Judiciary workers embark on second week of protest

The Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) has start­ed its sec­ond week of protests over pro­posed re­struc­tur­ing with­in the Ju­di­cia­ry.

PSA Pres­i­dent Wat­son Duke on Mon­day joined al­most two dozen Ju­di­cia­ry work­ers who stayed away from work and chose to protest on the steps of the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain.

Armed with a portable loud­speak­er and dressed in black robes, rem­i­nis­cent of those worn by mem­bers of the cler­gy, Duke led the group in a se­ries of prayer ses­sions which took place every hour un­til 2 pm.

The group took pe­ri­od­ic breaks for lunch and to shield from the mid­day sun but did not leave the lo­ca­tion of their make-shift protest camp.

In an in­ter­view, Duke said that the union was pleased with the re­sponse to the protest which be­gan two weeks ago with a na­tion­al strike of Ju­di­cia­ry work­ers, which vir­tu­al­ly crip­pled the op­er­a­tions of courts across the coun­try.

The ef­fects of the dai­ly protests have slow­ly waned since then as the col­leagues of the protest­ing work­ers make up for their ab­sences.

Duke said: “Their on­ly quest is to have the Ju­di­cia­ry de-politi­cised and have their work de-politi­cised. They are ask­ing for se­cu­ri­ty of tenure, some­thing they now have and is now threat­ened.”

Duke al­so praised out­spo­ken High Court Judge Car­ol Gob­in, who wrote to the Ju­di­cia­ry’s court ex­ec­u­tive ad­min­is­tra­tor Mas­ter Christie Anne Mor­ris-Al­leyne, last week, to seek clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the is­sue.

“It is enough for us that some­one from the ju­di­cial bench would write and seek a meet­ing to bet­ter un­der­stand the plight of these work­ers,” Duke said.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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