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The Union frequently comments on events or receives news of general interest and these are documented on this page.

NWU WINS $2.4 M FOR OFF THE STREET WORKERS

posted 15 Dec 2014, 20:37 by Gerry Kangalee

In its last twenty one settlements the National Workers Union (NWU) has been able to extract from employers $2.4 million as compensation for workers who have, in the main, been dismissed (summarily or constructively)or made redundant not in accordance with proper industrial relations principles and practices. 

These settlements refer to what is called in industrial relations circles “off the street” matters, meaning that these workers were not organised into bargaining units and were not members of a union before their employers subjected them to unconscionable and exploitative disciplinary measures. Some of the settlements were arrived at bilaterally and others were arrived at before a third party (Ministry of Labour or Industrial Court)

The law dictates that a worker has to have his matter handled by a union if it is to be heard before a third party. The National Workers Union, realising that the vast majority of working people is not organised into unions, has made it its business to ensure that these super-exploited workers at least have some hope of gaining reparations for harsh and oppressive action taken against them, although it involves a lot of work to prepare and advocate hundreds of individual matters.

Of course, even if these workers do get some monetary compensation this in no way can make up for the loss of a steady income and these matters are not settled expeditiously, but do take some time to be concluded. In the meantime, unemployed workers face the horror of having to mind themselves and their families; the horror of ketching their nennen to pay rents or mortgages; to put food on the table; to ensure their children’s education is not disrupted; to keep their family lives from falling apart.

Unorganised workers are at a total disadvantage in their relationship with their employers. In order to tip the scales a bit more in their favour, workers must organise themselves as a collective and join a union where they will deal with the boss not as cowed and intimidated individuals, but as a collective with the strength of organisation and resources that unions bring to the table. Unorganised workers must join a union now!

I Can’t Breathe by Godfrey Cymande Vincent

posted 10 Dec 2014, 06:30 by Gerry Kangalee

I Can’t Breathe


“I can’t breathe” 
 
‘cause the atmosphere is polluted with the stench of bullet riddled bodies on the roadside,
crying out for justice,
crying out for justice and liberty for all;
a promise the Founders say is for all; the Charter say is for all.  

Yet, some deny that sweet freedom:
saying we are children of Ham;
a twist to a lie which has become truth that is packaged and sold
perpetuating the continual selling of souls. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause we thought we had a dream,
a dream that say “be,”
a dream that say “achieve,” 
a dream that say no limits,
a dream that say no boundaries,
a dream that say no more chains.

But the dream is nothing but a nightmare:
filled with deadly chokeholds that rob people of the freedom 
to breathe the air the Great I AM created. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause when we cry freedom the forces think rebellion 
and send their fortified armies in the streets to deny the freedom they say we have.  
The freedom Jefferson say we have.
The freedom Lincoln say we have. 
We want that freedom not just Madison Avenue freedom
but real freedom to dream, to create, to build, to vision all possibilities. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause every time we say “I too am a Man” others say we are: 
sub-humans, demons, monsters, lazy vagabonds, 
menace to society, shiftless, unproductive, uneducated, slaves for life.  
But they don’t know or care to know that we are: 
the “Real McCoy,” the jazz, the blues, the body and soul, the renaissance,
the fire from Azusa Street and the first martyr in the American Revolution. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause when we try to breathe freedom we are assassinated, jailed, exiled, silenced
‘cause we dare link the dreams of the black man and the barefoot man
from Selma to Soweto,
from Montgomery to Mumbai,
from Ferguson to Fyzabad,
from Concord to the Congo,
from Huntsville to Hanoi,
from Brooklyn to Beirut,
from Staten Island to Sao Paulo.
We know and they know that all of us “can’t breathe”
‘cause of the hands of the International Monster Phantom that is crushing our dreams. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause we have no jobs,
jobs that have been outsourced, that have chained cities,
that have bankrupted cities,
that have mortgaged cities
to a street walled with corporate vultures
that has brought blight and killed hopes and dreams,
that has reduced us to hustling loosey,
that has us working for joints and superstores
that supersize their profits and undersize our pay.  

“I can’t breathe!”
“I can’t breathe!”


The poet has noted that “last words matter.”
Yes, the griot has penned “last words matter”
‘cause history has recorded this day
when the last words “I can’t breathe” thundered in the heavens and vibrated all around the earth.
It has put all of us on notice that we need to make history. 

© Godfrey Cymande Vincent
© Produced by Godfrey Cymande Vincent for Red Hand Entertainment 2014.

BIGWU BLANKS INDUSTRIAL COURT JUDGE PENDING INVESTIGATION

posted 5 Dec 2014, 19:20 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 5 Dec 2014, 19:20 ]

Don Devenish, First Vice President of the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) has informed the

Industrial Court Judge, Brian Dabideen
president of the Industrial Court, Justice Deborah Thomas-Felix, that BIGWU will not, pending an investigation into the conduct of Industrial Court Judge, Justice Brian Dabideen, “subject our union and its officers to the direction of HH Mr. Dabideen in any matter before the Court.”

The Union’s position was transmitted to Mrs. Thomas-Felix in a letter dated December 4th 2014 and copied, among others, to all trade unions. The letter stated:

"(i) At a Case Management Conference (CMC) on December 01, 2014 before His Honour Mr. B. Dabideen in the matter of IRO No. 14 of 2014, a disagreement of views arose between myself as the Union’s representative and HH Mr. Dabideen.

(ii) ln the ensuing dialogue HH Mr. Dabideen stated that "Trade Unions in this country are obstructionist" and to which l took offence and walked out of the Court.

(iii) This exchange took place in the presence of the Bank’s representative, Ms. Ora Agarrat and the Court's clerk.

(iv) On November 26, 2014 in the matter of GSD-TD No. 370 of 2011 in which Mr. Dabideen was Chairman of the Coram comprising HH Mr. Gregory Rousseau and HH Mr. Robert Linton, our Labour Relations Officer Ms. Dionyse Fernandes appearing on behalf of the Union complained of a hostile and condescending attitude towards her by HH Mr. Dabideen.

(v) Consequent upon these behaviours by HH Mr. Dabideen, and particularly his profoundly disturbing and prejudicial comment about Trade Unions as being obstructionist, our Union advises of our complete loss of confidence in the judicial competence of HH Mr. Dabideen to be impartial in matters before him.

ln the Circumstances and pending an investigation into our complaint we regrettably inform of the decision not to subject our union and its officers to the direction of HH Mr. Dabideen in any matter before the Court.

We also take the opportunity to so inform HH Mr. Dabideen, the Registrar and our sister and brother units of the Trade Union Movement by copy of this item of correspondence and look forward to your early response to same."

Many trade union practitioners in the Industrial Court have expressed consternation, over time, at the attitude of Mr. Dabideen, but this is the first time that a formal call for an investigation into his conduct has been made by a trade union.

ROOTS OF THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION by Jesus Rojas

posted 1 Dec 2014, 05:36 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Dec 2014, 05:42 ]


Jesus Rojas, a citizen and resident of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has been an English teacher for over 10 years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador- Instituto Pedagógico de Barquisimeto. (UPEL-IPB).

. His teaching experience has been in the rural area. Jesus describes his approach to teaching as eclectic. “I believe all of my students come to me with their own unique set of knowledge, skills, and talent. My goal as a teacher is to meet them where they are and help them be successful as they define it.” He has also been involved in teacher training

His bi-cultural background and focus on community work in conformity with the communal councils that exist in his community. As a social worker he wants to use his professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most of their own abilities and empower them to be the best they can be.

He wants to assist people in solving their own problems as well as empowering them to develop skills so that they can do so themselves.
In the last 15 years, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been sending shockwaves throughout the political landscape of Latin America and beyond. The bold and independent stance taken by the country’s late President, Hugo Chavez, and now Nicolas Maduro Moro have shown for the first time in 500 years that the people of the region have the power, and the right, to determine their own destinies. In forging a novel political project that puts the needs of people first.

It was not until after 1958, that it became perfectly clear that formal representative democracy would not solve the problems of capitalism and imperialism that plagued Venezuelan history, and moreover that this form of democracy soon became a barrier to the expression of popular demands from below.

The ‘Bolivarian revolution’ has begun to attract new adherents to a defiant and dignified mode of social and international transformation, articulated through the regional organizations such as: ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas). CELAC, (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), UNASUR (Unión of South American Nations).

Now we see how the principles of socialism in the 21st century are changing ordinary people’s lives for the better, giving a boost to communal organizations, since communal organizations and communes are "a socialist space as local entity’, defined for the integration of neighbour communities that share historic memories, cultural features, customs, recognized in the territory they occupy and productive activities used as sustenance and upon which they exercise principles of sovereignty and leading participation as expression of People's Power.

These organizational means aim at building people's self-government, defined by a "people's capacity to take charge of their destiny, a progress in the socialist society that we'd like to build." It's built on the basis of concrete needs of communities:

With the oil rush of the 1930s, Caracas soon became a hub of social and economic activity, which drew in hundreds of thousands of people from across the surrounding areas looking for work as their traditional modes of living (primarily agricultural) began to disintegrate in the face of a booming oil industry.

When the Acción Democrática (AD) party came to power through a coup against the dictator, Marcos Pérez Jiménez, it aligned the country with the US and followed a politics of repression toward the left. The bourgeois parties excluded them from decision-making. 

The result was a guerrilla war from 1962 to 1973, inspired by the Cuban revolution. Many of those who participated in the overthrow of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 found themselves in the mountains, beginning a guerrilla war against the so-called "democracy." The years following the decline of the guerrilla struggle, and especially the 1970s, marked a period of experimentation, both theoretically and organisationally.

A multiplicity of armed groups persisted, oscillating between the hit-and-run tactics of urban guerrillas and the establishment of mass fronts that operated in semi-clandestinity as a way of connecting to the masses in the urban barrios. Many began to question the party-form and vanguardism more generally; some re-evaluated the classical tenets of Marxism, and still others excavated local sources for radical inspiration, It was in this period that the idea of ‘Bolivarianism’ came to develop, not as a blinkered homage to a bourgeois revolutionary, but instead as an overarching signifier for the need to root struggles in local histories.

What defines Bolivarianism is the contemporary experience of the Bolivarian Revolution and it must be traced back to the so-called Árbol de Las Tres Raíces. This includes the importance of Independence, sovereignty and armed resistance stressed by Bolívar himself; the role of education pointed out by Simón Rodríguez (Bolívar`s preceptor), who was strongly influenced by the ideas of J.J. Rousseau and conceived as a proto-socialist; the democratic experience of Ezequiel Zamora the anti-oligarchic general in the Venezuelan civil war of 1859 who led peasant uprising with slogans like “free land and free people”, “popular elections”, and “horror to oligarchy”.

Our revolutionary Bolivarianism, however, is compounded also by the critical Marxism of Ernesto Che Guevara, José Carlos Mariátegui, Anton Pannekoek, Antonio Gramsci, Antonio Negri, by the liberation theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Camilo Torres; by the guerrilla and the liberation movement leaded by Bolívar himself, by José Martí in Cuba, and by Augusto Cesar Sandino in Nicaragua.

Furthermore, our Bolivarianism is also founded in the critique of European civilization and development of indigenous movements in Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico, and currents of black resistance from the US to their social, cultural and militant expressions in the Caribbean and Brazil.

In addition, Bolivarianism is also presented as the product of a sort of “accumulation” of social struggles and experiences across the whole sub-continent: from workers councils and revolutionary sindicalism in the 1980s to the national student congress in Merida and the student rebellion in that same decade, from the libertarian pedagogical movement to the development of the constituent power of the people in 1995 onwards and the electoral victory of Chavez in 1998; from the constitutional assembly and specification of participative democracy in 1999 to the experience of self-organization during the oil sabotage 2002-2003.

Bolivarianism is the general signifier of whatever expresses an emancipatory, socialist and democratic perspective, a new philosophical-political model with Bolivarian, Robinsonian and Zamoran ideological fundamentals, with a new model of mixed economy, with a new model of society based on equality, justice and freedom, taking into account that freedom, democracy and participation are conceived as fundamental elements of society.

WORKERS FORCE PTSC WAGE PROPOSAL

posted 27 Nov 2014, 10:50 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 27 Nov 2014, 10:58 ]

The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) has proposed a 7% wage increase over three years to the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU), the recognised majority union for the majority of the workers at the statutory authority. The contract period for which the offer was made is January 2012 to December 2014. The period only has about five more weeks to run.

The offer was made on Wednesday 26th November 2014; just five days after the union staged a powerful picket of the office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO). Before that picket, PTSC management was only prepared to deal with non-cost items.

According to Ronald Forde, General Manager of PTSC, this approach to the negotiations was because PTSC was advised by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport that the management should consider the Chief Personnel Officer’s recommendation that the negotiations should continue to focus on non-cost items only; pending the issuing by the CPO of the “appropriate guidelines” on the cost items.

Officially, the CPO does not negotiate on behalf of PTSC, but it is pretty clear that, just like with the PNM Inter-Ministerial Committee which used to set “guidelines” for the negotiations, government is trying to interfere in the free, collective bargaining process to the detriment of workers.

Rae Samuel interviews Roland Sutherland

What is instructive about the sequence of events is that once it became known that TIWU was going to picket the CPO, PTSC management agreed to the meeting which was held on November 26th, a meeting they had been “brakesing” for weeks. Not only did they agree to the meeting they actually came with a wage proposal (the most important of the cost items), although it must be said a woefully inadequate one.
 
Roland Sutherland, President of TIWU had told NWU journalist Rae Samuel at the picket that the union was only prepared to negotiate with management if management was prepared to negotiate “in earnest”.

The exercise of collective, direct action by the workers of PTSC has certainly forced the government, the CPO and PTSC management to pinch themselves. Do not trifle with the power of the working class!

ARE WE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT OIL SHOCK? by Ken Howell

posted 12 Nov 2014, 19:53 by Gerry Kangalee

There is a school of thought which holds, that oil and gas wealth is a curse, on some oil and gas producing countries.

 

Such countries, it is argued, derive a substantial part of their revenue from oil and gas and that revenue to a large extent drives the economy. The problem, however, stems from the short-sightedness of the governments charged with the responsibility to manage this resource as well as the proceeds accruing from it.

 

Prior to the 1970s when oil prices were low, this country, was a substantial producer of Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee, and Bananas for export. These products, contributed substantially to the GDP of the country. When OPEC was formed and oil prices sky-rocketed, the then PNM government treated agriculture as a bastard child and abolished planning.

 

That anti-planning, anti-agriculture attitude was adopted by successive governments. In order to explain that behaviour sources in the know suggest that influential elements, who monopolize the importation of certain staples into the country, are the ones who benefit from this lack of enthusiasm of governments, in the past to treat agriculture as a priority area for development. The view was also held that we have oil dollars so we can purchase all the food we want

 

On many occasions, scribes who contribute articles to the print media, speak to the question of the need to diversify the economy away from oil and gas. Some describe such an approach as “developing the onshore economy”; something which is worthy of serious consideration and must not be left up to the private sector.

 

It is my view however, that if such a decision is adopted by any government which does not see planning as central in conceptualizing and designing of  any development plan which has the potential to change the economic landscape, then any half-hearted approach would not be acceptable. Governments have been adopting an approach to development which seems to suggest that somebody had a vision in their sleep and decided to build things without the necessary studies being done to support the project which eventually ends up costing the tax payers millions of dollars.                                                                                                                                      

 

Recently there have been a number of projects at various stages of construction for which the public have not been told about the studies done on such questions as population density, projected population growth say in the next twenty five years, which is necessitating the construction of some of these structures. I refer here to the Couva children's hospital, and the University that is being constructed in Debe and such other intended projects.

 
DEVELOPMENT PLAN

I am not against the provision of facilities in these areas but when such large expenditures are to be incurred they must be seen to be a part of a development plan which is aimed at meeting the overall economic needs of the country and fit into a master plan. In building the economic infrastructure to accommodate diversification, connectivity and relevance must be uppermost in the minds of the planners.

 

Let us examine what we have been doing as a country. In the energy sector, we have been inviting foreigners to come and develop our energy resources. Some of our assets in the energy sector are suffering from wear and tear and are in need of a complete overhaul; many of them should be replaced because they have depreciated substantially in value, and have outlived their usefulness.

 

 With regard to natural gas, NGC is a valuable asset but the authorities have not been able to aggressively market its expertise in targeted markets; the construction industry is dependent on the public sector investment programme to throw money their way and as a result is unable to guarantee employment continuously. Some companies in the manufacturing sector have succeeded in accessing markets outside of CARICOM, but others are not in such a fortunate position and so, their dependence appears to be entirely on the CARICOM market to export their products.

 

Tourism is largely the domain of Tobago and it was never able to take off here in Trinidad because not enough is being done to market the Trinidad product outside of Carnival. The commercial sector is entirely dependent on the public purse. To the unconcerned observer it does not appear to be so, government transfers which are translated into salaries and wages usually find their way into the hands of the operators in that sector.

 
JOY OR SORROW

Just listen to the comments coming from the Down Town Owners and Merchants Association, during the Christmas season and you would hear their cry of joy or sorrow depending on whether spending was very high or low. That sector does not bring revenue into the country. But they are one of the largest consumers of foreign exchange.

 

Against that background, what are our options in the face of falling oil prices with a national budget of more than sixty billion dollars pegged on the assumption that oil prices will remain stable at $80.00 per barrel? Since the Budget was approved, the price of oil fell below $80.00 and it is expected to fall even lower.  It would seem to me that we are approaching a situation resembling pre 1970. The difference however, lies in the fact that natural gas is now a buffer which can insulate the economy somewhat, along with the Heritage and Stabilization fund.

 

This can buy the government some time to examine its options: such as, deciding in which areas it should trim expenditure and whether it would be necessary to continue borrowing funds to finance the budget deficit. However, taking into account the fact that we are in an election season, this government will obviously focus all its attention on measures which will help to create favourable conditions under which it could win the 2015 elections.

 

It is difficult to understand why governments, past and present, failed to be pro-active and recognize the need to behave in a manner, in which notwithstanding the oil and gas wealth, it could plan, taking into consideration the worst case scenarios. Such a mind-set if adopted, can insulate a country; not entirely, but may cause it to come out of a crisis in much better shape than if it did not implement options of that nature; specially in these times, when the climate in the geopolitical arena is about to reach freezing point once again.

 

This should tell us that we need to be on top of our game, in analysing how we should position ourselves as a country to benefit from the shift from a uni-polar to a bi-polar world where the BRICS countries, Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa are now in contention with the USA for leadership in influential centres where major financial decisions are made and for access to resource markets. 

 

For example, how do we view the situation in the Ukraine?  Are we buying the stories that are coming out of the mouths of vested interests in the West? Are we aware of the fact that the fall in oil prices was orchestrated once again, as it has been in the past? On this occasion it was Saudi Arabia and the USA who created the conditions for the fall.

 

Saudi Arabia unilaterally decided to increase oil production in order to pump more oil on to the market, while America who began to increase its oil production largely from shale is now less reliant on imported oil. This caused a glut on the market, thereby, taking the price down with it as well. Some forecasters believe that the market will be bearish for a short while for somewhere between the first and second quarters of 2015, before becoming bullish again, while others believe it will last for the whole of 2015.

 

Those who believe that it will be a short period base their analysis on the very real possibility that for some producers of shale oil the cost of production will become prohibitive if prices continue on a downward slide, thereby causing them to incur losses since it will become unprofitable to drill for oil when the returns result in such narrow margins.

 

The current world situation must be seen as a warning that we cannot continue to be re-active to crises, whether they be internal or external. We must become pro-active. We must begin to prepare for the next oil shock.

    

 

THE RULES WILL CHANGE YOU By RAE SAMUEL

posted 11 Nov 2014, 07:49 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 Nov 2014, 09:10 ]

Cyril Lionel Robert James

CLR James would often say, in reference to progressive people who joined conventional politics/institutions, 'if you don't change the rules...the rules would change you''.

I cannot claim to know the political outlook of the incumbent President of the Republic. If one is to judge by his pronouncements on assuming office, even those he made when he last sentenced a prisoner, then the rules seemed to have affected swift profound change in him. On that occasion, he spoke of seeking to balance mercy with the need to carry out the rule of law.

At an address at UWI quite recently, and in previous private exchanges, he has professed admiration for the socialistic policies of the Cuban society. One wonders if he knew what Fidel's take home pay was like. Or if Fidel has retired quietly to a home in Havana nothing like what his ilk inhabits.
 
Now Rachel P: let us steer clear of 'pre-action protocol' correspondence. This appears in the Trinidad Express of November 08,  "It was the Secretary of the President who asked for an interpretation of the payment of the now controversial housing allowance''. Notice that advice was not sought from Pope Frankie on this critical matter. Horsey, as we say in Trini lingo,was proceeding correctly, no doubt reflecting his judicial training. In other words, when he 'filed his motion' he was not going to lose on appeal. This is a brethren who could have been sitting on the bench, not outside his house by the Savannah, but rather on a Bench in the International Criminal Court, prosecuting local "Islamic fundamentalists' who never visited the caliphate.
 
He knows what powers he had or wanted. As if $64,720.00 tax free salary, $9630 duty allowance (separate from salary), free medical allowance for himself and dependents, access to a fleet of cars and free overseas travel were not financial power enough.

At least you do not have to worry about police stealing your car!

Thank god he does not have to use "Red Band' maxi taxi transport which recently increased  fares by $1. In passing, sir, may I offer a word of advice/suggestion to keep you out of the minds/mouths of irreverent talk show hosts, comics and calypsonians who might want to suggest this is all about dressing/covering your wife properly. You know how 'yuh can't please them'. Do not take any more photos of yourself leaning over to talk to Pope Frankie! Some caustic local might add a caption: "Ah ketch dem"!

Bro, I do not know if you will win this one or how far you may want to carry it legally. Such a request can never be "legitimate'', but power can make anything ''legal''. Ask those who practised slavery, apartheid, Nazism, discrimination against women and those who wrote the Industrial Relations Act.

But I imagine you have reason to be confident, although Ten Million Larry's response may have surprised you somewhat. I do know if next year I have any raffle sheets, concert tickets or barbecue sales whom to contact first.

I wonder what Che, CLR, Mao and others on the left would think about this form of 'socialist admiration'

CWU OPPOSES C&W BID FOR FLOW

posted 8 Nov 2014, 07:07 by Gerry Kangalee


Joseph Remy, Secretary General of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) issued the following statement dated November 7th 2014.

The Communication Workers’ Union would like to express its deep concern about the recent announcement of the impending buyout of Columbus International by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC.

This latest development in the Corporate Prostitution Ring confirms to us and should also confirm to all citizens that there are no ethical or moral values within the Corporate Arena, where Greed and Profiteering are the order of the day.

The Communication Workers’ Union publicly stated its concerns and dismay a few months ago about the obscene approach that was adopted by the recently appointed CEO of Cable and Wireless Communications PLC. Mr. Phil Bentley. We informed the Government and the public that Mr. Bentley was making overt and covert approaches to the Union to have us support his attempt to have majority control of TSTT.

We also went on record and publicly stated that we were vehemently opposed to Cable and Wireless acquisition of Majority Shareholding in our Telecommunication Sector. For that matter, we strongly objected to the notion of any Foreign Multi National holding majority Shareholding in any of the major players in the Telecommunication Sector. We believe that the Telecommunication Sector is critical for the economic, social and cultural development of our sovereign nation and also is very critical for National Security purposes as it is the main driver in modern security intermediation.

We can also recall the statement by Mr. Bentley that he would apply for the third (3rd) Mobile License if he does not get the Government to give in to his bullying tactics for Majority Shareholding in TSTT. This was after his approaches to the CWU were rejected. He subsequently made good of his threat and Cable and Wireless was identified by the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, as one of four (4) Companies that applied for the third (3rd) Mobile License, ironically along with Flow (Columbus Communication).

The CWU subsequently wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Selby Wilson on August 18, 2014 raising our strong objection to this application by Cable and Wireless and pointed to the grave conflict that would arise since they are 49% Shareholders in TSTT. Consistent with the approaches by those who arrogate power unto themselves, Mr. Wilson has not even acknowledged our letter; much less fathom a response to our legitimate claims.

POLICY DIRECTION

This latest development by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC, once again raises serious concerns about the policy direction of the Government as it relates to the Telecommunications Sector. The CWU as a major stakeholder in this Sector would like to call for Governmental intervention in this situation.

The Minister of Finance, Senator Larry Howai as the line Minister responsible for NEL, is now called on to immediately investigate how this development has occurred right under the noses of the Government and the TATT. This is a clear slap in the face and an attempt at vengeance against the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for their rejection of Cable and Wireless attempt to gain controlling interest in TSTT. This development can have severe debilitating implications for the shareholders of NEL.

We wish to remind all and sundry that we raised our objections about the introduction of unbridled and unfettered competition in the Telecommunication Sector with the advent of the Telecommunication Authority. We were of the belief and are still of the belief that the Telecommunication Sector, which is classified as an Essential Industry under the provision of the Industrial Relations Act, should not be subjected to such a Corporate intrusion.

We warned against placing emphasis on the end game, which are purported cheap services and accessories foisted upon an unsuspecting population as an illusion. We warned against allowing such a critical leg of our economic and social developmental thrust to be placed in the hands of foreign multi nationals whose only interest was and still is the exploitation of our resources and the profiteering from our geographical location and deep resource base.

NEGATIVE FALLOUTS

There are numerous negative fallouts that would emanate from this proposed acquisition primary among them is the issue of conflict of interest. We question if any antitrust regulations or policies were breached by this acquisition.

The CWU would like to publicly condemn the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, who ironically are staffed at the Senior Level by a bunch of disgruntled former TSTT Employees, and we call on them to wake up from their slumber and deal with this Corporate Malfeasance. They must immediately null the application process for the Third (3rd) Mobile License and deal with the issue of how they impartially handle the issue of spectrum allocation, which is more important for the expansion and development of the Telecommunication Sector in Trinidad and Tobago.

They need to quell and alleviate the growing perception in the Telecommunication Sector that their sole aim and purpose is to collaborate and connive to see the demise of the National Entity that has a social, economic and moral responsibility to provide effective and efficient universal Telecommunication Services to the Citizens of our country. The CWU condemns this corporate act of prostitution committed by Cable and Wireless Communication PLC and Columbus International and we call on the Telecommunication Authority to reject this obscene acquisition. In addition, we call on the Government to heed our numerous calls to get rid of Cable and Wireless from the shores of Trinidad and Tobago as this is only the beginning of their quest for control of our economic future; akin to the days

AARON PARANG THE WRONG HOUSE by Rae Samuel

posted 7 Nov 2014, 17:57 by Gerry Kangalee

This is a call to the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions to discontinue proceedings against Aaron. Who is Aaron and why not the DPP himself? Media reports which recently put a local citizen on the front line in Syria, although he never left the country, also suggest that the DPP himself may be 'medically unfit' since the matter of 'cocaine in the belly’ came to light. 

And who is Aaron? Aaron H. whose name we cannot call especially since his appearance on the front page of a daily newspaper, belted and cuffed like the "Soledad Brothers'', is charged with 'paranging the wrong house'' and his crime warrants a bail of $4 million. Now if he were a police officer involved in a fatal hit and run on the Priority Bus route or robbing a casino Aaron would not be so harshly treated but I guess he does not have a 'batch'.

Folks: Aaron anonymous is accused of stealing over $10.8m from his employers, the PriceSmart shoppers club between 2006 and 2014. My point is that Aaron’s only error was to steal from private enterprise and not the State, hence my suggestion that he 'parang the wrong house'

Why should we send such a talented gifted man to Golden Grove where, again to media reports, he may well be beaten by 'correctional officers'?

Aaron outlasted all from Calder Hart to Landate to Life Sport. Should this man not be hosting his own Bourse Report first thing on morning on Television? Or sitting on the Board of First Citizens Bank writing his own cheques like Clico Geeta of $US5 million in the drawer fame? Aaron H, full identity withheld, would have made an excellent Minister of Sport.

The guy is good! He outlasted Reshmi, Quite Contrary Mary, Fire Truck Warner, the aforementioned Calder Hart, Credit Union King Harry, the Karamaths, the 'sick leave' administrator working out of the Acting Police Commissioner's office… just to name a few…

The suggestion is that we are just about 6 months shy of general 'run off' elections and we will have a new administration regardless of who 'runs-off' with the election months after the polls close. Skills like these will be needed to further inflate the cost of the Point Fortin San Fernando highway, the under construction Children's hospital, the UTT complex in Debe and to pay consultants for the non-existent Point Fortin and Arima hospitals

Remember Aaron has 'worked' under both PNM and UNC administrations. Remove him from prison and put him in his rightful place in Balisier House on the Farris wheel or Rienzi Complex to be garlanded by Khadijah. Let him manage the 'ghost gangs' that are a fixture of the scene regardless of who wins. We repeat...paranging the wrong house is not a crime…or is it?

HIGHWAY MEDIATION: TWO VIEWS

posted 4 Nov 2014, 13:19 by Gerry Kangalee

The Highway Reroute Movement (HRM) has published a video on You Tube entitled Mediation is the way Forward. The video can be seen here.

Eugene Reynald does not support the need for mediation and his view is published below:

"The talk of mediation will delay the process and give the State the opportunity it is seeking in the project and all the other quite illicitly contrived ones to get contracts in place and hurriedly proceed with letting contract and doing work so the Courts can say that despite the fact that the project was illicitly contrived the work "too far gone" to stop it now; thus freeing those responsible for the illicit contrivances to continue with such.

In effect all that was/is illicit is made legal by cowardly and quite unintelligent and uninformed decisions of the Court - for reasons we can all speculate at.

The Armstrong Report is mediation of the best kind we can get - and by any definition qualifies as mediation. Their report was rejected by Kamla and her Cabinet for reasons still unknown to the public and at the time of writing this - some months after her rejection, her team is still fumbling to put these reasons in writing. All while she and her sycophants in Cabinet repeatedly assert their rejection by ignoring all of its recommendations and accelerating the rate of work on the project.

A whole Cabinet can lie and deceive because one person speaks for them but 19 leaderless professionals supported by scores of others cannot. In light of all the aforementioned, what would you expect from Kamla regarding any lesser form of mediation?

Get real folks, any talk of mediation is playing into the sinister agenda of the politicians and those suggesting it as a solution are pied pipers for their cause.

The public needs to hold the course of the Armstrong Report and try to get the minutes of the fateful meeting with the IDB or "water board, truth serum or embarrass" Dookeran into telling us the reasons cited by his friends at the IDB for rejecting his request for financing.

That meeting was too important not to have been minuted or fully reported on because Dookeran's submission was used as an example of "how not to" implement projects and he was made to silently suffer through a long IDB admonishment on this. Surely there was learning for him in this experience that was carefully noted - to be used in his future interactions with the IDB.

Dookeran and Howai must be made to recognise the right of the public to know all of this and more and their duty as public servants who are paid by the public, not Kamla, to observe and promote this right. The facts will in time be known and if they do not act honourably and honestly now, they both will be damned in history for the role they played in this whole dastardly conspiracy to dumb down and keep in ignorance the public - for reasons that we all know."

Eugene A. Reynald

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