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posted 10 Oct 2012, 19:11 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 10 Oct 2012, 19:17 ]



The government’s long-stated intention to privatise “health care provision” has gathered momentum with the publication by the North Central Regional Health Authority of notices inviting “expressions of interest” from “interested parties” to enter into public private partnership “to operate and manage” twenty four services provided by the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC). 
If this latest assault on the working people is allowed to take place the entire health care system of this country will be operated not on the basis of access to all but on the basis of profit maximisation. The PP friends and financiers must be rubbing their palms in glee as they contemplate yet another juicy fruit falling into their laps to be sucked dry at the expense of working people. 
The National Workers Union (NWU) as long ago as November 2011 alerted the public to the PP government’s intention. In a statement dated November 11 2012 the NWU pointed out that in his speech on Public Private Partnership at the Hyatt on Tuesday November 1st, 2011 Winston Dookeran, then Minister of Finance, spoke of privatising public utilities, ports, airports, health care provision and pensions. This was in addition to the already announced intention to privatise First Citizens Bank and HMB/TTMF. 
Privatisation is a policy directive hatched in the Article IV consultations with the IMF and guided by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. It is part and parcel of the ne0-liberal policy designed to weaken the power of the working class in favour of strengthening the capitalists. 
The government has floated the idea of privatising MTS, Trinmar, seeking a “strategic partner” for Petrotrin and the outsourcing of the sanitation functions of the municipal authorities. The NWU has also pointed out that WASA is going to be used as a guinea pig in the privatising of the public utilities and that PLIPDECO is on the chopping block. 

Privatisation places the provision of public goods into private hands; increases the gap in income between the haves and the scrunters; uses citizens’ money to subsidise the wealthy and increases foreign domination of the economy. 
Privatisation leads to widespread retrenchment; the increase in the costs of services; the entrenching of obscene working conditions; the weakening of the bargaining power of organised workers and facilitates the wholesale transfer of income from the pockets of working people to the purses of the capitalists. 
The National Workers Union warns the working people of T&T not to be distracted by the circus being staged by UNCOPNM as they stuff their bellies full with the fat of the land, while we struggle to keep our heads above water in the face of their attack on our standard of living and our quality of life. 

The NWU calls upon the workers of EWMSC, the trade union movement in particular and working people in general to resist this latest outrage being inflicted upon the country. 
The National Workers Union repeats its long-standing call to the Joint Trade Union Movement to organise an All Union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) to deal specifically with the privatisation thrust of the government with a view to stopping it dead in its tracks. 

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Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)