Last update: 09-Dec-2013 5:05 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Three transport heads face OSHA charges
The Public Services Association (PSA) has filed criminal charges against the three public officials in the Ministry of Transport, over an alleged violation of health and safety regulations at Licensing office, Port-of-Spain. The charges were filed in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on Monday and came less than a week after PSA president Watson Duke led a virtual shutdown of the Wrightson Road office last week.
The officials listed on the charges are Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz, Transport Commissioner Reuben Cato and the permanent secretary in the ministry, Verna Johnson. According to the documents filed in court, the PSA is alleging that the three parties are in violation of Section 26 (2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The charges were drafted by Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal.
The legislation requires the occupier of an industrial establishment to possess a certificate from the Fire Services related to the approval of the building’s fire escapes. The act makes it an offence to operate an establishment without a certificate and states that if found guilty of the offence, the occupier is liable to a $10,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment. It also provides for a $1,000 fine for each day the offence continues.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Duke confirmed that the charges had been filed and said his union was forced to do so after the three parties failed to address health and safety concerns raised by the PSA since December, last year. “Even up till now, nothing has been done,” Duke said. The parties are scheduled to appear in the Port-of-Spain Third Court on November 4.
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