Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar has told the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, its president general Ancel Roget and David Abdulah to take their ultimatums elsewhere and said she and her party will not be blackmailed to remain silent on issues of national importance.
Yesterday Persad-Bissessar responded to a 48-hour ultimatum by the union for the opposition to state its position on the Patriotic Energies and Technology Company winning the bid to acquire the refinery or face the force of the union.
She said, “The UNC did not close down Petrotrin! Ten thousand permanent, temporary and contracted Petrotrin workers lost their jobs due to the failures of Keith Rowley on one side and the Ancel Roget, David Abdulah tandem on the other side. These men need to acknowledge that they presided over this mess, take responsibility and cease looking for a scapegoat to save face.”
Persad-Bissessar said any transaction involving public property to private sector entities must be done with full transparency and she called on Roget, Abdulah and the OWTU to understand that they are now private businessmen.
“Had this transaction been between an entity associated with the UNC and the government or an entity deemed owned by the so called 1% and the government, both men, as well as the OWTU, would be protesting for transparency and accountability. Everyone must be held to the same standard!”
Persad-Bissesar said, “Hiding behind threats and allegations against the UNC may seem from their perspective, to be an effective way of deflecting attention from the questions their own union members have concerning their loss of jobs. They have never explained their failure to protect the Petrotrin workers, some of whom committed suicide, lost their homes and their families.”
However, the Opposition warned against any threats to her and her party.
“Don’t be mistaken, the UNC and I will not be blackmailed by anyone to remain silent on issues of public interest in order to gain support for any election. We are about plans and policies to get our country working again.”