MSJ accuses Hinds of bullying public servants

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MSJ leader David Abdulah. File photo/ Roger Jacob

The government’s attempt to demonise public utilities workers and suspend the scrap iron industry is a bullying tactic to mask its failure, according to political leader of the Movement for Social Justice, David Abdulah.

At a news conference on Sunday, Abdulah accused National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of making threats against WASA workers when he spoke about invoking the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) and Anti-Terrorism Act.

He said the threats are as a result of Government’s incompetence to treat with overwhelming crime.

He referred to last Friday’s news conference at which Hinds, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales and acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob spoke about the concentrated attacks on state assets, namely, WASA, TTEC and TSTT, for copper and scrap metals and the decision to place a ban on the export of the scrap iron for six months.

Hinds inferred that culprits had working knowledge of the installations vandalised and spoke about larger plots which may require the Anti-Terrorism Act to prosecute.

Police have offered a $100,000 reward for arrest and prosecution of vandals which, Jacob said, was beyond simple larceny.

“He (Hinds) was threatening people with all kinds of actions without a single shred of evidence,” Abdulah said.

“He spoke about action that could be taken under the IRA, well, the only persons who can be charged under the IRA are workers in that essential service.

“What you were doing, talking about the IRA and what action they could take, was threatening workers Fitzgerald Hinds.”

He said the “intelligence” Hinds touted last Friday, had not resulted in the reduction of serious crimes in this country.

“The murder rate is at a horrendous level. People are being killed every day. Wanton violence is taking place. Even police officers are being kidnapped and robbed. People are not safe in their homes.

“Home invasions, robberies on the streets of Port of Spain and elsewhere, car thefts and this so-called intelligence you have is not keeping citizens safe and securing TT.

“But you want to threaten people, including WASA workers with IRA and Anti-Terrorism Act?”

The MSJ has been engaged in dialogue with the Scrap Iron Dealers Association.

Abdulah said, “Had the Government acted at that time, it could have put the brakes on the stealing of copper from installations at WASA, TTEC, TSTT or Digicel lines.

“But you failed to do your work Mr Hinds. The Rowley Government failed to do its work by not taking advice.

“Government has fallen down on the job. It is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing, causing other people to lose their jobs, lose their livelihood, put small businesses in jeopardy and then blame others.

“We will not let them get away with that.”