MSJ: Government returning Trinidad and Tobago to ‘massa’ rule

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MSJ political leader David Abdulah.

DECLARING the present government is seeking to return the country to the colonial days, Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah has called on warrior workers to unite and fight against recolonisation.

“MSJ is saying to the working people and the trade unions of TT that all of which was won as a result of the struggle of 1937, is now under threat from this Rowley PNM Government.

“On this 85th anniversary of June 19, 1937, the MSJ is saying to the workers of TT, you have to once get that spirit of the warrior workers of 1937. Those workers were united in struggle, united to take disciplined mass action in defence of their interest.”

He said the warriors of 1937 had no racial barriers and were not blinded by the politics of race and religion as they are today by the two dominant political parties.

“We need to unite as warrior workers, to have a revolution of the mind, to break free of ethnic loyalty that has prevented us from taking collective, disciplined mass action.”

He said the MSJ is ready to lead that decisive action to set this country on the right road, “because where we are going under this Rowley Government, is down a road where few benefit tremendously and the majority are sucking salt.”

Delivering his Labour Day message from his MSJ Marabella office on Friday, Abulah said while there have been bad governments over the years, “This Rowley PNM Government is the worst government we have had.

“They are seeking to return us to conditions not far different (from those) of 1937.

“We don’t say that lightly,” Abdulah noted. “The facts are there. The economy is being more and more controlled by the massas of yesterday.”

He submitted that the late Dr Eric Williams’s declaration in 1962 that “Massa day done” no longer holds under Rowley.

“Massa day eh done, people of TT, workers. We are saying that the Rowley Government is seeking to return massa to the power that massa had before.”

He argued, “All of the energy companies are back. BP and Shell, which left in the 1960s and 1970s, are back here big time. Our natural gas industry is controlled by foreign nationals once again.”

Even the refinery, he pointed out, “which was once owned by the people of TT, is now to be sold by the Rowley Government or given to another foreign company.”

He bemoaned that this arrangement is far from transparent.

Similar to the energy sector, he said the banking sector is also returning to the hands of foreign nationals, giving as an example the formerly nationally owned RBTT, which is now the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

Not only are big multi-national companies coming back into this country, but he said the “local massas, who own conglomerates and big corporations are controlling more and more of the wealth.

“Wealth is being concentrated more and more in the hands of a few rather than benefiting the majority for the common good, as the Constitution requires. That is why we are saying the country is going backwards.”

Abdulah observed fewer workers are unionised today because of union-busting by the Government.

The shutting down of state-owned Petrotrin to get rid of its representing union, the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), and the retrenchment of port, telephone, water workers were testament to that, he said.

He described the restructuring of these state agencies as an agenda to get rid of trade unions, the collective agreement, unionised labour and, return workers to casual and temporary employment without benefits.

“Pension plans are no longer there, medical plans for workers and so many other benefits workers fought for and won from 1937 to now are being reversed as we return to the conditions where massa is in charge.

“This Rowley Government is seeking to restructure the society of TT in a way that is going to get us further and further down the road of barbarism.

“That is why so many of our young people are frustrated and angry, why they are turning to violence, because they are being denied proper access to equitable educational opportunities.”

While many are in school, he said the majority is failing because they are not well equipped to enter school. Those who succeed and graduate from colleges and universities are denied employment opportunities and are equally frustrated.