Thus a question arises for the leaders of the MSJ. How come certain activists, veterans, stalwarts, solid soldiers in the labour movement are not seen within your party ranks? People who are still alive, willing to serve and are serving their brethren; proven lieutenants in the proletarian army. I will list a number of names from the top of my head, of people who served during the decades of the 60s to the 90s.
With no intent to classify based on age, or seniority in the ranks, I hope my name calling will not offend those mentioned or those left out. In the North there were Jimmy Singh, Cecil Paul, Fano Jimenez, Alva Allen, Kathy Ann Jones, Christopher Abraham, Gentle Gibson, Wesley Felix, Glen Ramjag, Keith Look Loy.
In Central there were: Ramdeo Boodram, Sylvan Wilson, Rae Samuel etc. In the South there were individuals such as Gerry Kangalee, Brendan Moore, Yvonne Massey and Patrick Williams. In the East Wayne Stephens, Man Man Edward, etc.
These individuals were encapsulated by pockets or groups throughout the East/West corridor, in Guayaguayare, Point Fortin, La Brea, San Fernando, Point Lisas, and industrial committees in Pointe a Pierre, Fed Chem, now called Yara, Bermudez, Holiday Foods, TTEC; community groups such as Block Up. Certainly a few hundred tried and tested men and women activists from various sectors of the society with their own newspaper and internal structure.
Over that 30 year period there was CPTU (Council of Progressive Trade Unions) a total national shutdown, SOPO and of course the pervasive influence of George Weekes, Lennox Pierre and a couple others.
It was the period when McLeod as President of the OWTU was challenged in a ‘national’ election and beaten not only at his workplace i.e. rejected by the union staff at Paramount Building – the union’s headquarters, but at Point a Pierre, his former workplace and even throughout Trinidad. Just to complete the anecdote he was declared the winner based on the votes from Tobago where it was alleged he won by some 400 votes to his opponent’s single digit number.
Yes, McLeod and Abdulah were around so they became public figures based on their status in their union but after going through CLS then MOTION and now to morph into MSJ it is pure, unadulterated opportunism for their personal benefit and those given a bligh on various state boards.
But you know something. How would people like Joseph Remy and Vincent Cabrera answer this question? Well let me give my take on the original question: How come certain activists, veterans, stalwarts, solid soldiers in the labour movement are not seen within your party ranks?
In my research and interviews the common denominator is that they were all clear that any group, party or movement has to be built from the bottom-up and not how you all did it. A few ambitious men met in the proverbial backroom, realized that there is a vehicle to jump on as a passenger via electoral politics to enter parliament, quickly formed a party and voila! Manning did the rest in May 2010. History awaits the outcome with pen in one hand and a dustbin in the other.