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posted 12 Mar 2014, 18:53 by Gerry Kangalee

The following statement was issued by the Joint Trade Union Movement on March 12th 2014.

The JTUM met last night in a lengthy session primarily to discuss the current state of our country. We examined the various social, political and economic issues, which issues are having a most direct and adverse impact on the vast majority of our citizens. These issues have already done and continue to do considerable damage to our country’s image. In our discussions we have identified among the many manifestations of problems of one kind or another, that these causes are really rooted in the crisis in governance, the unprecedented level of corruption, the wonton disregard for democratic institutions, the complete lack of accountability to the population and high level of arrogance in public office.

Today we are experiencing the highest levels of corruption and nepotism at all our state boards which have become a law unto themselves with no accountability to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. While on the one hand we witness the political victimization with the ruthless firing of persons who are perceived to be opposed to the government on the other hand we see corrupt appointments which are done solely on the basis of party loyalty, with a total disregard for relevant experience, competence and qualification. 

This government has shamelessly departed from all protocols, accepted norms, best practices and conventions and procedures and has descended into an ‘anything goes’ mentality much to the embarrassment of Trinidad and Tobago.

The country is now being run by a small group of ‘cabalist’ who are amassing huge wealth by corrupt means at the expense of the majority of citizens. When this small group gains through corrupt means they deny us proper roads, modern health care facilities, basic school infrastructure, decent jobs, and so many other amenities to improve the quality of life and standard of living of the vast majority of our citizens.

We definitely cannot go on this way, we cannot simply sit idly by and allow this small group to use their political office and close political connections to steal our country’s resources.  

Unfortunately in the midst of all this chaos, the view of some is that salvation will come when general elections are called next year 2015 and the People’s Partnership is finally voted out of office. That view harbours the concept that we do nothing and just bide the time. The JTUM vehemently disagrees with this approach because the harsh reality is that by next year the country will be an empty shell and any party going into government will inherit not only an empty treasury but will find that our future and the destiny of our children are committed to and mortgaged, way into the future. In other words the decision and stands we take today will determine the quality of life of our people tomorrow.  Our forefathers did not sit idly by. They took action yesterday for us to benefit; Today it is now up to us to take action for a better Trinidad and Tobago. 

The JTUM has decided that on the basis of the current state of our country and on the basis of our responsibility as a labour movement we have decided to call halt to the current chaotic situation. In this regard we wish to announce a massive demonstration in our nation’s capital, Port of Spain, dubbed “It’s time to take a stand for Trinidad and Tobago” to be held on the 23rd May, one day before the 4th anniversary of the People’s Partnership government in office. We are calling on all citizens, NGOs, political parties, community groups, farmers’ organizations and fisherfolk, youth and student organizations, the business community, our professionals and intellects and religious groups.
We must all take a stand, it is time to end the talk and start the walk. We cannot allow the haemorrhage to continue, we cannot allow the corruption to continue, we cannot allow the nepotism to continue, Next year 2015 will be too late Let us bring an immediate halt to bad governance. At this point to do nothing is not an option, as citizens if we did nothing we will only have ourselves to blame. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet must be held accountable. We must stop these ‘cabalist’, this small elite privileged group who has taken over our country.