Police were called to the Cunupia dormitory of the Beijing Liujing employees yesterday morning after a group of political activists were barred from entering the compound to distribute food. The presence of the guards and their actions, evoked concerns that the Chinese employees were being held in prison-like conditions. However the security guards denied these allegations. The concerns were raised by Sunil Ramjitsingh, an official at Jack Warner's Chaguanas West Constituency Office, who was among the group who visited the camp, off Chatee Road, Cunupia. He said the group comprised activists from the United National Congress and Congress of the People.
Ramjitsingh said: "When we got there, the gate was locked. The workers saw us and were calling us. They were locked inside. There were company officials inside and they would not let the Chinese come outside. "You could see the panic and duress on their faces. There was a high stench of urine and faeces emanating from the camp." He said members of the media were also blocked from entering. Ramjitsingh said they had to unpack the food stuff and throw it over the wall for them to get it. He said one labourer who could speak a little English asked for a doctor. "It look like someone was sick and needed medical attention." Ramjitsingh said he eventually called the police. "The police came and went inside, but because of the language barrier, it was difficult for them to understand. But the officers said they will look into the situation."
"My own concern is that it seems the workers there have been imprisoned. The Commissioner of Police and the Minister of National Security should look into this." The labourers have been making headlines since they protested on Tuesday because they were not being paid. Since then, concerns have been raised about the unsanitary conditions at the camp. When the T&T Guardian visited, two Chinese were walking freely out of the camp. Another labourer was gathering crops near the wall outside the camp to cook. Unable to speak english, one of them wrote with a stone on the wall "$23,000," and pointed to all of them.
Security denies allegations
One of the security guards, who refused to divulge his name or the name of his security firm, denied that the chinese were being held hostage. "That is totally incorrect. We are here to make sure no one from the public comes in without authorisation, but the Chinese are free to come and go." He added: "All they want is their money and they want to go home."