Former prime minister Basdeo Panday has asked Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to withdraw the appeal of the former PNM government against the decision of Justice Lennox Deyalsingh in favour of former employees of Caroni (1975) Ltd. In a November 30 letter written under the heading of the newly-established Basdeo Panday Foundation, the veteran politician referred to a High Court matter between the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Rights Association and Patrick Manning, then minister of finance and Corporation Sole.
Panday wrote: “In the said action the sugar workers claimed that the Government had reneged on, and/or failed to honour certain promises, assurances and undertakings given to them as an inducement for their acceptance of voluntary separation of employment (VSEP) imposed on them in 2003. “Some of the undertakings given included:
• The promise that they would be given priority in accessing lands belonging to Caroni (1975) Ltd for agricultural and residential use.
• That they they would be granted leases within a reasonable time of the acceptance of such separation of employment with Caroni (1975) Ltd.”
Panday said the Government reneged on the promises and when the matter went to court, Justice Deyalsingh ruled in favour of the workers. He ordered that they be granted their leases on or before June 30, 2006. Panday said in an attempt “to frustrate the rights of the workers,” the PNM government appealed the decision. That appeal is still pending. He told the AG: “The foundation, on behalf of the said workers, now calls upon you and the PP Government to immediately withdraw the said appeal so that the workers could enforce the judgment in their favour.”