Roget calls for day of rest and reflection …JENNIFER: “NOT AT THIS TIME, PLEASE”

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Ancil Roget has called for a day of rest and reflection on September 7 – the third anniversary of the present PNM Government in office.

But right away, the Minister of Labour, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, a former PSA President, is against such a move.

In response to Roget’s call, Baptiste-Primus asked, “How would a day of rest and reflection assist the economy of Trinidad and Tobago?

“I do not believe that the reasonably hard working men would respond to shutting down the country. It would make matters worse than better.

“Everyone knows the state of the economy. This is not the time to make financial demands. It is not my responsibility to make the unions act responsible.”

On Tuesday, during Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad, Roget gave the Government a failing grade in their handling of the economy and crime.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was also graded and along with all the categories, he received an F.

Roget said there was a need to send a powerful message to ensure that they do the job they were hired to do.

He added, “So today in the spirit of the ‘Butlerite’ tradition and in the interest of our country, we are declaring Friday, September 7, 2018, a day of rest and reflection.

“It will be a day to rest and reflect to say to the Prime Minister and his government that we are not accepting crime and gruesome murders, we are not accepting the sending home of workers, we are not accepting your disrespect for labour.”

He continued, “We maintain that ours is a sacred duty to provide a voice for the voiceless and we stand in defence of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.”

Roget criticized the Government’s handling of crime and employment, which was the focus of this year’s rally. He read from the PNM’s 2015 general elections manifesto and compared their promises to their performance.

Minister of Public Utilities, Robert Le Hunte and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Nicole Olivierre, were in the audience at Fyzabad.

Roget said citizens could no longer relax, socialise, drink a beer or ride in a maxi taxi without the fear of being attacked by criminals. He said in the PNM’s manifesto, they criticized the People’s Partnership’s handling of crime, high murder rate and the proliferation of firearms on the streets.

Roget pointed out that in the three years of the PNM, crime had become worse and people felt more unsafe than before. He said that in 2016 there were 463 murders, 494 in 2017 and 263 in 2018 to date. This has led to Canada, United Kingdom and the USA issuing negative travel advisories for Trinidad and Tobago.

He said that while the union agreed that dealing with crime was everyone’s responsibility, it was the Government who was responsible for protecting the porous border, upgrading the national security apparatus and prison reform.

He said people were also afraid of losing their jobs. He said under the PNM,  thousands of workers were retrenched.

With respect to health, Roget said that after three years under PNM governance, healthcare was in crisis with patients having to wait more than 24 hours for a bed and years for surgery or bear the high cost of medicine because the hospitals were out of stock.

He said life-saving equipment was not being maintained so the only alternative was to go to high-priced nursing homes, which regular people could not afford. He said the Government refused to open the Couva hospital because of spitefulness and political wickedness while people continued to suffer.

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