"Impossible, unreasonable and reckless."
This is how Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has described demands made over the past few months by political leader of the Movement for Social Justice, David Abdulah.
Persad-Bissessar made the comments in response to Adbulah's announcement yesterday that the MSJ will be withdrawing from the People's Partnership Government.
He also announced that he would be resigning as a Government Senator.
But the Prime Minister said his departure from the ruling Partnership had only "strengthened" the Government.
In a statement issued about five hours after Abdulah's announcement at the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union headquarters in San Fernando, Persad-Bissessar confirmed she was informed by Abdulah of the MSJ's intention to withdraw from the People's Partnership Government. (Read PM's full statement on Page 4).
Referring to Abdulah only by his first name, Persad-Bissessar confirmed she had received his letter of resignation.
"I respect the decision of the MSJ and David so to do," Persad-Bissessar said.
She did not address the question of who will replace Abdulah in the Senate.
But the Prime Minister had strong words for the manner in which he led the MSJ's participation in the Partnership in the months leading to the party's withdrawal.
"I am compelled to tell you that the list of demands made by David over the past few months were always impossible, unreasonable and reckless. It seems David's entrance into Government never allowed him the advantage of a national perspective. He remained trapped in isolationist thinking," Persad-Bissessar said.
In reference to Adbulah, the Prime Minister said: "You cannot negotiate governance like a labour union leader representing the interest of only one group. In Government your responsibility is larger than that; it seems not everyone can make the shift. As for David's accusations they are vacuous and without a shred of evidence."
She further said: "We have established a more transparent and accountable government than any other before. David's comments and criticism as a parting shot fired from the gun of a new political aspirant is an ambitious quest for power."
She thanked Abdulah for his service and wished him all the best but said her administration will "continue with our labour agenda regardless of the absence of the MSJ".
She said Labour Minister Errol McLeod, the MSJ's only MP in the House of Representatives, has a "life-long dedication with the struggles of the labour movement" that can never be challenged, and "remains as a huge resource within the People's Partnership Government".
"So in a sense, the Government can be strengthened by David's predictable but timely departure," Persad-Bissessar said.
Contacted for comment before the Prime Minister issued her press release, Foreign Affairs and Communications Minister Surujrattan Rambachan echoed her sentiments that the government was not surprised by yesterday's developments.
"So we are not ruffled by this, this at all. And we will continue to carry out our manifesto which is now as you know a policy document that has been laid in the Parliament," Rambachan said.
He linked previous statements made by Abdulah and Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTI) president general Ancel Roget to support his point.
"I think that both Roget and Abdulah had been telegraphing that they were going to leave the Partnership," Rambachan said.
He was asked about the impact of the MSJ's withdrawal on what is already a strained relationship between the Government and the labour movement.
"I think even when MSJ was a member of partnership you had the situation occurring at (Trinidad Cement Ltd), for example. I do not think that labour relationships between the Government and the labour movement are going to be affected by this at all," Rambachan said.
He said Government settled 36 industrial relations agreements in less than two years left over by the previous PNM administration.