Chaconia medal (Silver) recipient Rudranath Indarsingh says he is making no apologies for accepting the award.
Indarsingh, president of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers’ Trade Union, was one of two trade unionists who were awarded the Chaconia medal (Silver) for their contribution to the movement at the annual Independence awards ceremony at President’s House, St Ann’s, on Wednesday evening.
Caricom secretary general, Edwin Carrington, was the sole recipient of this nation’s highest award—the Trinity Cross.
However, Indarsingh has been criticised by some for accepting the award, in light of his strong stand on the Government’s handling of the now-defunct Caroni (1975) Ltd.
Yesterday, though, the outspoken trade unionist said he was not concerned about criticisms.
“People have never agreed with all that I have done and criticism is part of life, whether it is in public or positive or negative criticism,” he said in a telephone interview.
“You have to take the criticism, analyse and move on.
“An award does not change me...Rudranath Indarsingh will continue to be Rudranath Indarsingh.”
He said he had the right to make his political choice and support whomever he wanted.
“Since I have made my entry and, moreso, in the office of the president general of the union, there are people that have agreed with me.
“There are people who have criticised me and there are people who were indifferent to me.”
Indarsingh said he accepted the award on behalf of the union and not because of political affiliation.
“I consulted with the officers of the union and they gave me the go ahead. It’s something I didn’t just go and say ‘yes’ right out,” he said.
Meanwhile, former leader of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union, Francis Mungroo, said the award was long overdue.
He also defended trade unions, saying they were not losing their relevance.
“We appear to be on the decline because of certain productive processes that have emerged,” he said.
“I think the trade union is as strong as it ever was and I think it is also very much needed in our country at this time.”