Government has no business talking about plans to build a high-class hotel in Port of Spain when there are job losses, wage demands and spiralling crime, says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Speaking yesterday at a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office on Charles street, Port of Spain, Persad-Bissessar lambasted the Keith Rowley-led Government which she said has collapsed.
She further chastised the Government for letting the Petrotrin strike action reach a crisis point and knocked the Prime Minister’s plans to construct a hotel in the capital city when all of these problems grip society.
“Today you have workers at Petrotrin and elsewhere who have not been given a cent...and the Government seems not to be concerned, and why would any Government want to get involved in the building or creation of any high class hotel when you have job losses, you have crime out of control?” she asked.
She said the land for the hotel’s construction might be one of the most “lucrative assets” in Port of Spain and the “super elites” were a priority for the Government when the “ordinary man” cannot find food to put on the table.
She noted that Government has a four-day window opportunity to meet with Petrotrin workers before they move to shut down the country.
Still time to avert strike
The former prime minister said that it is not today this issue has a sticking point and she questioned why the Government did not meet with the workers prior to this stage.
“Why is it the Government did not intervene prior to all of this for discussions with the workers...If the Government had continued the action against Malcolm Jones for example, perhaps $2 million might have been recovered,” she said.
“I think this crisis could have been averted, there is still time to avert the crisis, let’s hope good sense prevails on all sides,” she said.
However, Persad-Bissessar said that there was a “break down” of the collective bargaining process with the entire public sector when Finance Minister Colm Imbert made his infamous “zero, zero, zero” statement.
“I do believe there will be some rapport and some rapprochement that could be reached within the four-day opportunity and hopefully the Government can move to avert any sort crisis,” she added.
Persad-Bissessar said there is a break down of governance and it is reflected in the Government’s inability to manage crime.
“If you are dead what does it matter if you get zero or 20 per cent? That to me is the most critical factor,” she said.