Late trade unionist/community worker Michael Ronald Als was honoured with a posthumous Chaconia Medal Silver at the National Awards ceremony for Trinidad and Tobago’s 52nd anniversary of Independence on Sunday at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
Als was also the founder of the NGO, the Toco Foundation.
While president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget paid tribute to Als, he felt trade unionists deserve more respect.
Via a telephone interview on Saturday, Roget said: “OWTU supports that move. We want to congratulate Als’ family and his brother, comrade Mario Als. But we feel it is a ‘drop in the bucket’ for trade unionists. Without labour we would not have had the type of economic advancements, the country has enjoyed over the years. We feel it is not enough.”
Roget added, “Labour ought to be more recognised and celebrated. The People’s Partnership continues to demonstrate disregard and betrayal for the labour movement. That is something we are not taking lightly. We will not forgive or forget. We also take note of their refusal to implement the Worker’s Agenda and to bring labour legislation to the Parliament.”
Taking a jab at the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2014, Roget said: “Instead, they are bringing legislation to steal the election.”
n An excerpt from a tribute to Als from the Toco Foundation submitted to the Office of the President:
“He possessed courage to stand up for ordinary people and had a particular drive to ensure the benefits of development for the people.
“The foundation has served as a testament to his unflinching desire to improve the lives of others. Als contributed much to the cause of both national and regional development. He backed up his views with many
strategic initiatives and concrete projects especially through the Foundation’s work as well as in his writings, publications and other artistic involvements.”
“He was internationally recognised for his significant ground-breaking role in the
development of community media in the Caribbean, his always potent contribution to public debate on the social and natural environment, and biting commentaries on community development.”