“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Parts of the $500 million National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) remain closed and unmanned by workers. The Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA) condemned portions of the facility, which opened just five years ago, on August 6. The Sunday Guardian understands workers attached to Napa were not members of any union but quickly signed with the Public Services Association (PSA) to highlight the failings at the iconic building.
In a telephone interview with the Sunday Guardian, PSA head Watson Duke confirmed that the shutdown was still in effect. He said no information had been forthcoming from Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas. Duke said the union wanted to facilitate health visits for affected workers. “This particular executive of the Government has taken the position that they will not listen to anyone and that they will stand or fall on their own advice. So what we have is that they are advising themselves,” Duke said.
He said specialised investigations have been done into what is causing workers to experience respiratory problems, itchy skin or chesty coughs. “What they do is send you to a doctor who says breathe in, breathe out, tap your knee and say all is good. There is no toxicology, no full pulmonary chest examinations, no biopsy on those cases where it is necessary,” he said. Duke said the matter would not end there.
“We are pursuing the matter legally,” he said. Workers at Napa, speaking on condition of anonymity, said over the past week maintenance crews moved several carts of fibreglass out of the building and dumped it in external bins. They said nothing had been done about the stagnant water that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Douglas did not respond to several calls from the Sunday Guardian.