PORT OF SPAIN — An estimated near 10,000 Trinidadians took to the streets of the capital today for a labour-led protest march against the coalition People’s Partnership government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar calling for early general elections and accusing her administration of selling out the labour agenda.
With heavy police security, the marchers, carrying placards in support of their calls for an early poll, chanted that the coalition, which came to power in the May 2010 general election, had betrayed the trust of the labour movement.
The protest had been organised by the Joint Trade Union Movement and according to David Abdulah, the secretary general of the powerful Oilfield Workers Trade Union, the turnout had been more than had been anticipated given that there were other activities such as the international cricket match between the West Indies and India at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Abdulah, whose Movement for Social Justic quit the coalition government last year after complaining that it had failed to keep its promise of implementing the “Workers Agenda”, said that the march was also to highlight the poor governance in the country.
“It is a march to deal with all the poor governance issues in the country, corruption, nepotism, discrimination and the non-implementation of the workers agenda which we signed which was the mandate given to my party to take into the People’s Partnership in 2010. Health, labour, education, all of these form part of the workers agenda,” he added.
“People are fed up and the demonstration is in keeping with the mood of the country, Abdulah said.
The unions had called the march during the Labour Day activities in June after it gave the Persad Bissessar government a failing grade.
Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, who led members of his People’s National Movement in the demonstration, said his party is here “in full support of the demonstration by the labour movement because we are in defence of those workers who have been victimised by the government. (CMC)