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Unions must temper reply

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The counter-action to the Government’s decision to support the Petrotrin board’s restructuring plan began in earnest yesterday with the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) announcing a planned nationwide protest action next Friday in support of their colleagues in the energy sector now facing uncertain futures.

Given the possible upheaval which may develop from the Petrotrin board’s decision to shut down refinery operations and send home 1,700 workers, it was to be expected that their comrades in other unions would show some form of solidarity. After all, in the current economic scenario of the country there is no certainty that the affected workers will find jobs within the energy sector or other fields anytime soon. The displacement of so many workers is therefore likely to have major economic and social effects on the society.

However, now that the unions have clearly declared open war on the Government, this newspaper hopes that they will also temper some of their action with common sense.

Indeed, while it seems clear that there is bitterness over the negotiation process between the Petrotrin board and the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), is it absolutely necessary for TTUTA to shut down the school system at the start of the new year to make an immediate point, given that the unions have already telegraphed another looking shutdown later this year?

Flawed reasoning Mr Seales

Police Social and Welfare Association boss Michael Seales is now on record as saying the body is arguing for new state-of-the-art uniforms for officers because it will be harder for the criminal element to replicate them for use in nefarious activities. Seales and his body made the argument, among others of course, during a meeting with new Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith on the issue earlier this week.

While this newspaper is all for enabling officers with the equipment to conduct their duties efficiently, we are not buying this argument from Mr Seales.

This is because one of the ways in which the criminal element acquires use of such police equipment is from the source itself - by way of rogue officers in the Police Service who rent their equipment to criminal gangs. This is why John Public is now so confused about whether persons they see in “official” police uniforms are bonafide police. Of course, the problem is not unique to the Police Service, the T&T Defence Force also having had similar issues.

We hope therefore that the discussion between Seales’ body and Griffith, in addition to weighing whether the state can finance such an exercise at this juncture, also factored in means by which to monitor and root out the police officers who engage in such unscrupulous acts.

Rally behind T&T women

Trinidad and Tobago women’s footballers have had a brilliant 2-0 start at the Women’s Caribbean Football Union qualifiers for the Concacaf Zone’s World Cup final round. They beat Antigua and Barbuda 5-0 in their latest match in Jamaica but need our support and prayers to succeed in their quest for ultimate success - qualification for the next phase in Mexico.


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