Thursday, July 4, 2013

Don't join that march, Kamla says; calls labour march political plot to undermine government

Kamla Persad-Bissessar
"Those of you who love T&T, don't join that march!"

That was the message to citizens that came from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar Monday night when she slammed into the organisers of Friday's march to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Persad-Bissessar was speaking at a political meeting in Caroni.

In a lengthy address in which she explained why Jack Warner was not selected to run as the candidate for the Chaguanas West byelection, she singled out the labour march scheduled and called the leadership "hypocrites" for mounting a march against a government that has been very supportive of workers.
She noted the government's settlement of 66 of 75 labour agreements in the past three years and reminded her audience that it was the People's Partnership government that raised the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $12.50 an hour.
"The PNM wants you to believe that we are anti-worker but the records tell the true story," she said. 

"And now with no plan and no idea of how to run a government they are teaming up with the Joint Trade Union Movement to march to Port of Spain.
What they marching for?" she asked. 

Persad-Bissessar pointed out that while labour leaders were making all kinds of statements against the government they were ignoring one of the people who has fought for worker rights for decades. 

"We have in our Cabinet a man who has fought all his life for greater benefits for workers here at home and in the region. Brother Errol McLeod is the man who has been leading the charge to make sure workers have the best deal ever. 

"But the labour movement is ignoring all that Brother McLeod has done and is carrying on with what is clearly a political agenda to try to destabilise your government," Persad-Bissessar said. 

She also gave the labour movement a history lesson and said the same way they have forgotton McLeod they have ignored Adrian Cola Rienzi.

"Adrian Cola Rienzi and Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler are the co-founders of the labour movement as we know it today. But those who parade as union leaders today would never give Rienzi his just due and that is why on Labour Day they deliberately omit Rienzi from their greetings and salutations.
"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago finally honoured the memory of Adrian Cola Rienzi for the 50th anniversary of independence last year by awarding him posthumously the Order of Trinidad and Tobago – our nation’s highest award."

Rienzi was the first President General of the OWTU while at the same time serving as the President General of the All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Trade Union.

She said, "Rienzi was the person who epitomized the true unity of labour that none of today’s leaders could ever hope to accomplish because they are too divisive in pretending to help workers when they deny their own history."

She attacked the PNM for jumping on the labour bandwagon to march and said the march is about 
political expediency. "Abdulah said publicly that the PNM was the problem and now all of a sudden they hugging up."

The PM also reminded her audience that the OWTU has declared that it would do everything it can to bring down your government.

"This march is by a political movement that is bringing together people who pretend to represent workers but in reality it is no more than a political move to try to embarrass your government when we are hosting 14 leaders of the Caribbean and three presidents," she said.

She lamented that when she embraced labour in 2010 she was unaware that some of them were closet PNM supporters looking for a movement to hijack.

"Well I tell you tonight there is no way that I would let them hijack the People’s Partnership Government," Persad-Bissessar said. 
"My sisters and brothers, the PNM would do anything for power and they only look after their own." 

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai