Annisette ready to debate with PM on women, children

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Natuc general secretary Michael Annisette. –

NATIONAL Trade Union Centre (Natuc) general secretary Michael Annisette says he is ready to hold a public debate with the Prime Minister about which of them cares more for women and children in TT.

Annisette sent this signal to Dr Rowley before the start of a motorcade, organised by the Scrap Iron Dealers Association from the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba to Barataria on Wednesday.

The association had applied to end its motorcade (to protest the Government’s closure of the scrap iron industry for six months) at the Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, but was only allowed by the police to go as far as Barataria.

Annisette endorsed statements by Scrap Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson, Movement for Social Justice political leader David Abdulah, and Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) president Ancel Roget about the negative effect the industry’s closure would have on everyone directly or indirectly associated with it.

In doing so, Annisette resurrected an argument which he has with Rowley.

“I will continue to say that this Government is callous and insensitive to the women of Trinidad and Tobago. You (Rowley) could call for as much debate as you want, facts are facts and will remain facts.”

He argued that taking away the livelihood of any woman, any parent or child, is an insensitivity, dislike and an oppression to all of these people.

“That is what I mean when I make my particular statement.”

During a march by trade unions in Port of Spain on March 12, Annisette said, “Black (Afro-Trinidadians) people we strong. The People’s National Movement (PNM) will pay the price. We not taking four per cent. We going back to the ancestors…to Africa…for spiritual guidance.”

He also accused Dr Rowley of being disrespectful and not caring about women and children.

“This protest is not just about not taking four per cent.”

In a Facebook post on August 14, Rowley countered, “There is no four per cent offered to black and African people. That offer applies to all the public officers for whom the CPO is their employer, of all races, classes and creeds.

“Incidentally, the African ancestors to whom you appeal are also my ancestors.

“I notice that in carrying out your advocacy you have chosen to accuse me of being disrespectful and not caring about women and children,” the PM said.

“What have I ever done to cause you, of all people, to make such accusations against me?”

He challenged Annisette to a public discussion on caring and respect for women.

Roget agreed with Annisette.

“Keith Rowley is against women and children in this country by his very action. He is against women in the household, against women wherever to be able to provide (for their family) because the women are the centrepiece of the family, the centrepiece of the community.”

He said the closure of the scrap-iron industry is an attack on women and children.

“Those who are making these decisions, it does not affect their livelihood.”

Roget reiterated JTUM’s view that Government shuts down anything which it cannot manage.

In the case of the scrap-iron industry, Roget claimed Government has a plan to restructure it so that only a chosen few will benefit.

“When it resurfaces, it will not be in its original shape and form.”

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