Duke to give up PSA title

Monday, June 3, 2019 - 10:00

Pres­i­dent of the Pub­lic Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) Wat­son Duke says he will not con­test next year’s PSA elec­tions.

In­stead, he plans to fo­cus on his ca­reer as a politi­cian which he be­gan in 2016 hav­ing formed the Pro­gres­sive De­mo­c­ra­t­ic Pa­tri­ots (PDP).

His par­ty won two of the 12 con­test­ed seats and he be­came the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly’s Mi­nor­i­ty Coun­cil Leader on Jan­u­ary 23, 2017. Duke re­vealed his fu­ture plans dur­ing a live Face­book broad­cast on Sun­day.

“(I am not) over­ly in­ter­est­ed in be­ing the pres­i­dent of the trade union move­ment for a very long time...I have no in­ter­est in re-elec­tion in the PSA. I am look­ing to leave...I can go no fur­ther as pres­i­dent of the PSA,” he said.

How­ev­er, he is not quite ready to leave the po­si­tion he held since 2009 and will “hold it (the union) to­geth­er un­til the next pres­i­dent emerges.”

Duke, who is al­so pres­i­dent of the Na­tion­al Trade Union Cen­tre, said he will not re­turn to his sub­stan­tive po­si­tion as an as­sis­tant man­ag­er at the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­i­ty (WASA) ei­ther.

Not­ing that he “em­bod­ied the strug­gle of the work­ing class,” he an­nounced his in­ten­tion to con­tin­ue his “strug­gle...for the work­ing class” at the seat of the Gov­ern­ment.

This coun­try’s gen­er­al and THA elec­tions are con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly due in 2020 and 2021, re­spec­tive­ly.

“I am go­ing af­ter the two seats in To­ba­go—To­ba­go East and To­ba­go West. It re­quires me to have a change of dis­po­si­tion, so I must be broad­er in my scope,” Duke said.

Duke said he is op­ti­mistic he will win both To­ba­go seats to be­come Prime Min­is­ter of Trinidad and To­ba­go.

“We are not giv­ing away our seats to the PNM (Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment) or the UNC (Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress),” Duke said.

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia sub­se­quent to his so­cial me­dia post, Duke said win­ning the two seats will give his par­ty lever­age to ne­go­ti­ate with the po­lit­i­cal par­ty that wins the elec­tion in Trinidad.”

“I am not al­ler­gic to be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter,” Duke told Guardian Me­dia.

The Na­tion­al Trade Union Cen­tre pres­i­dent said he was al­so plan­ning a ma­jor demon­stra­tion on Fri­day which seeks to crip­ple pub­lic of­fices, the port and oth­er ar­eas.

Duke said he had the com­mit­ment from the lead­ers of the Sea­men and Wa­ter­front Work­ers’ Union and the Na­tion­al Union of Gov­ern­ment and Fed­er­at­ed Work­ers to join the protest ac­tion.

Reporter: Camille McEachnie