President of the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) Afra Raymond has said he was curious as to why Chinese contractors had never advertised for positions in the newspapers when local labour laws were governed by that stipulation. He made the comment on Wednesday night at the Unconquered Conversation Series at The Cloth Propaganda Space, Belmont.
The Unconquered Series is a series of conversations about life, art, politics, community and action.
A talk was also given by author Dr Kevin Browne, who urged Caribbean people to appreciate the beauty of the vernacular and dialect and simple spaces like markets.
Raymond said: “We have work permit laws. Our work permit laws stipulate if you are employing people in Trinidad, you have to advertise. Are you saying there is no one on the island who has the prerequisite expertise? You have to get a work permit to bring in workers. When you are on the site everybody is Chinese.”
Raymond added: “Has anyone ever seen a Chinese contractor advertise? I am yet to see an ad for any of these contractors advertising the need for employment. The work permit law is you are supposed to advertise for a job. And if you cannot get it from here, then you can’t get it elsewhere. How are they (Chinese) getting work permits, if nobody advertised for the jobs? When are we going to make assertive demands? We have to block power structures for a reason.”
Raymond also said “cruel...wicked things” were happening at the Immigration Detention Centre, at Aripo.
The Unconquered Series began in January and it has been looking at women’s work in communities. It has previously featured acclaimed author Earl Lovelace (Salt) talking about culture and a conversation with traditional masquerader Black Indian masman Nari Approo.
During his contribution, Browne spoke about his research into contemporary rhetoric theory.
He said “It was a multi-faceted struggle. It is a vision of Caribbean identity and life that is so rich. We need to develop an idea of our own rhetoric. We have our own vernacular and dialect.”
Browne spoke about the grand time he spent with the Paramin Blue Devils, custodians of traditional mas. He also engaged market vendors plying their wares.
He said: “We take these experiences for granted. It is regular for us. If you are using somebody else’s lens, then it will not. It is about developing another way of looking into the community.”