August 17, 2010
PSU statement politically motivated – Noel Jackson

President of the National Labour Congress (NLC) Noel Jackson has described as “partisan political”, the Public Service Union’s (PSU) opposition to government’s decision to lease to the NLC, the two car parks at the centre of a controversy between the state and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.{{more}}

The PSU, an NLC affiliate, issued a statement last Friday, questioning the motive of the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves government in granting the lease to the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA) and the NLC.

The statement said that the term of office of the current NLC executive has expired and it cannot enter such an arrangement. The PSU also contends that the NLC does not have the capacity to manage the car parks.

But Jackson said the executive of the NLC has a two-year term of office which expires next year.

He said the PSU is the “most delinquent” member of the NLC, as it has not been attending meetings, and is “partisan political” in its pronouncements.

“If the PSU is saying that the NLC does not have the capacity to manage an undertaking of that nature … they are part of the contributing problem,” Jackson said.

“And I am not surprised, because I think the statement is also politically motivated. It is highly politically motivated,” Jackson added, although he said he had not heard or seen the statement.

He said the PSU leadership was “partisan political” and were “just throwing in their two cents to back up the other persons who are criticising the move [to grant the management of the car park to WINFA and the NLC]”.

The Chamber, which said it spent $500,000 to develop the 164-spot car park in Kingstown, has said not renewing the lease would undermine its financial viability and ability to perform its duties.

Jackson said the PSU has not been supportive of NLC activities, including a Labour Day activity in Barrouallie.

He further said the PSU had not contacted the NLC for support or to appraise the organisation of the status of outstanding matters with the government.

Jackson said the NLC did not apply for the car parks, but was offered the facilities by the Office of the Prime Minister.

However, the NLC and WINFA have incorporated ‘SVG Solidarity in Action’, which will manage the car parks.

“The National Labour Congress is in a position to manage the entity in conjunction with the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association,” Jackson said.

Jackson said leaving the NLC is an option open to the PSU.

“I am of the view that if that is the case also, then you can silently indicate your position by writing to the NLC … but they didn’t want to do that. They have gone to the public and making all kinds of potentially damaging statements,” Jackson said.

He said the intention of the PSU “is not honourable. It is to try to discredit, to damage and to pull down.” (KXC)