and justice for all, but also an attack on all democracies globally, whose rights to exist are often championed and enabled by the United States and their invaluable assistance to the global world ideal of freedom and equality for every human being.

The fact that these evil terrorist attacks failed to destroy the democratic foundation of the US and that of any other country, and in fact had the effect of strengthening the resolve among the Western World to champion the cherished ideals of democracy remains the unforgettable legacy of all the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Today, I honour their memories and say that as long as freedom continues to reign supreme in countries across the globe, their tragic deaths could and would never be in vain.

I also take this opportunity to extend my ongoing gratitude to the United States, such an important trade and political ally of Trinidad and Tobago, and our best friend and defender in the world, for being the nation that gives small democracies like Trinidad and Tobago the inspiration and hope to ensure that freedom of every human life and humanity for all must always be the order of the day.

May God bless the families of the victims and indeed, the United States and all nations which experienced or are experiencing any assault on its democratic systems with strength, hope and always, a will to prevail in dignity, decency and justice.

Indarsingh: Govt attempting to intimidate workers and fanning the flames of instability

The Hon. Rudranath Indarsingh
Member of Parliament, Couva South

Member of Parliament for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh is today condemning the pronouncements of Public Administration Minister Marlene McDonald that workers can be fined $500 and jailed for three months if they stay away from work on Friday.

McDonald’s threat have been echoed within recent weeks by several Ministers of the Keith Rowley Cabinet including Education Minister Anthony Garcia, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Energy Minister Franklyn Khan as they all continue to attempt to intimidate workers as it relates the upcoming Day of Rest and Reflection and the loss of 3,500 jobs with the closure of  Petrotrin.

Indarsingh contends that  their pronouncements are designed to intimidate workers into submission at a time when the Government policies have resulted in the loss of 40,000 jobs in the last 3 years and a further 3,500 with the closure of Petrotrin and many more in the fenceline communities.

MP Indarsingh contends that McDonald has no moral authority to point workers to theIndustrial Relations Act (I.R.A.) when the Government to which she belongs has undermined the principles of good industrial relations practices and labour laws since it came into office in September 2015.

The Constitution he contends, guarantees freedom of association and assembly and freedom of speech in relation to Government policies which has resulted in a literal collapse of the economy, rampant unemployment, increasing poverty, a spiralling out- of-control crime epidemic and the collapse of the education and health care systems.

Indarsingh reminded the Administration that workers still have the freedom and the right of choice to engage in a day of rest and reflection if they so desire to send a message to a Government which has been very anti-worker since coming into office.

Indarsingh accused the Government of fanning the flames of instability through its pronouncements at a time when it should be committed to social dialogue. He is further challenging McDonald to tell the country if the Government is laying the foundation where it will instruct law enforcement officers to raid the offices of trade unions, the homes of labour leaders and union members.

Indarsingh, former Minister of State in the Ministries of Labour and Finance, said that theRowley-led Administration seems to be heading  in the direction of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro style of Leadership. Prime Minister Rowley has been a frequent flyer to Venezuela where trade unionists, opposition politicians and citizens who engage in peaceful demonstration are subject to the heavy hand of the military and police.

Is it the objective of the Government to arrest and jail trade unionists, their members and citizens who opt to exercise their fundamental right to strike

The Couva South MP is further asking whether the Government will use the canister grenades, projectiles, water cannon, and mobile tracking units acquired from the $2.32B allocated to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in the 2017-2018 Budget to quell any type of industrial unrest in the country. This acquisition, according to former National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, was needed “to maintain public order.”

Indarsingh, a former President of one of the country’s largest Unions said that theRowley’s PNM appears to be so terrified of the power of the people that they are taking precautions to put down any kind of civil disorder that might be imminent because of the anti-people, oppressive measures that have characterised their three years in office.

The Opposition’s Labour and Enterprise Development Critic accused the Government of undermining the MoU it signed with the Labour Movement prior to the 2015 General Elections as well as the MoU signed in April 2018 between the Wilfred Espinet-led Petrotrin Board and the OWTU in relation to the appointment of union representatives to the Committee to restructure Petrotrin.

Indarsingh chided Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, herself a former Trade Union President, for her deafening silence and lack of any leadership whilst the labour movement in the country is in utter disarray and chaos, saying that it would appear this Minister is oblivious to her role and functions.

Indarsingh also reminded the trade union movement and the workers of the country that the former People’s Partnership Government vehemently opposed any type of oppression on the working class of the country during its tenure in office. He lamented that the much negotiated and advancements of gainful employment, productivity and personal development which workers achieved during former Administration’s tenure have all but disappeared as organized labour has lost ground as a result of unsympathetic and hostile Rowley’s Administration policies, contempt and lack of respect for the workers of the country.

UNC mourns the passing of Elliot Mannette

Image result for Elliot MannetteThe United National Congress joins the rest of the national community as we mourn the passing of Elliot “Ellie” Mannette, known by many as the father of the modern steel pan. Ellie was a truly great son of the soil and patriot who dedicated his life’s work to the advancement of our national instrument.

His work saw countless innovations which have proven to be essential for the evolution of the steel pan. His unique style and passion has given us the instrument we know and love today.

As we are on cusp of celebrating our 56th year of Independence, it is a time where we can reflect on our accomplishments and successes as a nation. But we can also take the time to honour people like Ellie, whose love for the steel pan and love country has ensured that which is uniquely ours finds its place on the world stage.

In expressing his condolences and condolences on behalf of the United National Congress Chairman Peter Kanhai, himself a member of the pan family, stated, “I feel a sense of pride every time I see the work of Ellie Mannette on display and in use. We can honour him by honouring our national instrument which he loved so much.”

We thank Ellie Mannette for his 75years of tireless service to country through his work with the steelpan. We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all who knew and loved him. Trinidad and Tobago indeed has lost a legend but his contributions and legacy will live on.

UNC: Keith Rowley’s Government is all flash and no substance

The Government took to the media today to defend the secrecy surrounding the Dragon gas deal, while still remaining committed to keeping the people of Trinidad and Tobago in the dark. Since its inception this Keith Rowley Government has approached transparency and accountability as an optional part of governance. There was a significant amount of public relations glitz and glamour surrounding Dr Rowley’s trip Venezuela, only for Minister Khan to admit today that only a term sheet was signed and a Government agreement committing to implementation. Therefore, there was no contractual agreement signed?

Trinidad and Tobago will not stand idly by while the Government attempts to take a propaganda approach to our issues. This deal has immense local and international ramifications, and we are putting a great deal of experience and expertise behind it, so we must be given the details to ensure that this good deal for Trinidad and Tobago They must come clean and tell us how does the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago stand to benefit from yesterday’s display.

Rather than call a press conference to chastise the media for headlines that they do not like, the Government should forthcoming with the information about their deals. Instead of addressing the fears around Petrotrin the Minister instead promised us an address to the nation next week Sunday, continuing their modus operandi of all flash and no substance.

Trinidad and Tobago deserves better governance. We deserve accountability and transparency in how our affairs are managed. Since September 2015, we have seen a decline in our standard of living, as result of poor decision making by this Keith Rowley administration. We cannot trust that their actions now will bear fruit for all of our people.