By RHONDOR DOWLAT, www.newsday.co.tt
The Hindu Credit Union (HCU) and the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) clashed yesterday at the Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad. Minutes before the commencement of the National Trade Union Centre's (NATUC) speeches, two senior police officers of the South Western Division approached HCU President, Harry Harnarine, enquiring about HCU's heavy presence at the march. Harnarine reportedly told them that HCU was a part of NATUC, and with NATUC later openly confirming Harnarine's statement.
Harnarine was ironically the first of the speakers to speak at the celebrations at Avocat Junction, Fyzabad. During his speech, Harnarine claimed that labour leaders are divided by Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday. He said: "It is time for the working class to control the economy and not Panday and Manning, because they do not have any say in the economy of Trinidad and Tobago." Subsequently, at the other end of the Labour Day march at Charlie King Junction, Fyzabad, President General of OWTU Errol Mc Leod accused HCU President Harnarine of trying to seize the sacred grounds of Fyzabad by showing up at the Labour Day celebrations.
"Harnarine wants to seize the holy grounds of Fyzabad so he is challenging me, Errol Mc Leod, but he is lucky that the workers and people of 2004 are not with the same intentions and determination of the workers in 1937," he said. Mc Leod warned, in witness of thousands of people gathered, that Harnarine's journey should stop short because Harnarine is not interest ed in the ordinary people of the country. Mc Leod, in his feature address also noted that one day the labour movement would be united with one majour Labour Day event. He said that he supported unity within the movement but not at any cost.
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