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National shutdown a failure - Stuart

Published: 
Saturday, September 8, 2018
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Students of Sacred Heart Boy’s RC School play during their lunch break on their school compound, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday. Photo by:NICOLE DRAYTON

RADHICA DE SILVA

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National Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday applauded citizens for not heeding the call by the Joint Trade Union Movement to engage in a day of rest and reflection.

Speaking to reporters at the signing ceremony of a drydocking facility at the Lake Asphalt administrative building in La Brea, Young said from all indications the country operated like normal yesterday. However, he said the only area affected was schools.

“We want to applaud the rest of the population for acting responsibly. Everything is operating normally, our airports, our ports and the protective services, fire services, the police service and the Defence Force. T&TEC is normal, National Helicopter Services, Caribbean Airlines, all of this operated normally,” Young said.

Asked about Petrotrin’s operations, Young said there was a low turnout of workers there but this, he said, was expected. He also chastised a union leader for flying out to Miami on Thursday evening after rallying members and citizens all week for yesterday’s event.

Young also denied that army officers were deployed at Petrotrin.

“Our national security machinery has been working in the last four weeks. There was no need to deploy the army at Petrotrin,” Young added.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh also commended his staff for working yesterday. He said operations continued as normal in the nation’s hospitals.

However, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus declined to comment on the shutdown.

“My role is very clear under the Industrial Relations Act. This matter will end up before me so I will not make a public statement on this matter,” Baptiste-Primus said.

Asked whether she had turned her back on her former trade union comrades, Baptiste-Primus said, “I have not turned my back on the unions. I did remind my comrades in the union that I do not represent workers in the Cabinet, I represent citizens of T&T.

“In that context, I will also have to make a decision in the best interest of T&T. They are familiar with my position but I will not comment on this issue.”

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