SWWTU President General Michael Annisette

President of the Seamen and Waterfront Trade Union (SWWTU) Michael Annisette has assured that the union stands ready to work with Government and whichever private company gains control of the Port of Port-of-Spain.

But in an interview with CNC3’s the Morning Brew, Annisette said the Government has no one to blame but itself for the issues at the port.

He repeated his claims that the port has been starved of cash and resources by the State, saying workers have done their best to work with what was provided.

In his budget presentation on October 5, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced that by the end of 2021, the port should be in the hands of the private sector. Later that day, Annisette said 1,300 workers could stand to lose their jobs in the privatisation.

Yesterday, speaking to the Morning Brew host Natalee Legore, Annisette said, “The issue is if you don’t update your infrastructure, your equipment, if you are not adaptable to the growing needs of your customers, which is the shipping line, then we will find ourselves in the position that we have found ourselves in Trinidad and Tobago unfortunately.”

He said claims that port employees contributed to the facility’s downfall are simply untrue.

He described those claims as an effort to deflect from the real issues and place blame on the union and workers.

“The question of infrastructure development has nothing to do with the union and the workers, the questions of proper equipment has nothing to with the union and the workers, the question of technological changes on the port has nothing to do with the union or by extension the employees.”

He said the port employees needed to be applauded for increasing the volume of containers that the port can accommodate as he said the working conditions did not allow for that type of growth.