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PM Dr. Keith Rowley
Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget will pursue legal action against Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for imputing his involvement in blocking the Solomon Hochoy Highway yesterday.
In an emergency virtual media conference yesterday, Roget said the OWTU’s attorneys were scrutinising the defamatory statements posted on Rowley’s Facebook page around 9 am and expect to start legal action in the next 24-48 hours, as they deemed Rowley’s statement slanderous, libellous and defamatory.
Last week, Roget, as Joint Trade Union Movement leader, announced their support of the Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association and called on the Government to reopen the scrap iron industry. He and JTUM members also attended the association’s motorcade.
But yesterday, Roget vehemently denied he or the OWTU had prior knowledge or involvement in blocking the highway.
“In no way, shape, or form, the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union or myself as an individual were involved in this activity.”
Roget added: “I want to, however, say that the statement posted on Dr Rowley’s Facebook page is very slanderous, libellous and defamatory. It has already begun to cause great harm and injury to my character by imputing my knowledge or involvement in this.”
Rowley’s statement followed a protest by scrap iron workers who dumped two mounds of dirt on the northbound lane of the highway, near Claxton Bay, in protest of the Government’s six-month ban on the export of used metal. The protest led to a major early morning traffic pile-up.
Rowley wrote on Facebook: “So they have made their move. Dump truckloads of sand and debris on both sides of the highway and block traffic. What a wonderful idea of leadership from Roget and the followers, including the UNC. The marauding gangs of metal thieves threatened to, but did not complete the job of shutting down the country, so the leaders are helping them to get that done.”
On August 15, the Government announced a six-month ban on scrap iron and copper export, following an increase in robberies of critical material at State facilities and from private properties. In recent months, thieves hauled away copper, parts of bridges, pipe fittings, manhole covers, drain covers, a church bell and other items.
Attorney General Reginald Armour said it was a regrettable step taken, but said it was in the interest of the affected livelihoods. The AG is hoping the complete legislation dealing with the industry in three months. (Trinidad Guardian)