PM putting religion before people, say casino workers

Prime Minister Patrick Manning is again sacrificing the well-being of people in the country to appease his religious beliefs, said local casino workers.

Kenroy Phillip, chairman of the Union of Members Clubs and Lottery Workers, said yesterday at a news conference held at Henry St, Port of Spain: „The prime minister is set in his religious beliefs and will not see the gaming industry as an aid to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.“

During the news conference Phillip said he was surprised there was no money allocated to the regularisation of the gaming industry in the recent budget reading, though it is a major form of entertainment for visitors and brought foreign revenue into the country, as well as provided jobs for thousands of citizens.

He said with so much emphasis being placed on diversifying the economy, casino workers were hoping that tourism and indirectly entertainment for tourists such as the gaming industry would have been seen as priorities.

He also said security in the gaming industry should be made a national priority as illegal immigrants were coming to take away the jobs which locals needed to feed their families.

Last Saturday, 13 Chinese nationals were held for questioning by Immigration officers at a members club in San Fernando but were released yesterday and cleared by Immigration authorities.

At the conference Phillip also said the UMCLW has been writing and calling Manning, who is also the Minister of Finance for a meeting to discuss their concerns for the last six months because the meetings they have had with Conrad Enill, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, have not accomplished much.

He said while Enill talks positively about regularisation of the gaming industry, in lieu of an all out shutdown, his power in the face of Manning’s strong beliefs about gambling may be limited.

Therefore, the union saw the only means of finding closure to the matter which had many workers from poor areas and elderly people worrying about their future is to meet directly with Manning.