Port of Spain
President-general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget said former prime minister Basdeo Panday should not accept the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s highest award. He also said the country was in dire need of good governance while attending the vigil to show solidarity for protesters of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 on Monday night outside Parliament at the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.
Roget was accompanied by other senior members of the OWTU executive, including education and research officer Ozzi Warwick, general council member Raymond Huggins, vice-presidents Sati Gajadhar-Inniss and Gregory Marchan; and Jennifer Charles, assistant general secretary. Last Thursday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, the Order would be conferred on former prime ministers Patrick Manning and Panday for distinguished service.
The Independence Awards are scheduled to take place this Sunday from 6 p.m. at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. Taking to his Facebook page Manning declined because he said she had attacked his character, and he was offended by the process by which he had learned about the nomination. Asked to share his sentiments on the awards, Roget said: “We have no problem with the awards. But it is one of the highest marks of disrespect for the proposed recipients.
“Manning refused it. We think it is a laudable move. We expect Panday to do likewise. The PM (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) has no moral authority to offer any awards to anyone. It is political gimmickry and trickery.” Roget added: “At the same time, you are saying Manning was the worst PM. Something has to be wrong with UNC (United National Congress) logic. Manning refused to accept it on principle and we expect Panday to do likewise. She has no authority to offer anybody awards.
“It is political gimmickry to offer it to both former prime ministers. Something has to be wrong with the twisted UNC logic. She is attempting to fool the country.” Roget said he and his executive were also joining the protest against the run-off provision because it was necessary to “raise the level of consciousness and awareness of all the citizens”.