Reprised after 37 years at Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook, Lester Efebo Wilkinson’s Bitter Cassava is just as relevant today as it was in 1979 when premiered by Mausica Folk Theatre.
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Police wage talks head for labour court
Wage negotiations between the Police Service and the Chief Personnel Officer are taking a new twist, as the matter is heading for the Industrial Court. President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar presented a letter to Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis yesterday. According to Ramesar, the letter called on Lewis to recognise there was a dispute resulting from failed negotiations and demanded that the matter be referred to Finance Minister Winston Dookeran. Ramesar said he firmly believed that negotiations had permanently stalled and that the matter be referred to the special tribunal of the Industrial Court.
Ramesar said Lewis was adamant that her offer of five per cent wage increase was the final figure, adding that police officers were not prepared to accept it. “We are calling on the Chief Personnel Officer to refer the matter to the special tribunal,” Ramesar said. “We are at a stage where we must recognise there is a dispute.” In the letter, Ramesar also expressed disappointment that Lewis was unwilling to move beyond the five per cent offer. “I also indicated that security officers working at private firms such as Petrotrin were earning far more and collecting greater benefits than police officers,” he said. He also noted that he called on Lewis to extend the Special Responsibility Allowance of First Division officers to other designated “hot spots” as identified by the state of emergency.
“At present, that allowance is paid to First Division officers in Port-of-Spain, Western, Northern and North-Eastern divisions. “We called on the CPO to recognise the other areas as declared by the National Security Council, but she was unwilling to do so,” Ramesar said. In his letter, Ramesar also made mention of Section 26, 27, 29 and 30 of the Police Service Act to the CPO. “It is in that context that I pointed out to her the period that had elapsed and her unwillingness to move from five per cent and, as such, we ought to admit we have a dispute and the matter must be brought to the attention of the Finance Minister,” Ramesar said. He also called on Lewis to settle outstanding allowances before the end of the year so that officers could enjoy Christmas to some extent.
Allowances already settled
• VIP protection
• Bomb expert
• Plain clothes
• Special plain clothes
• Tobago responsibility
• Additional meal
• Legal unit
• Special proficiency
• Decomposed body
• Field training
• Special responsibility
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