PM critical of Claxton Bay protest

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

This driver exited his vehicle as he was confused about the gridlock traffic. He, like many motorists leaving south Trinidad, had to withstand traffic on Monday as protesters in Claxton Bay used sand and set tires on fire, blocking both North and South bound lanes of the highway. – Marvin Hamilton

The Prime Minister has thrownjabs at Ancel Roget, president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, as well as the UNC, for the latest protest over the recently implemented six-month ban on the export of scrap iron.

On Monday, Dr Rowley said in a Facebook post at 9.04 am, “So they have made their move. Dump truckloads of sand and debris on both sides of the highway and block traffic!”

Scrap-iron workers blocked both lanes of the Solomon Hochoy Highway in Claxton Bay from 3 am on Monday, causing gridlock traffic as far as Corinth.

The protesters dumped loads of sand along the highway and burnt tyres and other debris to highlight their frustration over the ban.

Traffic began flowing by 9 am as the areas were cleared.

The workers have held a string of protests in the Claxton Bay area in the last two weeks. They are demanding that the Government rethink the ban and threatened more action if their demands are ignored.

Earlier this month, the Government imposed the ban to deal with the theft and vandalism of state and private assets nationwide.

Rowley went on, “What a wonderful idea of leadership from Roget and the followers, including the UNC! The marauding gangs of metal thieves threatened to, but did not complete the job of shutting down the country, so the leaders are helping them to get that done.”

Like other trade union leaders, Roget had condemned the Government for the ban and called for the industry’s immediate reopening.

The UNC has also criticised the Government for the ban.

On August 16, days after it took effect, Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal referred to it as senseless. He accused the Government of arbitrarily shutting down the industry.

“Instead of banning exports by the entire sector, the Government should have strengthened law enforcement measures and strengthened its resolve to stamp out illegal operations,” the opposition MP said.