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Roget: T&T economy stalled
The T&T economy has been stalled for two years and nobody is saying anything about it. So said president general of the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget on Friday as he spoke about the stewardship of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar People’s Partnership administration.
Asked about the issues which trade unions intend to discuss on Tuesday when they meet, Roget said, “The economy has been stalled for two years. It is at a standstill and nobody is saying anything about it. The business community is speaking in hushed tones about the fact the economy is stalled but publicly giving support to the Government.
“The boards at the state enterprises comprise mainly political appointees who know nothing about the entity. Therefore, those state enterprises suffer from a lack of competence, experience and professionalism. It is all about ‘eat-ah-food’ syndrome and attempting to get their friends into highly technical and operational positions.”
He also said throughout T&T there are complaints that nothing is happening. “The only ones who believe there is growth is the PM and her ministers, some of whom have suddenly become rich,” added Roget. Among the companies which he said suffered from “gross mismanagement, political interference and corruption” were Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, Petrotrin and National Petroleum.
“We are going to be championing good governance. It cannot work and it would not be allowed to prevail. It is unfortunate that official corruption did not end with the Peoples’ Partnership coming into government. It only accelerated. It is sad because corruption hurts everyone,” said Roget.
On July 26, 2011, Roget had locked horns with Persad-Bissessar over a wage dispute. He had declared there would be a nationwide strike after union leaders and Persad-Bissessar had failed to resolve the wage dispute during the meeting. “We maintain that while the Government had committed to put workers at the centre of development, the country’s workforce was placed at the centre of the attack by the Peoples’ Partnership. While they boast about supporting labour, that is empty rhetoric,” said Roget.
In the ongoing saga, Persad-Bissessar declared a State of Emergency (SOE) on August 21, 2011. Roget said the SOE affected workers who were only fighting for a just settlement at the bargaining table. “It was an unpardonable sin. Workers would not forget or pardon them. They betrayed us,” said Roget.
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