“The shutdown action now in place at immigration offices has threatened thousands with loss of jobs, scholarships and school places and inconvenienced thousands of citizens due to their inability to travel,” stated Griffith.
In a release yesterday, Griffith described the actions of the PSA as “unjust, inhumane and illegal”, adding that the people of this country were being held to ransom and hundreds of millions of dollars are at risk of being lost.
Griffith stated that in the best interest of the country and its citizens, the Government affirms its willingness to continue dialogue with the PSA and immigration officers in the hope that good sense will prevail in the interest of the country.
However, he added that other options will also be explored.
“Even as the Government pursues an amicable resolution to the issues, it will explore all its options to protect the public interest and ensure that this act of recklessness is brought to an end and is replaced by a more responsible, reasonable and legal approach to proper industrial relations practices,” stated Griffith.
The minister said the PSA’s charge of health issues in public buildings was merely a red herring being used by PSA president Watson Duke, to shut down operations at Immigration Offices and Piarco International Airport.
He noted that the real issue at hand was the current wage negotiations.
Griffith said the threatened closure of these critical public offices was having a crippling effect on society and the economy and endangering livelihoods and lives as even those requiring to leave for urgent medical attention were unable to do so.
He said that course of action taken by immigration officers was very unfortunate, as their first line of duty as an essential service was to the nation, in the very same way as the Police Service and Defence Force were so duty bound.
He stated further that families who had planned vacations long in advance had lost the opportunity with cancelled tickets and a great number of people requiring urgent medical attention abroad were also in dire danger.
Griffith said the on-going action had also resulted in tremendous loss of revenue for Trinidad and Tobago.