Tuesday, August 30, 2005

National Award for sugar union boss

National Award for sugar union boss
Tuesday, August 30 2005

ALL TRINIDAD Sugar and General Workers Trade Union (ATSGWTU) president-general Rudranath Indarsingh has been tipped to receive the Chaconia Silver medal at tomorrow evening’s National Awards ceremony at President’s House at 7 pm.

Newsday has been reliably informed that Indarsingh will receive the Chaconia Silver medal for his contribution to the trade union movement and, more specifically, for championing the cause of Trinidad and Tobago’s sugar industry and its workers.

Indarsingh succeeded Boysie Moore-Jones as ATSGWTU leader in 1999, and had been at the forefront of several battles between the union and successive UNC and PNM governments over the restructuring of State sugar company, Caroni (1975) Ltd and how to ensure that the interests of its 10,000 workers were protected.

After the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd in 2003, then agriculture minister John Rahael indicated that former Caroni workers would be given first preference for Caroni lands for agriculture and housing. The management of Caroni’s 77,000 land acreage was then transferred to the Estate Management Business Develop-ment Company.

Cabinet conferred the responsibility of overseeing the distribution of Caroni lands to former sugar workers to Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Christine Sahadeo.

From 2003 to 2005, Indarsingh has repeatedly called on the Government to clearly outline its plans for restructuring the sugar industry, training former Caroni workers to find other types of employment, and to honour its land promises to those workers. In April, Sahadeo promised that the approximately 7,000 former Caroni workers would start receiving their lands by July. This promise was reinforced by Prime Minister Patrick Manning at Indian Arrival Day celebrations at St Helena in June.

However, Indarsingh remained unconvinced by Manning’s statements and continued to insist that Government give an actual date for former Caroni workers to receive their lands.

At an August 18 post-Cabinet news conference at Whitehall, Sahadeo announced that the 7,000 ex-Caroni workers would start receiving their promised lands on August 19 at La Paille Village in Caroni by way of a lottery system. That distribution took place in La Paille on August 19 for 500 ex-workers and subsequent distributions have been scheduled. Sahadeo said Government has given the commitment that in the case of deceased workers, their families will be considered for the lands they were promised.

When contacted yesterday, Indarsingh declined to comment about receiving a national award.

No comments:

Post a Comment