Ministry of Communications responds to shutdown action at Immigration Offices
July 1, 2014:
Using the peak travel season and the eve of the school vacation as a threatening backdrop, citizens are being held to ransom by an illegal shutdown organised by the Public Service Association (PSA). It is an attack on the freedom of movement of the citizenry of this country and one which will not be condoned. In this regard, an urgent meeting has been convened with the Honourable Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, in addressing the matter on behalf of citizens.
The charge of health issues in public buildings is merely a red herring tactic being used by the President of the PSA, Watson Duke, to shut down operations at Immigration Offices and Piarco International Airport. The real issue at hand is the current wage negotiations. The threatened closure of these critical public offices is having a crippling effect on society and the economy and endangering livelihoods and lives as even those requiring to leave for urgent medical attention are unable to do so.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Honourable Gary Griffith, said that while he understands the importance of wage negotiations, the idea of shutting down the nation’s airport and immigration offices is unjust, inhumane and illegal.
He described this course of action taken by immigration officers as very unfortunate, as their first line of duty as an essential service is to the nation, in the very same way as the Police Service and Defence Force are so duty bound.
The shutdown action now in place at immigration offices has threatened thousands with loss of jobs, scholarships and school places and inconvenienced thousands of citizens due to their inability to travel. Families who have planned vacations long in advance have lost the opportunity with cancelled tickets. A great number of persons requiring urgent medical attention abroad are also in dire danger.
The on-going action has also resulted in tremendous loss of revenue for Trinidad and Tobago, amounting to what could be hundreds of millions of dollars. In the best interest of the country and its citizens, the Government affirms its willingness to continue dialogue with the PSA and immigration officers in the hope that good sense will prevail in the interest of the country. Even as the Government pursues an amicable resolution to the issues, it will explore all its options to protect the public interest and ensure that this act of recklessness is brought to an end and is replaced by a more responsible, reasonable and legal approach to proper industrial relations practices.
For further information, please contact:
Manager, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications
Level 3 Park Plaza,
Park and St Vincent Streets,
PBX: 868-623-3648/624-9452 Ext 222