Ten thousand permanent, temporary and contracted Petrotrin workers lost their jobs due to the failures of Keith Rowley on one side and the Ancel Roget, David Abdullah tandem on the other side. These men need to acknowledge that they presided over this mess, take responsibility and cease looking for a scapegoat to save face.
Any disposal of public property to private sector entities must be done with full transparency. Ancel Roget, David Abdullah and the OWTU must understand that they are now private businessmen.
We are not against the OWTU and workers and indeed wish them well, but we call for transparency, full disclosure and accountability on this refinery deal. The fact is that Patriotic Energies is a private company. It is not owned by the public and therefore this transaction is one whereby a multibillion-dollar state asset is being sold to a private company.
Had this transaction been between an entity associated with the UNC and the government or an entity deemed owned by the so called 1% and the government, both men, as well as the OWTU, would be protesting for transparency and accountability.
Everyone must be held to the same standard!
Roget and Abdullah gave no ultimatum to Rowley when the PNM closed down the refinery and brought misery to over 10,000 workers and their families.
They gave no ultimatum when TSTT, Arcelor Mittal and UTT workers lost their jobs.
They gave no ultimatum when over 63000 workers lost their jobs over the last four years.
It was Roget and Abdullah who campaigned for and encouraged their own members to support the Rowley regime who then proceeded to fire them all without a peep from both men. Let’s be real; no amount of pappy show will change that fact.
Hiding behind threats and allegations against the UNC may seem from their perspective, to be an effective way of deflecting attention from the questions their own union members have concerning their loss of jobs. It may seem an effective tactic to avoid telling their own members why no strong action was taken to prevent their retrenchment.
They have never explained their failure to protect the Petrotrin workers, some of whom committed suicide, lost their homes and their families. They should explain to the workers why decisions taken under their direction have consistently led to detrimental consequences for workers under their purview. One can recall the infamous “take your rig and go” statement which also led to retrenchment.
Every individual is responsible for his/her own actions including me. The UNC and I support any transparent and accountable transaction which will give workers ownership rights during the divestment of state assets including any transaction by OWTU members. However, don’t be mistaken, the UNC and I will not be blackmailed by anyone to remain silent on issues of public interest in order to gain support for any election. We are about plans and policies to get our country working again.
As I said in my budget statement “A new UNC government will work with stakeholders to swiftly resolve all outstanding issues regarding former Petrotrin workers.” I intend to keep my word.