Where we stand‎ > ‎Media Releases‎ > ‎


posted 21 Apr 2016, 18:50 by Gerry Kangalee

On April 20th 2016, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) issued the following statement.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) calls on the head of the Economic Advisory Board, Dr. Terrence Farrell to immediately apologise to the Trade Union Movement in Trinidad and Tobago, in particular, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non Governmental Organisations, FITUN, for his disrespectful statement which was reported in the electronic media, wherein he accused the Trade Unions of being all about ‘Gimme Me Gimme Me" and are mainly responsible for the Economic Morass that the Country finds itself in today.

Dr. Farrell made these statements while addressing a function hosted by the Rotary Club, wherein he also alluded to the economic challenges that the country is currently facing. What was so disingenuous about Dr. Farrell’s statement was that in the same speech, he alluded to the global trend where Saudi Arabia has dictated the price of Oil through their huge stock of reserves and are manipulating the market to ensure that they come out of this world oil price slump in a better position to service their citizens.

What the goodly doctor failed to state was the fact that he along with a slew of local Academia has bastardized the word "Diversification" for decades. They have been the ones who have given economic advice to successive Governments and have not for once admonished them for failing to diversify our economy. They went along and enjoyed the spoils with their healthy and opulent compensation packages while workers had to struggle to keep up with the escalating cost of living.

Dr. Farrell also took a stab at the CEPEP and URP Workers, but he did not state that it was successive Governments who used the same CEPEP and URP workers to buttress their support for electioneering purposes, using the less privileged in society towards their political end. Now that the economy is in crisis, Dr. Farrell looks to heap blame on the CEPEP and URP workers along with the Trade Unions.

FITUN condemns outright, this position adopted by Dr. Farrell, who, as the head of a Body that is supposed to be giving good economic advice to the Government, should seek to posit innovative strategies, commensurate with his renowned academic accolades, to take our country out of this economic morass that was created by successive Governments and their myriad of economic advisors who all claim to be economic experts and advisors.

The Trade Union Movement was not responsible for mismanaging the economy for decades; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for the failed World Gas to Liquid Plant; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for the abject neglect of the Agriculture Sector that has now seen us racking Billions of Dollars to support a Food Import Bill; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for the Foreign Exchange crisis that we are now facing; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for spending Billions of our Taxpayers Dollars on the now stalled Point Fortin Highway Project; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for the Beetham Waste Water Project which cost Billions of Taxpayers’ Dollars and was riddled with corruption; the Trade Union Movement was not responsible for the Calder Han Fiasco that cost the country Billions of Taxpayers’ dollars.

We can go on and on with acts of malfeasance committed by successive Governments aided and abetted by those in academia who proffered their illustrious economic models and policies, all which have now resulted in the Country being in this sorry economic state.

In these circumstances, FITUN, as part of the Governments Tripartite Advisory Council, feels disrespected by the statement from the eminent Doctor, and calls on him to apologise to the Trade Union Movement and the CEPEP and URP workers. As a head of a critical body that is supposed to embrace the spirit of tripartism at this critical juncture, Dr. Farrell’s statement would only serve to anger the Trade Union Movement and place roadblocks to the efforts of tripartism. We wonder if his statement and the Government’s lethargic approach toward this process and synonymous of their ultimate intent.