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posted 14 Oct 2011, 07:19 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 14 Oct 2011, 07:22 ]
The President of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union, Comrade Vincent Cabrera issued the following media release on October 13, 2011:
The Banking Insurance and General Workers Union is appalled and disgusted but not in any way surprised, by yesterday’s statement made by Minister Bhoe Tewari in his capacity as Minister of the Economy, while addressing the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association.
Minister Tewari bemoaned the level of State ownership of the economy and protested that “for forty years the State had dominated the economy”. He then complemented that view by saying that “labour has been behaving badly”

We condemn this attack on the labour movement and this frontal attack on State ownership. At a time when the private sector has presided over so many banking failures and at a time when the State has had to come to the rescue of many private sector organizations including CLICO by bailing out such institutions with the use of public funds, Minister’s Tewari statement can only be described as pretentious, vacuous, sterile, unrealistic, backward, self serving and totally conservative.

Clearly, Mr Tewari is “totally disrespectful, ‘farse’ and out of place” by holding up the trade union movement to public ridicule; his arrogance has now surpassed any similar behavioural displays by this batch of recently elected office holders. It is not for Minister Tewari to advise trade unions on their behavioural patterns and it is clear that the Minister of the Economy has now adopted a personal agenda against the trade union movement.

Minister Tewari is unnecessarily complicating the government’s relationship with the trade union movement and seems to have forgotten that the General Election manifesto of the Peoples Partnership grouping, recognized trade unions as legitimate stakeholders and committed the new government to placing labour at the centre of national development.
The central issue here, is who owns and controls economic power in Trinidad and Tobago. BIGWU is satisfied that there is adequate economic space for the private sector and that private sector development and entrepreneurship must be encouraged; however the peoples’ sector must be protected and allowed to flourish.

BIGWU is opposed to Minister’s Tewari attempt to begin the imposition of a new economic model in this country. At no time in the Election campaign of the People’s Partnership was anything said about the destruction of the State sector in Trinidad and Tobago; so the Minister’s statement can be accurately characterized as the same type of guile and deception which has emanated from other spoke-persons of the new government.

The declaration of the State of Emergency; the denial of permission for trade unions and political parties to hold public meetings; and now this opening of the proverbial Pandora box of the sale of State Enterprises; represent a dull and uncreative mosaic of a sickening process of neo-liberalism. Tewari’s true intention is to begin the dismantling of the State sector. He sees the trade unions as an obstacle in his way; but he will fail in his obvious attempt to force the trade union movement into a permanent state of silence. 

Vincent Cabrera