Employees of the Water and Sewerage Authority

on the job: Employees of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) at the Kew Place, Port of Spain branch, take their lunch break yesterday. Public Services Association President Watson Duke had called on WASA workers to stay home yesterday.

 —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

Public servants ignored Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke’s call to stay home yesterday as evident in their attendance at work.

“Join us on Tuesday as we take a day off—The Genesis.” This was Duke’s message sent to all public service workers across all platforms.

However, when the Express visited the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) headquarters in St Joseph yesterday, the employees’ car park was full to capacity and workers, both daily paid and permanent, were fully engrossed in their daily duties.

One employee who admitted he had contemplated staying at home, told the Express: “I was thinking about it myself but no one wants to be red-flagged right now. He (Duke) can’t save us by doing it this way.”

Other employees who said they previously supported Duke whenever there was protest action, yesterday said they have now changed their minds.

Several workers said they refrained from adhering to the call to take a “Covid-19 day” due to the restructuring process that is starting to take place.

Last week, the minister announced WASA’s chairman, Dr Lennox Sealy, as the new executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the State corporation.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales stated this decision stems from the recommendations of a report generated in December 2020 by a Cabinet sub-committee, and noted the appointment was made in the hope of addressing the “management problem” at WASA.

The atmosphere was similar across all government ministries yesterday as workers also said it was a normal work day as any other.

Employees at the Board of Inland Revenue said they were “not taking on” Duke and showed up to work as per usual.

Similarly, employees at the National Insurance Board were in regular attendance.

Across at the National Security Ministry the majority of workers came out to work as they said a mandatory training session took place yesterday.

One worker said while he would have liked to take the day off to finish his University of the West Indies project, he did not think it was feasible to make a call to stay home in this economic climate.

And at the Ministry of Trade and Industry along with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, employees were out in full force carrying out their daily duties.

One worker indicated: “When the PSA president tells public servants to stand we run, as he is not a man who addresses the problems workers encounter at the workplace. He is just a showman for the media.”

Attempts to contact Duke yesterday were futile.

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