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Trade Minister at TIC: PSA not being totally forthright about shutdowns
Trade Minister Vasant Bharath yesterday accused the Public Services Association (PSA) of not being fully honest about the industrial action at immigration offices throughout the country. “I believe there is more in the mortar beside the pestle,” Bharath said when he spoke with reporters at the opening of the 15th edition of the Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
“I do not believe it is an issue relating to health and safety. There have been no non compliance issues coming from OSHA. They have not said we should rectify any issues. We feel that the PSA is not being as open as they ought to be with these issues.” PSA president Watson Duke had warned of “all out war” if working conditions for Immigration Department workers were not improved. For several days immigration offices have been closed due to concerns raised by the union about health and safety issues.
Bharath, who pointed out that the action by the PSA is not related to wage negotiations, said: “We will continue as we have done in the last four years to negotiate in good faith. The Attorney General is looking at if the action of the PSA is legal.” Bharath said when the Government came to office they met several outstanding industrial disputes and settled all of them. “This is in all the space of four years, yet we have ongoing negotiations that we are negotiating with the unions,” he said.
Commenting on the TIC, the minister said the large number of booths reflected the importance of the annual trade show. Bharath admitted that T&T is not perfect and “has issues to resolve”. “When you look at all the problems we inherited and where are today, we have come a long way. T&T is well placed in the global scheme of things as a preferred investment venue,” he said.
“We have a T&T company that have gotten into Walmart. Carib is now intending to deliver something like quarter million cases of beer to the French market. We have the Chai Rum which is a luxury rum entering into the European luxury market. “We are creating opportunities for our manufacturers. It is the private sector that will drive growth and create employment,” Bharath said.