Friday, December 15, 2017

Day of tribute for OWTU's Blades

MEMBERS of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) spent the day yesterday paying tribute to its first general secretary, Elbert Redvers Blades, who died last Thursday.

Blades was 110 and was born long before the OWTU was formed in 1937.

He was a recipient of the OWTU's highest honour, "the Labour Star", as well as other awards such as the Trinidad and Tobago Hummingbird Medal (Silver) in 1998 and the Republic Day Award in 2007. He also played a key role in the formation of the All Trinidad Sugar and Factory Workers' Trade Union (ATSGWTU).

And he was part of the central executive of the People's National Movement (PNM) party under the leadership of the country's first prime minister, Dr Eric Williams.

Yesterday, a memorial ceremony was conducted at the Petrotrin Forest Reserve canteen in Fyzabad. The first meeting of the OWTU was held at the Forest Reserve.

In July, it was also at that location where a play called Genesis of the OWTU was conducted to honour the founding members of the union. It was the last union activity Blades participated in.

After the ceremony at the canteen, Blades' body was carried to the OWTU Butler Hall of the Revolution in Fyzabad for viewing.

The day ended with another function at the OWTU head office, Paramount Building, in San Fernando .

Blades's funeral service takes place today at the St Jude's Anglican Church in Arima at 2 p.m. His body will be laid to rest at the Arima Anglican Cemetery.