The event is also being used to draw attention to the need for good governance and to educate the public about the issues affecting the country. The two-day observance of prayer and fasting began at the Transport and Industrial Workers Union Hall, Eastern Main Road, Laventille and was attended by the heads of 15 unions.
In an interview, president of the Communication Workers Union, Joseph Remy said based on the restrictions of the state of emergency the labour leaders were reflecting and inviting spirituality into a “just struggle.” Remy said the regulations governing the state of emergency were “very draconian” and although the Government said it was using it in its war against criminals, these regulations were also being used to clamp down on public meetings during the day. Unions have voiced criticism that they were being targetted. Remy said history will show that there has never been any “criminal activity” linked to any union meetings.
Remy said no government administration has shown it is willing to tackle crime head on, and said the persons detained could have been detained during normal operations.
He said the state of emergency was curtailing freedoms in a fundamental way. He said workers with small businesses were feeling the impact through work hours being drastically reduced, and this negatively affected incomes. According to Remy, “in other instances workers were being sent home as no business was taking place.” He said this was happening to workers in the service industry restaurants and entertainment.
Remy said the state of emergency was galvanizing wider consensus in society on what is good governance and what this entailed. He said attention was focused on the policies being implemented and the segment of society being impacted.
The prayer and fasting ends at 5 pm today and will continue tomorrow. Unions will continue mobilising and educating workers working within the “ambit of the law.”