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DEMOCRACY IS NOT A GIFT FROM ANY POLITICAL PARTY

posted 6 Jul 2013, 16:08 by Gerry Kangalee
Joseph Remy, President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGO's (FITUN), issued the following statement on July 5th 2013

FITUN wishes to extend greetings to the visiting heads of state for the 34th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference as we commemorate the 40" anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. It is important that these talks bear fruit and clear action items to move the important process of regional integration closer to realizing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Indeed as the world's leading economies continue to be in delicate flux our region remains extremely vulnerable and it is only a collective response which will protect all of us.

We note the Prime Minister’s statement that the march organised by the Joint Trade Union Movement is intended to embarrass the country as we host the regional leaders. FITUN must make it absolutely clear that it is the PM herself who has embarrassed us the people of Trinidad and Tobago in the eyes of the region and we must march to send a message to the regional leaders and to our brothers and sisters in the region that the attitude of this administration has its genesis in the narrow mindedness of the leaders of the party which the PM leads and is in no way an expressed view of our citizens.

Let us be reminded of the PM’s statement that Trinidad and Tobago is not an ATM card or the conditional offer of assistance to our neighbours who were badly affected by hurricane Tomas. Not to mention the poorly managed merger of Air Jamaica and Caribbean airlines or the PMs refusal to attend the First Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held on January 27th and 28th this year and the First Summit between the Heads of State and Government of CELAC and the Heads of State and Government of the European Union which was held two days before on January 26th and 27"‘. No Madam Prime Minister it is you who has embarrassed us because of continuous poor judgment and deficit leadership.

We also note the comments from the Minister of Legal Affairs and Political Leader of the Congress of the People, Prakash Ramadhar that the Joint Trade Union Movement is on a mission to destabilize the country. It is ironic and also hypocritical for Mr. Ramadhar to take this position now, when he was neck and neck with the same Trade Union Movement when we were taking the same stance against Mr. Patrick Manning and his uncaring PNM Government.

We recall Mr. Ramadhar even marching around the Red House with the Labour Movement and even pushed himself to be part of the Legal defense team for Comrade Abdullah when he was arrested by the Police. He was well aware of the Labour Movement’s position with respect to Good Governance and eradicating corruption, cronyism and nepotism. Now that Prakash has tasted the corrupt food served from the People’s Partnership Trough, he has lost all sense of morality and integrity. He now supports in a bold and unashamedly manner the same things that he marched against prior to May 2010.

We must also state that FITUN is unfazed by the hypocrisy of some quarters and more so by those who support the administration blindly. The records are there for all to peruse that FITUN has always been consistent in defence of the rights of citizens against rogue Governments. If the People’s Partnership treats with the population in the same manner as PNM’s Manning did in his last tenure then they can expect no special treatment from us. The issue of good governance remains unresolved and the people’s call for an accountable Government is still elusive.

Democracy is not a gift from any political party nor is participation in governance a favour to offer to the electorate. We are learning more that it is our role to demand accountability in public life and to apply pressure when those who we have put to govern go astray. Our institutions of Democracy will be as strong as we want them to be. It is those who hold public office that must fear us the people not the other way around; they must work for us not the other way around. FITUN will be at the march in our numbers. We call on all citizens to be there with us. We must remind them on Friday 5" July that the power of the people is greater than the people in power.

A word to the wise is sufficient.
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