THE EDITOR: Some people really bold face in truth oui! Keith Rowley fits that description to a Tee. This PNM hustler is cited in the newspapers as saying to the labour movement “…hold the fort for I am coming, you have a friend in the People’s National Movement. You have tried the rest, now try the best.”
Does Rowley take trade unionists and those who understand the history of this country for fools? PNM? A friend? PNM? The best? If it wasn’t so disgusting it may have been funny! For the edification of younger trade unionists the record must be set straight.
PNM formed the government of this country for forty two of the fifty five years since 1956. How can Rowley say you have tried the rest now try the best? He behaving as if PNM is some fresh, new party that has never been in office. Mas! Mas! We know you!
PNM did not win a majority in the 1956 election as many of us believe. Although they did win 13 out of the 24 elected seats, there were 5 seats nominated by the British Governor Edward Beetham and there were two ex-officio seats, making a total of 31. To win a majority, 16 seats would have had to be gained. For Eric Williams to become Chief Minister he had to form a coalition.
Bhadase Maharaj’s People’s Democratic Party won 5 seats., the Trinidad Labour Party won 2, there were 2 independents and the Butler Party won two. Did PNM seek a coalition with any of these? No he did not. He made a deal with the colonial government. Beetham allowed Williams to appoint 2 nominated seats and he pledged the ex-officio seats to vote with PNM.
PNM, from the very beginning, exposed itself as being an anti-worker party which was more comfortable with the colonialists they claimed to be fighting than with the working class. What a friend to the working class, this PNM, which launched a witch hunt in the early 1960’s through the Mbanefo Commission, looking for communists in every union hall.
What a friend, this PNM, which declared a state of emergency in Central in 1965 and passed the oppressive Industrial Stabilisation Act. What a friend, this PNM, against which the youth and the workers revolted in 1970 and which declared 2 states of emergency in 1970-1971 and which detained without charge tens of trade unionists on Nelson Island.
What a friend, this PNM, which enacted the hateful Industrial Relations Act during a state of emergency in 1972; which attacked and savagely assaulted workers on Bloody Tuesday 1975, which privatised dozens of companies that the workers had struggled to nationalise, which pursued economic policies which entrenched imperialist domination of our country.
What a friend, this PNM, that unleashed Manning on the country to preside over an orgy of corruption, squandermania and repression; which dismembered the public service, continually subverted and interfered with the trade unions; which attempted to decertify CWU and TIWU, which imposed martial law on Port of Spain during the Summit of the Americas.
Look Rowley…do not take the workers for fools. We held the fort for generations against the likes of you and your party. Don’t make the mistake of believing that because the labour movement is gearing for a great social struggle against the People’s Partnership, we are going to take your snake out of the balisier and place it in our bosom. PNM’s time has passed and not a second too soon.