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posted 15 Oct 2012, 11:40 by Gerry Kangalee
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) renews it call for the Prime Minister to fire Minister of National Security, Jack Warner, from the Cabinet. The sectors in the National community who have already made this call continue to be vindicated by the contempt that the Minister has shown for the rule of law and the people of Trinidad and Tobago, in his most recent statements. We simply cannot allow this flagrant demonstration of fascism to continue unabated. FITUN will not accept the pronouncements by the Minister to put a gag order on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) nor the use of his office to attack political opponents.

Furthermore FITUN is calling on all citizens from all sectors to be on the highest alert. Trinidad and Tobago is now on a path which if not abandoned in the shortest possible time will see us, in the year of our Jubilee Anniversary, relinquish every gain and every stride which we have made in the pursuit of a participatory and democratic society. Now is not the time to pursue narrow sector interests. It is FITUN’s view that now is time to put our country back on the right track. The Minister of National Security has drawn a line in the sand. FITUN, as it always has been, is prepared to stand on the side which is in the interest of the population of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Federation unreservedly condemns the attempt yet again by the Minister of National Security to give instruction to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). This is a clear violation of his powers and a demonstration of contempt for the autonomy of the TTPS. It will be even more ominous if, as in the case of the Army’s demolition of the Highway re route camp in June of this year, these instructions are followed. Given the new powers afforded to state to engage in surveillance of citizens, who is to say that Minister Warner will not use this influence to instruct the Commissioner of Police and or the Chief of Defence Staff or the head of the SSA to intercept communications of persons deemed to be political opponents. The use of the state mechanisms in this way must be a concern for every citizen in Trinidad and Tobago.

We must remind the National community that FITUN holds no brief for the People’s National Movement (PNM), in fact, the member units of the Federation played a central role in the unseating of the last PNM administration. This view has been articulated by several members of the PNM including Mr. Manning himself. However this will not stop FITUN from objecting to any abuse of power even if that abuse is directed at the PNM. To paraphrase Pastor Martin-Niemöller we will not stand idly by when they come for the PNM on the basis that we are not PNM! It was in part the inaction of sectors that did not see themselves as directly affected which facilitated the Nazi rise to power in Germany. We must all find our voices and speak out.

The Minister has drawn a line in the sand and if the Prime Minister continues to ignore the glaring signs that Minister Warner is unfit for his current post then it stands to reason that the population can only assume that the Prime Minister and the rest of the Cabinet stand firm with Minister Warner and his disregard for the rule of law and his surreptitious intentions. This is a slippery slope and an attack on our democracy which is not to be ignored.

FITUN will hold discussions internally within two weeks to lay out a plan of action which is necessary in defense of the democracy of Trinidad and Tobago. If at that time the Prime Minister has still not found it prudent to act in the interest of the people then FITUN will join with all those in society who are prepared to defend the freedom of the press, the autonomy of our armed forces, the right to freedom of association, among others, as outlined in the constitution and the democracy of our beloved Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Joseph Remy