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PRIVATISATION: FAST AND FURIOUS By Ken Howell

posted 25 Jan 2016, 11:19 by Gerry Kangalee

Anthony Wilson, is one of those persons who articulate the views of the local and foreign capitalists in the Business Guardian, from time to time and as usual, he was true to form, as was evidenced  in an article he wrote, on Sunday 24, January 2016.

He, like Dr. Terrence Farrell and Dr. Hosein of U.W.I. fame, are the ideological storm troopers who are assigned the mission to attack all ideas which are advanced against the State's decision to dispose of profitable assets, such as those which as it has already indicated a certain percentage will be sold through an initial public offering (IPO).

Why has Mr. Wilson decided to use the examples which he chose for his article at this time? Clearly, it is because the establishment believes that the leadership of the trade union movement is not entirely opposed to privatization as long as they could benefit from the disposal of assets owned by the people. And if that is the case, now is the time to launch the offensive.

The strategy is a very clever one. It is a typical “divide and rule” approach that he has adopted. Why? Because he is of the view that the majority of us Trinbagonians have forgotten our history and why 1970 happened. 1970 and the fact that the private sector was and still is not interested in investing in new industries is what is responsible for NGC, FCB and those state enterprises which are now attracting the attention of big business, because they are profitable.

We cannot forget that it was because of class struggle waged by the working people of this country that we can boast of these industries today. The government was forced to nationalize a portion the oil industry and other entities. In so doing, the state was able to realise revenue which it was unable to realise before. Since then the state sector has expanded. But because there are those among us, including some trade unionists, who believe that the state should not get involved in business, there is this haste at this time of recession to sell out our profitable assets.

Mr. Wilson must say how a few employees who own shares in a state enterprise will help to keep the jobs of those who are terminated. In advancing his very selfish argument, he chose not to mention that the sale of shares to employees is but the transition phase to those shares ending up in the hands of big business. The individual worker makes a few dollars at the expense of his comrades and the tax payers, who are the real owners of those entities.

What Mr. Wilson is advocating is the beginning of the transfer of assets owned by the working people and the broader masses into the hands of a few. While the approach of this government is different, the intention is the same. The Peoples Partnership Government, was prepared to raid the treasury, to make themselves and their friends wealthy, while this government is prepared to say up front that they are going to sell out state assets. I have no doubt that when the smoke clears, the financiers of the party are going to be the main beneficiaries. 

What we have to understand, is that this is class war which the ruling class is preparing to wage on the working people. The first stage of the assault is to set ordinary people against each other. There are many persons who are unable to purchase shares from state companies which they own collectively with other citizens of the country. The question they are entitled to ask is: why should the state transfer much needed funds away from the people and into the coffers of a few. Is the interest of the individual far greater than those of the majority? How is the profit earned by the individual going to be translated into benefits for the majority?  The answer is in the negative. It will not! The only beneficiaries, will be the middle class and upper middle class who are aspiring to become capitalist. 

Notwithstanding the road along which Mr. Wilson wishes to take the working people of this country, it is not too late for the trade union movement to begin to mobilise its forces. We must begin to take steps to arrest the situation now. In that regard, we must begin to weed out all those who pretend to be fighting alongside the working class when, in fact, they have been agents of the ruling class all along. All I need to say, is by their deeds ye shall know them. Those who are currently close to them and those who have known them for years will be capable of recognising the damage which they have done to the development of a strong workers movement. 

If the movement is to make any positive strides forward, it cannot continue to have within its leadership such persons. Already, we are witnessing the damage which the leading unit has suffered at the hands of that element. The time has come for the leadership of that unit to make some hard decisions.

The strategy is to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That is why trade union leaders must begin to watch their backs, because the PNM is cleverer than the PP. And they already know how to play them. So we better take heed and come out and support the stand taken by the CWU not only by calling press conferences. We must begin to prepare for war. Anthony Wilson's assault is just the beginning. The privatization will be fast and furious and will be done under the cover of retrenchment. Don't say I did not warn you!

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