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

COKE IS NOT IT by Rae Samuel

posted 22 Feb 2017, 09:45 by Gerry Kangalee

See what happens when you are not ready for office? From The Donald to Rottweiler: you mess up and even turn your own voters/supporters against you. George Bush taught us that you can fool some people all the time, just get them to the polling stations on time. Obama simply followed suit using a "Black out'' i.e. get the Black vote out and then turn around and tell them "Don't forget I am an American, not a Black one''. Worked for him!

Donald may really find himself in trouble with American sports fans. Budapest has pulled out of bidding for the 2024 Olympics. Rome pulled out late last year. Its mayor recognising that Italy is next in line to become a basket case behind Greece and Spain decided to do her own Olympic Brexit before David Cameron did.

Except that she won and Cameron lost. Russia will not be even allowed to host a hula hoop contest in the near future; not as long as Seb Coe is in office protecting English cyclists from WADA. So that pretty much leaves the cities of the United States. Just remember cities bid to host the Olympics.

Olympic athletes come from all over the world. Once your team selects you there is no screening. In fact, your country is responsible for eligibility on all fronts. That is why as our Jamaican counterpart pointed out the job of Chef de Mission at these major games is a serious one, except to Ian from Trinidad and Tobago. Remember our Chef-de-ESPN from Rio 2016?

What will happen when an American city wins the bid and Donald finds out that athletes from all over the "Middle East'', from Mexico, from the Caribbean, from Eastern Europe are supposed to participate?

All these foreign terrorists, disguised as athletes coming to throw spears, iron balls and discs, shooting rifles for sport…yeah right…jumping great heights; even grappling with American judokas. Remember he is building walls/fences. My God! They might even waterboard American swimmers, divers and water polo players. Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Isis in track suits and Nike footwear!

I think this one issue will force Donald to dump his immigration policies. It is one thing to ban Dwight Yorke but quite another to affect Nike's and Coca Cola's bottom line. All these athletes coming to America to drink Pepsi and eat McDonald's at an Olympics and future World Cups. and put on Mickey Mouse headgear and go to Disneyland!

I hope Lorreta Lynch, former US Attorney General does not hear about this. Loretta could not protect Black lives but went after white ones in F.I.F.A to control market share. Remember football is the only 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days a year sport. Football, like political and economic corruption in Trinidad and Tobago, goes on regardless.

Football is sponsored by non-American companies like Heineken, Puma and Adidas. So this drive against FIFA, in my view, was about breaking that stranglehold. Coca Cola is NOT it in soccer!

But I still may be able to save the day for the USA in spite of The Donald's 'harrumps'. If America can hold a baseball competition among its own clubs and call it a "World series', and call the winners of the Super Bowl which is also contested locally the best in the world, why can't Donald exclude most of the nations outside America and call it the Olympic Games...

Go Mr. Duck!! Hey! I might just be on my way to the White House

BECAUSE WAR IS WAGED AGAINST US! by Rafiki

posted 21 Feb 2017, 09:01 by Gerry Kangalee

Image result for rafiki morrisThe CALL for the organization of African people is based on a critical analysis of reality. The fundamental basis of the analysis is that, “WE ARE ONE AFRICAN PEOPLE!” The fundamental nature of our reality is that, “WE ARE AT WAR!” Some Africans refuse to accept this reality while others reject our analysis of it. This makes organizing difficult, since we cannot move forward until the masses of our people understand and accept both the reality and the analysis of it.

It is well known that oppression breeds resistance. But since we deny our oneness and deny that our enemy is one, our resistance remains instinctive, uncoordinated, unplanned and unconscious. We neither benefit from our heroic victories nor learn from our tragic defeats. We meet slaughter with blissful ignorance and accept death without purpose or recourse. We die in denial without ever having lived and betray the blood of those who brought us to this time in space. All of this will only change when we organize on the basis of our African identity. Once we see ourselves as one people we will understand the depth and scope of our condition. Once we are so organized we can effectively resist those who wage war against us.

The truth lies bare and the facts are frighteningly clear. The well worn enemy tactics (counter insurgency) are internationally evident. It is one thing to destabilize our families, our communities, our cities or individual nation-states. It is something else altogether to destabilize our world. They eliminate our genuine and potential leaders with murder, incarceration, exile and corruption. They destroy our genuine organizations and governments. They destabilize our populations through mass population removal, economic deprivation, and genocidal warfare.

They impose neo-colonial leaders and neo-liberal policies of inclusion, privatization, and neo-liberalism as means of social redemption. Through these means they keep us in refashioned colonies and reduce our instinctive, unconscious rebellion to nothingness. These are the same methods the imperialists are using in Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi wars. They are the methods used against Africans in Libya, Sudan, Brazil, Trinidad, Panama, Pretoria and Baltimore. These are age old capitalist strategies played out on a worldwide stage against the most degraded sector of the human family. This is millennial divide and conquer and African people are the divided and the conquered.

Our denial of evident realities induces us to reduce this counter insurgency to isolated cases of mass incarceration, police brutality, gentrification and democracy. We do not wage effective international resistance because we do not acknowledge being under worldwide attack. Bombs in Libya are not considered an attack on the black faces of Soweto. Kidnapping, torture and murder of girls in Nigeria is not understood as an attack on the African feminine everywhere.

Police and internecine violence in the cities of America are not seen as attacks on African manhood throughout the world. Our denial of this war on us does nothing to end the siege. Refusal to accept the existence of a common enemy does not make them less brutal or diminish their international character. Denial that we are a people at war only undermines our ability to organize, unite and conquer our liberty.

We will never get organized until the masses of African people see the need for it. We will see this need when we see ourselves as one people with one enemy waging a single international war upon us. The time has come to open our eyes and see the world as it is. We have to understand our world if we are ever going to change it! Now is the time to get organized.

Answer THE CALL to get organized by sending an email to thecall@yahoo.com, stating your name and where you live. For more information visit: The Call@CirclesofLightandLife on Facebook.

NINTH COMMANDMENT EDITED OUT By Rae Samuel

posted 13 Feb 2017, 12:02 by Gerry Kangalee

I write this full of trepidation. I can feel the flames of hell licking at my feet. Woe is me. I may have somehow finally crossed the line. And if God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY begotten son, (God is Chinese and y'all pass out the boy), what will become of me? My parents begat 10 of us!

You see, sheep of my papyrus, I am thinking of the recent robbery carried out by Bible toting bandits. It was a limited edition carrying only 9 commandments. Thou shall not steal had been edited out. I hope they also edited out the Book of Samuel (to protect the innocent). Hear ye…hear ye...or is it Hark?

The story goes that the bandits were proselytising in the neighbourhood, looking for lost souls and found jewellery. These heathens chose not to store up their treasures in heaven but rather right here on earth in their duffel bags. Right after they had seduced the victims of their trust.

Now I do not know of whence denomination they came. Religion like J’Ouvert has been privatised. God, salvation and redemption now has franchises like cable television. One has to pay to pray. Ask the churches and denominational schools. Public religion, like public education comes in at the lower end of the scale. Jesus at best would have been a Rasta. Conversely He/she might have been one of those who block the pavement in broad daylight shouting at anyone who is not listening about how close we are to perdition and inviting intervention from the Environmental Management Agency - decibels and all that.

You all ever notice that all of them who do this are Christian/Baptists? I have never seen a Moslem, Hindu, Bahai or Buddhist spread flowers on the pavement, make chalk marks in the street and do a brother Resistance..'Ring the bell .to wake up Captain Cipriani. Is it a franchise something?

As I was saying this crime of fashion (I understand jewellery was taken), was facilitated by our trust in the Lord which is rivalled only by our trust in the Unit Trust. As has been their wont for decades, the representatives came to spread the word and have the converted spread their arms upward (raise yuh han’; put up yuh han’) the easier to be robbed.

Would I have been robbed? Thank God no. Anyone attempting to steal from me…well...it might turn out to be assault/without robbery. The pickings would be poor given the fact that my organisation instituted a wage freeze policy long before Brooks of the energy sector. Then I might ask "Comrade. Bandit! This is yuh first robbery? Is me you would look to t'ief from? Don't you know anything about profiling?"; which might just upset the perp especially if he/she is not kindly disposed to professional criticism. Just look at how Government ministers behave when you question them and you know exactly of what I speak.

My experience of, exposure to, evangelists was limited. They often find me when I am washing the car so I shrug and point to the bucket of "Wash and Shine'' For some reason they make the dogs in the street angry. Damn heathens!! But they are well organised though. Work in groups, target the women of the household, have material handy. Ozzie and Vincent and Brother Leader could learn a lot from them.

Dennis Solomon was said to be unkind to these soldiers of the Army of the Lord. He wrote that he would ask them if they could fix the plumbing, change the wiring or hang up a door. Their answers would invariably see him closing the said door on them. Guess he identified with the carpenter from Jerusalem in a different way. I hope, along with Joe Young, Dennis makes it into heaven As I undoubtedly will; along with those of you who read the Book of Samuel.

CHOOSING TO DIE by Rae Samuel

posted 7 Feb 2017, 19:21 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 7 Feb 2017, 19:24 ]

Here we go again. The barebacked king of cassava fires off another salvo and shoots himself in the mouth with another of his nauseous nuggets. In the true PNM spirit of Tim Kee (hey carnival comin’) he suggests that, essentially, women who are victims of domestic violence make bad choices, i.e. they looked for it.

Never mind, as some women's groups pointed out, some women have been murdered at their workplace, at relatives' homes, in the streets. Guess he meant they should have stayed where they were and saved their attackers the trouble of violating them away from the home.

And out comes the Farris Wheel to tell us that the media tweaked the story. Hey Comrade. Errol McLeod: Yuh hear that? What we heard is not what the Prime Minister said. The type of spin you excelled in as virtual Deputy Prime Minister.

Don't know what cough remedy and anti-histamines Farris taking though. Suddenly the man who could cover 3 morning shows a day, but who lost his voice on a rifle range, is back with rapid fire..."Ten shuuuun!

Remember a while ago he was laid low by the photos from the rifle range and Keith had to help him out identifying his own children. I never really got over that. You saying that these may not be your children and the boss emphatically saying, “Yes, they are his!''. Maybe he got some "Fishermen's friends' from Gary Aboud as he rehashes the old yarn about how hard it is to hang convicts.

How will the meetings/conversations go? One is reminded of a comment attributed to CLR James about these Meet the people tours which was a practice initiated by Eric Eustace Williams, aka Deafy. James would ask why wait until one is in office to "meet the people”? Isn't it an admission that one is going into office clueless about the people's concerns and that your Party is really about building a vote bank?

I think it will be hard to run that fast, from the mouth, in the next rounds. When you set a meet record in your first heat it is hard to top it: Ask Verna Alleyne Toppin!

The Prime Minister has a couple days to pull his foot out of his mouth or his cassavas out of the wood fire, even as the Wheel goes at the media for incorrectly 'contextualising” the Prime Minister's statement.

Damn you, all of you who were in the meeting and heard it live. Damn all of you who heard on live television and social media, not waiting for Wari to interpret the message. This demands that the Minister of National Assuredness respond with utmost alacrity to this new trend where people think and interpret for themselves..

How? How can he respond to this growing trend of thinking out of the PNM/UNC MS…oops sorry…PNM/UNC box? How…how? I GOT IT; I GOT IT! He can go on the waterfront and make a statement.

WE NEED A COALITION OF PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS by Cathal Healy-Singh

posted 2 Feb 2017, 08:28 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 2 Feb 2017, 08:29 ]

Crime plan headlines: "hang them high" and "give them guns" - exhortations from the spent elite political forces on both sides of the imaginary aisle. They are proof the model failed, the leaders failed, the party politics failed, a gross failure at advancing public interests and services. Instead our politicians  are competing examples of self interests serving special interests, a triumph of corruption, and the consequence, what is left in the public domain, is mayhem, madness and needless suffering, horrendous crime.

We have seen it all before, and it is worse now. We can't afford at any level to continue the way we are. We need a coalition of public interest groups to advance a collective movement towards educating ourselves out of this mess; empowering our collective selves into the de facto shadow government and opposition to both failed parties and, further, offer ourselves to express the will of the people: for fairness, justice, real effort to make us healthy, strong, safe, respected as a people, as a national community. Enough hard work and light shining awaits you my lovelies. Ease past the resistance from the fats cats and running dogs; ease past your self-doubt.

Your inner voice is real. Be true to the children, the ones already here and the ones to come, Be true to those who came before, who rocked the boat, fought the fight, and the ones who were never bought out, who held their dignity high in their communities and were known for it, the ones who did not take the bribe, who did not swallow the Kool aid, and before them, the ones long gone, of whom we read, who shone their lights over what really happened yesterday.

For one and all let us recover our wicket and bat and bowl for the people, not the 1%. They will come around and still be able to ply their wares but on level fields where people are developed not exploited.
   

AFRICANS IN AMERICA: CHANGING POLITICAL LANDSCAPE by Rafiki

posted 31 Jan 2017, 07:00 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 31 Jan 2017, 08:05 ]

Rafiki
Africans in America often respond to capitalist political crisis as if it is our own crisis. This time it is different. This time the capitalist crisis comes from our rejection of their politics. Simply put, we turned our back on Hillary Clinton and all hell broke loose.

Our unexpected absence from the polls was not political apathy. It was a manifestation of our maturing political instincts. Without a plan we withheld our vote, stopped being political chumps and broke our slavish allegiance to the Democratic Party (DP). Our rejection of Hillary Clinton marked a significant turn in the political direction of Africans in America. A new day has dawned.

Millions in shock flock to the streets. Self proclaimed liberal progressives look for ways to leave and places to go. Negro leaders shudder as the hysteria reaches epic proportions. Afro-American middle class millennials are left confused, with nowhere to turn. The Democratic and Republican political machines are scrambling to understand the new dispensation. The enemy stands on the precipice of political and economic crisis and their agents among us are isolated and afraid.

Our electoral rejection of the DP is also a break with the Negro leaders and their 60 year old promise of integration, inclusion and equality. They lost touch with the sentiments of the people and thought they could transfer our support for Obama to Hillary. Depending on our rubber stamp endorsement, they realized too late that our support of Obama was their last chance to get it right. When Obama left office without addressing our concerns we left the DP's burning house without saying goodbye.

We retreated to forgotten street corners to burn blood stained ballots leaving Hillary to face Trump without our support. She did not understand what everybody else knew, “African People are the DP's margin of victory in US presidential elections.” She was too busy making fun of Dumb Donald to see us streaming out her party's backdoor.

The Republicans also failed to notice the discontent in their ranks. When the Republican base abandoned their traditional leaders the scene was set for an outsider to slip into the empty oval office. The New Year dawned on the ruins of America's two major parties. Frightened settlers and their racist kin ascended to power as Donald Trump assumed office as the 45th President of the United States. By not voting for the DP we created a crisis for everybody else. For us the crisis was not new. Withholding the vote was just our latest response to 500 years of racist, capitalist oppression and betrayal.

Africans in America and everywhere else on the planet, have seen nothing but continuing poverty, military assault and marginalization under the stewardship of Obama and his Democratic Party administration. In the developed countries our populations remained cramped in urban colonies plagued by massive poverty, police repression, poor housing, insufficient political representation, crime, drug addiction, internecine violence, racism, disproportionate incarcerations and family/community disintegration.

Image result for africomTo these we added frustration, hopelessness, marginalization and chronic dependency on hostile predatory state, private, cultural and political institutions. Internationally we saw the expansion of Africom, the establishment of US bases across the continent, drone bombings in Somalia, Pakistan and Iraq, invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, setting up proxy wars, the rise of Boko Haram, sanctions on countries that did not comply with the US empire and the dropping of 26, 000 bombs in the year of elections.

The rejection of Hillary was in fact a rejection of the American Dream. By staying home we acknowledged our American nightmare and issued a spontaneous declaration of African independence. We are now faced with assuming responsibility for our act of passive resistance. The instinctive, unplanned withdrawal of support for the DP must be transformed into conscious social/political organization.

We must answer the contemporary restatement of the call for Black Power issued some 50 years ago We have objectively, yet unconsciously, issued a new call for independent organization and political education of our masses. We have no choice but to respond to this historically determined necessity, buoyed by the mass realization that there is no possibility of negotiating or legislating our redemption. We go forward, knowing we have tried everything else and that all other options have been exhausted.

This collective realization gives rise to the new political position of Africans in America. We occupy a political space that is both complex and dangerous. It is complex because we must address every aspect of our lives. It is dangerous because it aims at securing our interest while living within the world’s most powerful nation. For Africans, trapped for centuries on foreign soil occupying such a place is also dangerously complex because our successfully pursuing our liberty requires the ending of their power. Our victory implies their defeat.

For most, the defeat of capitalism and white supremacy is unimaginable. We must imagine it because the condition for our success is their demise. We either achieve a world without the racist capitalist settler state or accept eternal servitude. This is the fundamental 
Image result for down with democratic party republican partylogic of the independent analysis arising from rejection of the Democratic and Republican Parties by the Africans in the USA. Complexity and danger are unavoidable consequences of any plan to achieve a better life for Africans in America and around the world.

Our analysis of the prevailing political landscape points out the need to engage all Africans in the examination of our political, social and economic reality. The first evident requirement is the development of a political education process that is permanent, broad based and comprehensive. We must examine every aspect of our lives. We must subject all issues and problems to detailed scrutiny and we must develop constructive, practical solutions to them all. Mass political education and organization is the only way to do any of this.

Everybody knows we have a host of problems to solve and issues to address. We approach these problems without effective organization and responsive leadership in place. We are forced to be self reliant, self respecting, self critical, self determined and unified. Such unity can only be realized by organization.

This means that all Africans in the United States need to join an organization that is working for our people. It means that those who cannot find such an organization have to start one. It means that all of these organizations, large and small, old and new, must equip themselves with the means to educate themselves and the people around them. It also means that our organizations must stand together, work together, support one another and become a united front in service to our people and their interest. In short the masses of our people have to assume responsibility for organizing and politically educating ourselves by every means necessary.

The way forward is to build unity of purpose and establish an unbreakable connection to Africans everywhere. We must organize ourselves on the basis of our African identity; as one African People with one African interest, using African resources to establish an independent mass African international political power base. We do not only draw these conclusions from our particular situation in this time and place but also from millenniums of resisting generations who have attempted every other approach.

We need not, at this stage, aim at the defeat of US armies, the destruction of their institutions or the seizure of their wealth. We are not yet organized to do any of these things, but we can no longer settle for the illusion of power absent control of ourselves, our economics or our communities. We aim at the systematic conquest of our collective will. Our battlefield is the hearts and minds of our collected mass. We fight first, to conquer ourselves. In this struggle we face immense logistical difficulties. Our resources are few and the path before us is long and difficult. The first task is to assemble our millions into an independent, mass, African organization to educate our minds and direct our bodies.

We also have to prepare for the difficult task of defeating capitalism, imperialism and their system of white supremacy. This can only be achieved by uniting with Africans everywhere and working in conjunction with the exploited and oppressed people of the world.

We cannot fight capitalism and imperialism arrogantly believing we are capable of doing what others have failed to do. Nor can we pursue such a goal seeking glory, wealth or power over others. We only organize to fight the world's reigning empire because we must. We do it because we are determined to be free. For freedom's sake we must look for their weakness and define our collective strengths. We stare into the eyes of the beast and scope the soul of evil to uncover the hidden passage to our future.

The unfolding of history has made it clear that we will not end our oppression and exploitation by being integrated into the American dream. It is also clear that we cannot be content to remain the permanent underclass in this racist, sexist, capitalist country. We have to develop a conscious collective political power base. We have to educate and organize ourselves to bring an end to this 500 year old nightmare. We have to unite among ourselves and with the Africans of the world to conquer a future of our own making. 

We have to join with the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world to rid the planet of capitalism and imperialism. We have to take our proper place in the struggle to redeem humanity or perish. These are the implications of the USA 2016 presidential elections. With all of this there is only one way forward, Organize, Organize, Organize! 
Image result for down with capitalism
To answer THE CALL set up a semi-autonomous Pan-African unit. Our guidelines (a small booklet) is available free of charge, to all who wish to participate in the process. All that is required is to request a copy and organize a group of 7 to 13 people willing to work through it as a collective.. Your Circle (group) is then responsible for politically educating yourselves and the people around you. In this way Africans can proceed to organize ourselves, everywhere, at the same time.

Send your Email to thecall@yahoo.com stating your name, country, city/village and request a copy of our political education & organization guidelines. Upon request we will forward the material and answer any questions you may have and offer any assistance we can to help organize a circle in your area.

For more information go to: Facebook: THE CALL@CirclesofAfricanLightandLife.

Email: thecall@yahoo.com

 

GIVE DEM DEY HOUSE! By Rae Samuel

posted 26 Jan 2017, 08:21 by Gerry Kangalee

It's unfortunate and tragic in a sense: I was driving when I heard the radio station announce a 'breaking news story'. Nesta Carter, Usain Bolt's team mate in 4 gold medal races (1 Olympics and 3 World titles), had tested positive for a banned substance in Olympics 2008. This at first will cost the whole team from Beijing not just Bolt, the medals. Then practice and precedent suggest all events in which Nesta Carter ran will have results modified. So the Beijing 4x100m men's race may just be the beginning.

One hopes Carter survives Jamaica. The reaction will be furious. Poor man! He might have been just ahead of his time. Think Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Bradley Wiggins the British cyclist; all of whom have been caught out and pardoned. Asafa is doing ads for Jamaican tourism in case you have not seen the calendars.

Bolt remains a phenom but in P.R. and image terms 8 is not 9. No one will achieve what he has in Olympic sprinting and his brand will remain strong but it has a watermark/tarnish/diminish.

A + is now straight A.

Frankly I was surprised at the result. Having followed the inconsistencies and politics of the IAAF and IOC, especially over the last 2 to 3 years I was telling persons that I thought this would have ended differently; that the Super hero image, so useful and attractive in the sport would have been protected the way the British athletes, especially, have been.

When Bolt came along it was said that “he was good for the sport''. That refers to his ability to attract viewership, increase crowd attendance - all of which translate into sponsorship. 

There is always a fierce rivalry for the sponsorship dollar. Before the Bolt phenomenon track and field had to fight up with the Jordans of basketball, Ronaldos and Zidanes of football, the Williams sisters, Federers of tennis and the West Indies cricket team. Yes, dear reader, once upon a time West Indian cricket was a global sport phenomenon. Compare that to watching a heavily built Eastern European woman heave an iron ball out of a circle 6 times in an evening..Why do you think the high jump is so 'jazzed' up? Today wherever Bolt lands it is an event, whether it is competition or business. Some 2 years ago, Bolt, a Black man from the Caribbean, presented the winner's trophy at the Paris Open to Rafael Nadal.

Is Trinidad and Tobago a deserving of the medal? Yeeeeeeessss!!!! Are we "inheriting the medal"? Noooooo! There is no statute of limitations. There has been a clear violation of the rule. Nesta used a banned substance. The rule is clear. Congrats to Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callendar, Keston Bledman and Richard Thompson. They stand right alongside Hasely and Keshorn. GIVE DEM DEY HOUSE!

Please note this makes Richard Thompson our most successful Olympic athlete. Gold and 2 silvers followed by Keshorn 1 gold and1 bronze. Will the federations now come out and make self congratulatory statements? Of course, in spite of the debacle of 2016! Track and field will continue to share that type of kinship with football, gymnastics and basketball administration wise. But that is a story well told and documented so we will not linger.

Congrats to the team. Congrats to Mr. Clayton Walkes who coached the team in the face of some serious challenges from within. I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Walkes on the N.G.C-owned Right on Track programme for the last 16 years...

To Nesta: We in Trinidad find no joy in what has befallen you and your team mates but the rules are clear and must be upheld

STOP TAKING THE GRIP! by Sylvan Wilson

posted 22 Jan 2017, 18:08 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 22 Jan 2017, 18:12 ]

It is really sad to see so many members of the working class adopt positions spewed by the business class without examination for accuracy or clear examples of double standards and class bias.

This error on the part of the working class is most heart wrenching when responding to the statements and actions of other members of our class; however when they themselves are confronted by the same issues they question the absence of understanding and solidarity.

The recent situation during the stand-off between oil workers and the management of Petrotrin showed just how much we can be our own worst enemies. The ECA, Chambers of Commerce, spokespersons for the business class (economists et al) have condemned the much celebrated cleaner who allegedly earns $10,000.00 per month and is seeking a 10% rise in pay over a three year period. Many of those who criticise earn more than ten (10) times that amount and yet they seize every opportunity to carry up their prices and fees.

The business class has presented the argument that it is unreasonable for any worker or trade union to expect an increase from a company that is in a loss position. They say that the company “buss”, “it have no money”, “you can’t get blood out of stone”. The same argument applies to the Government; once there is a budget deficit then public officers must not expect any increase in wages and salaries and the poor is deemed unpatriotic to expect state subsidies. There are many questions to be posed to this “logic”; let’s look at the “no-money” concept.

Petrotrin earned $16 billion in 2016 and spent $1.9 billion on salaries and wages including those of management and exempt staff (those not covered by OWTU negotiations). This amounts to 11.8% of its revenue.

Well the company that “buss” and “have no money”, spent $14.1 billion on items other than its employees. In 2015 this company which is called a “drain” on the treasury by some of the “experts” paid $6 billion to the Treasury in taxes and royalties. It was the third highest contributor to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

This means that the State, the 2,100 private suppliers of goods and services to the company, the more than 500 contractors, its creditors etc. received $14.1billion (over 88% of company’s revenue) from the “buss” company. Petrotrin also borrowed money in that year.

The same applies to the State. According to the Minister of Finance this bankrupt economy will spend some $54 billion in fiscal year 2017. When the expenditure of T&TEC, WASA, PTSC, RHA’s etc are totalled then one gets a clearer understanding of the importance of spending by the State, State Enterprises and Statutory Bodies.

It is this expenditure, in the main, that is the source for the creation of the thousands of millionaires produced in T&T over years; none of whom are the non-management employees on whose behalf unions negotiate. Yet the beneficiaries of this State largesse are quick to label the working class as having a State dependency syndrome.

Petrotrin had insisted that it could not afford to pay its employees any increases for the period 2011-2017. Did the company insist to its suppliers of goods and services that they too must keep their prices at 2011 levels? Did the various chambers castigate their membership when they increased prices? Did Government mobilise the armed forces (as it did to deliver fuel if the strike did take place) to take action against businesses that carried up prices on each occasion that gas prices were increased or when the T&T dollar depreciated?

Why didn’t the Chamber of Commerce and the ECA point out to their membership that Public Officers are subsisting on 2013 wages and salaries? Not a word was heard. It seems that it is only increases to wages and salaries that are harmful to companies and the economy but high prices are good. Indeed one spokesman for the business class bouffed the Attorney General for suggesting that they could take a loss. He proudly proclaimed that they were in business to make money. Workers on the other hand must be satisfied with being patriotic, the joy of sacrifice and dedication to duty.

It is also noteworthy that the T&T dollar traded at 6.30 to the US dollar in 2011 when the “new” contract period started. Today our dollar trades at best 6.75 to the US dollar (if ordinary people can get it) - a 7% depreciation. Petrotrin earns 75% of its revenue from export sales done mainly in US dollars. The company sells its US dollars to pay local costs including salaries and wages. This means that EVEN WITH THE 5% INTERIM INCREASE THE COMPANY IS PAYING LESS IN 2017 ON SALARIES AND WAGES THAN IT DID IN 2011.

This is why it is imperative that unionised workers must keep their collective agreements current. There is no compensation for loss value of our dollar. The business class doesn’t ever miss out on the need to carry up prices and it explains their relentless war on indexed Cost Of Living Allowances (COLA) paid to their employees.

The working class needs to wake up, understand the futility of this divisive partisan politics and get into our section. The business class fully understands this.

ALL ARE INVOLVED by Rae Samuel

posted 21 Jan 2017, 12:22 by Gerry Kangalee

"But none who leave here are unaffected. None who
leave here are normal.....They will never count me among
the broken men..I've been hungry too long. I've gotten angry
too long..I’ve been lied to and insulted too many times.''

George Jackson - Soledad Brother April 1970

The day after the shootings in Maracas the chair of the "Vision on a mission'' was on the radio putting the incident in context. No he did not re-iterate the incident or circumstances..That happens de rigueur in the establishment media which manages to give 3 versions of the same incident in different outlets, electronic or print...In this case the shooting occurred around/inside /near to/the charge room/station/parking lot? Mr Chance, who in prison argot would be described as being for real made some critical points.

Maybe because he was surrounded by the usual gaggle of media journeymen who see this all arising from the last administration, his knowledge, awareness and prescience shone through. And a passion that indicated how well he imagined/knows what lies ahead. Mr. Chance seemed to be telling us that there is a well defined community out there living a certain way. Call their communities 'hotspots', 'gang hideouts', they have developed a culture and lifestyle in response to the way they are perceived and treated by those in power.

In response to the brazen attack, occurring in broad daylight near a police station on active duty, Mr. Chance pointed out that there are individuals and communities so 'hurt' to use his own words that they have moved/been moved beyond reason. A mad desire for vengeance trumps every other consideration when one is brutalised psychologically, socially.

He made the point that when in a community an individual loses relatives either by police/criminal violence in spirals i.e. brother/s, uncle, cousin; when an individual rots in jail awaiting trial; when prison means perennial persecution instead of prosecution; when one is cut off from family and community, release sees an embittered person. As George Jackson said."The brokens one are so damaged they will never again be suitable members of any social unit'.

What's next? Next is here already. Murder is the extreme expression of social disaffection and its frequency, seeming randomness and ease with which it occurs are terrifying. But alongside the murder is the exploitation, overt and institutionalised theft, irrelevance of most of the institutions and systems headed by a leadership which insists that ‘national security' is the only answer to social challenges. Just listen to what the PNM leader was speaking about in Tobago even as we took another step in the direction of the Colombian and Mexican model of state.

Just imagine the Minister of national security stating that he is fed up

Pessimism? No! Fear? No! Panic? No! We went past the point where those sentiments could have served or saved us a while now. Among the affected/about to be affected, we have to find courage and determination, based on collective organised activity which leaves out the political establishment.

"All are involved
All are consumed" 

Martin Carter - You are Involved 1952

PETROTRIN: FIGHT FOR JOB SECURITY by Tony Bedassie

posted 20 Jan 2017, 04:26 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 20 Jan 2017, 04:46 ]

Fitzroy Harewood, President of Petrotrin - man in the hot seat
According to a report carried in the Newsday of January 20th 2017, Petrotrin's President, Fitzroy

"What should have been put on the table was job cuts. This is what is happening in the energy sector everywhere in the world. BpTT has already done that, as have other energy sector companies here."

Mariano Browne was Manning's Minister in the Ministry of Finance when the decisions to embark on the failed GTL and the mismanaged Gas Optimisation and the Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (USLD) projects were embarked upon. These projects put Petrotrin into debt to the tune of $13.2 billion.
Harewood, has signalled the need for restructuring of this state enterprise. Among other problems, he cited rising operating costs and lower world oil prices together with declining production of indigenous crude as having had a negative impact on the company. He has also asked that workers increase production in order to save the company. Mariano Browne in the Express of January 17th 2017 also highlighted the problems facing the company and spoke of the need for change within the enterprise.

The word restructuring is being bandied about in all quarters and what comes to mind immediately is job cuts. Something which the labour movement will resist with all it's might. Indeed, the OWTU has already shown its willingness to stand up for temporary workers at T&TEC who received letters of termination last week.

As workers we cannot simply bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is alright. We recently celebrated the victory of a 5% wage increase. One must wonder, though, at what cost. Historically Petrotrin has been the victim of poor management decisions and political interference.

Indeed the enterprise now resembles another well known failed company. Caroni Ltd. becoming a part of government's social wage package rather than a net earner of revenues. Fingers are pointed back and forth daily. Yet doing so in no way has had any positive net effect on the position we find ourselves in.

At Trinmar, our liabilities continue to increase. The age of our infrastructure and our numerous oil spills which are partly as a result of this, must be of concern to all. Remember, we had another one just two days ago.

Increasing production of indigenous crude is entirely possible. Yet we as workers can only do so much. The mere fact that we have been able to maintain our levels of production from this old field is testament to our ability and performance. Yet today, we have production capacity sitting idle at South West Soldado, while we hear that realising this production is being put on hold simply to facilitate the introduction of private entities and capital within this area.

The union has a huge fight on its hands. They must step up the game in order to force the company into doing everything in its power to bring this field up to full production capacity in as short a time as possible; thereby strengthening our ability to lay counter arguments when the time of restructuring comes.

The pressure to clean up the company is coming from all quarters. It will not be ignored. We must also take notice.

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