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We need an intervention

Published: 
Monday, August 27, 2018

The “fight up” among this country’s politicians, unions and the general populace suggests that we need an intervention. And if we agree, then the discussion must be about what form such interventions should take.

Some time ago, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley invited Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to sit down to address issues confronting the country.

The hope then was that there would have been a genuine effort to show that the two sides could not only detail national challenges but start the work on resolving some of them. No sooner than the meeting ended, however, it was clear that neither side had made any real progress. To say that we were among the disappointed was the understatement of the decade.

The political environment in this country has become bitter and acrimonious with no room for the give and take, far less compromise.

It is an atmosphere that has permeated every level of our society, as evidenced in the rising tide of violence, now a daily feature of our news.

This is the same atmosphere that is now likely to poison the discussions about the future of Petrotrin this week.

Yesterday’s demonstration by the OWTU outside the official residence of the Prime Minister shows that the union has no faith in the Government and reduces any significant role for Dr Rowley.

At this stage, who can intervene to save the day? What can Ancel Roget, as head of the OWTU, do to set this situation on a positive path? Who can intervene in the interest of all concerned?

The options are scarce since both the critical figures in this tableau appear to have exhausted their options. At this stage, we can only hope that both sides will come to terms with the significant impact of further damage to Petrotrin. The board and management have devised a plan for recovery, and the union should commit to accepting their crucial role in addressing the strategic decisions to be made.

Timing is of the essence, so there is the requirement for good men and women to put aside slights and perceived differences and work not just to save Petrotrin but to ensure that the company is again able to contribute to the national purse.

The intervention we need must come from within the corridors of Government and the union.

Don’t let earthquake guard down

It is nearly one week since we “felt the earth shake right under our feet,” to borrow a light from the famous song by Carole King.

Both government and private sector interests have sought to allay the fears of those who occupy premises by securing safety certificates and providing assurances that public liability insurance is in place.

We must take advantage of this quake and its aftershocks to strengthen our resolve to be truly prepared.

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