DOZENS of civic and political groups as well as ordinary citizens are expected to descend on Port of Spain today for the Joint Trade Union Movement’s (JTUM) “mother of all marches”, president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), Ancel Roget, said yesterday.
Roget said in its pre-march mobilisation exercises, JTUM was met with enthusiasm across Trinidad and Tobago for today’s procession and rally, which is intended to signal to Government that its handling of the country’s affairs is undesirable.
He has issued another call for anyone wishing to join in today to leave their homes and come out to “have their voices heard”.
Roget had previously said JTUM was not concerned with being perceived as having an affiliation with one group, as the exercise was an objective protest of “bad governance” and was open to all who objected to the stewardship of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
He said JTUM also does not foresee any clash between marchers and a rally planned for the International Waterfront by some UNC supporters at 11 a.m. today.
Roget said JTUM has fulfilled all requirements and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has granted permission for the gathering at Woodford Square at 1 p.m. and a march that will end with a rally on the Brian Lara Promenade.
The procession will leave Woodford Square and head west along Knox Street, south along St Vincent Street, east along Independence Square North, north along Abercromby Street, west along Oxford Street, south along St Vincent Street, east along Park Street, south along Frederick Street and then to the promenade.
The police have, however, forbidden the use of bull horns, music trucks, rhythm sections or mobile public address systems by the marchers.
All of the above activities will be taking against the backdrop of the sitting of the Parliamentary Chamber at Tower D on the Waterfront.
At least one group with a large membership has indicated it will not take part and has called on members to desist from joining the march.
President general of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union, Nirvan Maharaj, in a media statement yesterday, said though the union supports the issues raised by JTUM, including the implementation of the workers agenda and labour reform, it was the PNM that “shut down the sugar industry” and “refused and or neglected to implement the provisions of the Voluntary Separation Employment Programme (VSEP) Package in regards to lands for the ex-Caroni (1975 Ltd) workers”.
Among those expected to show support for the JTUM march today are:
- The People’s National Movement (PNM)
- The Independent Liberal Party led by Jack Warner
- Former People’s Partnership coalition member, the Movement for Social Justice, led by David Abdulah
- The Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU)
- Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and civic entities, including Fixin’ TnT
- The Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM)
- DA contingent from Tobago