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JTUM president Ancel Roget, centre, speaks with Banking Insurance General Workers’ Union general secretary Trevor Johnson, left, and OWTU chief education officer Ozzi Warwick after Friday’s press conference at OWTU headquarters in San Fernando.

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Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has given permission for the Labour Day march to be held this year. Joint Trade Union Movement president Ancel Roget made the announcement on Friday following weeks of uncertainly about whether the annual celebrations would be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However at a press conference at Paramount Building headquarters of the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union in San Fernando yesterday, Roget told workers not to join the traditional march to Charlie King Junction, Fyzabad. Only two representatives of the Bankers and Insurance General Workers Trade Union, Amalgamated Workers Union, All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union, Postal Workers Trade Union, Communication Workers Trade Union, T&T Unified Teachers Association, the T&T Registered Nurses Association and the Oilfield Workers Trade Union will be allowed to take part.

The JTUM leader said social distancing protocols will be followed and activities will conform with the Ministry of Health’s regulations.

“We ask the supporters who are anxious to come out to please stay away this year. We don’t want the event to be skewed or derailed where detractors move from the focus of the message to point out a confrontation with the police.

We are about law and order. We will not allow the detractors to have the benefit of saying we caused a resurgence of COVID 19. That’s why I am appealing to our comrades to stay away. Do not march. Let us not give them an opportunity to derail us,” Roget said.

“Absolutely no one in the country represents your interests. We have an agreement with the police and they will be there to maintain law and order.”

Roget said with T&T on the brink of elections and the trade union movement will not be silent on the poor performance of the government and the opposition.

“It cannot be and will not be and shall not be that we have a Labour Day prior to general elections and trade unions do not comment on the performance of those given the responsibility to lead us. That will not happen!

“We will be commenting on the performance of those who had that responsibility and those who have done things to provoke us and interfere with the labour class,” Roget said.

He promised to make public a report on the OWTU’s efforts to acquire the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery and the alleged conspiracy by the Opposition to derail the process.

“We will be speaking about the UNC Opposition in terms of an issue about putting thousands of workers back to active employment by a fallacy, an empty promise of opening back Petrotrin,” he said.

There will also be e report on the failures of the government over the past five years, he added.

Roget said JTUM officials met with the Commissioner on June 3 and certain agreements were achieved. The march will begin promptly at 9.30 am and end at 12 noon with a rally.

A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at 8.30 am at the grave Tubal Uriah Butler in Fyzabad, followed by another at the grave of La Brea Charles, a Butler look-alike who was gunned down by state police on June 19, 1937.There will be motorcade today from Rienzi Complex, Couva, to Fyzabad.