Rudranath Indarsingh Member of Parliament for Couva South.

Rudranath Indarsingh Member of Parliament for Couva South and Shadow Responsibility for the Ministry of Labour says that the government is now undoubtedly on a sinister plot to undermine Lake Asphalt and its workers. He also says that images of workers at Lake Asphalt Limited on their knees, begging for their just dues after weeks without being paid will be a defining image of the PNM administration. Details follow in this press release. 

I shuddered to see how the labour movement and the working class have been reduced to their knees by the PNM administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.  

Images of workers at Lake Asphalt Limited on their knees, begging for their just dues after weeks without being paid will be a defining image of this PNM administration, which is now undoubtedly on a sinister plot to undermine the company and its workers.  

It is not fathomable under any circumstances that the Prime Minister, line Minister for Lake Asphalt- Minister of Energy Stuart Young, Finance Minister Colm Imbert and other Cabinet cronies presided over a Government in which Lake Asphalt has been allowed to denigrate into a corporate question mark, and where the bread and butter of the company’s workers do not materialize to even crumbs.  

The Prime Minister and his Government continue to live off the fat of the land, while workers are now starving for weeks on end with no pay, no ability to feed their families and honour their commitments. 

Why has the Cabinet not made public the report of the Cabinet Sub Committee into Lake Asphalt, which was chaired by the Minister of Public Administration Allyson West? Why it is that months later, the report is still being hidden by Cabinet? What are the Prime Minister, the Minister of Energy and the Cabinet hiding? 

It is unbelievable that since being appointed Minister of Energy earlier this year, that Minister Stuart Young would preside over a situation in which workers are not paid in weeks. What is the real reason for this? 

It is unbelievable that the Minister of Labour, Stephen Mc Clashie, who is also the Member of Parliament for La Brea, a sitting Cabinet Minister and a former board member of the company would allow Lake Asphalt to deteriorate into this level of functional and industrial decay.  

It cannot be that after spending over $700 million on failed projects at the National Gas Company (NGC) that a mere fraction of that money could not have been spent to upkeep the operational costs of Lake Asphalt, including the payment of salaries.   

I am reminded of statements made by President General of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Union, Mr. Michael Anisette, that there was no need to pursue the privatisation of the Port of Port of Spain, but that the Government neglected the needs of the Port in an attempt to sabotage the Port and justify privatisation.  

I am forced to ask the question, “Is the Government plotting to sabotage Lake Asphalt, destabilize its unions and hand over the company’s assets to friends, family and financiers?” 

Does the Government have some private agency interested in the company, its assets and its operations? 

There is a sinister agenda being executed in plain daylight by this administration. It is high time that the union, other stakeholders and this country ‘stay woke’ and begin to demand answers.