Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎


posted 25 Apr 2016, 20:00 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 25 Apr 2016, 20:01 ]
I am not a proponent of suicide. While I "overstand" how mounting pressures may overwhelm, I verily believe that it is a selfish and sometimes cowardly act. That being said, I also believe that things must be analyzed from different perspectives because improvement toward the ideal is the ultimate goal. 

To condemn the things people do outright, without doing some investigation into the reasons for their actions, is hypocritical. Because all of us at one time or the other have committed some infringement that was against our principles and have used fuzzy logic or none at all to justify them. 

I am saddened that Mr. David Francis took his own life. Although I do not believe that he "had" to do it, it was not my decision to make. For those who may not have been following, Mr. Francis was one of those workers affected by February retrenchment at Centrin as a result of reduced production by Arcelor Mittal Steel Company. Although it is reported that he was working at odd jobs, rising debt was the reason for him taking the matter of his departure from this life into his own hands. I do not know at this point in time who he leaves behind, but his death and his debt are testaments to how we prioritize our existence in this society. 

Some would argue that others have mounting debt the same as Mr. Francis and have not chosen the way that he chose as a means of escape. But this is precisely why some sort of inspection must be done. While he may have chosen a method that many of us cannot fathom, we may believe so now and may even consider the same route if we were to be in similar shoes. Further, while some may not consider suicide, some may consider crime before considering a positive and nation building solution. 

His suicide should prompt us to think about how strong are our support structures beyond those of finance. It should prompt our social institutions (churches and community based organizations in particular) to work harder to knit communities together, rather than dividing them between lines of religion, race and politics. It should prompt our trade unions and credit unions to band with each other to work against these outlined divisive elements. 

In the circumstances and the timing of this sad occurrence of Mr. Francis' loss of job and subsequent loss of life (which are linked to economic shrinkage) we the movement of trade unions must sympathize and empathize with the situation and the worst case scenarios in the surroundings. 

Trade unions must set aside the pettiness that egoism carries with it. Forget if you have the largest membership. Forget if your membership is the highest paid. Forget if you supported the former government or the current one. 

Remember as the leaders of this movement in this worsening economic environment, worker unity is more important than anything else. Remember when we observe May Day on Monday 2nd May, 2016, that we all can potentially be where Comrade Francis is. Remember that as workers our leadership is a reflection of us, so our inaction results in no action or development for our future. 

May Day! May Day! May Day! The call for all workers  to set aside their differences, for they are small in the face of our similarities.