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MATT Files Complaint against Roget with Equal Opportunity Commission

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THE Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) has filed a complaint against the President General of the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union Ancel Roget.

The complaint arises out of statements made by Roget at a news conference of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JITUM) at the OWTU’s Paramount Building in San Fernando on August 4. Roget is the head of JITUM.

Ancel Roget

In the complainant, MATT stated that Roget’s statements have the potential to endanger the lives of journalist and could also incite racial hatred.

It was reported that Roget said, “I want to make the point for those editors, those house n…..s who scribe for the one per cent and who for the establishment, advance the establishment’s position, that this morning, I as the president of the Joint Trade Union Movement is not calling for more money or for ah being unreasonable, I’m not being unreasonable or so. I am taking the most reasonable position, the moral high ground of a position to say ‘listen, you ought to treat with all of those workers as with, with respect.’ Any self-respecting editor who is not in the hands or at the behest of their one per cent slave, modern-day slave master, would agree with that position that himself, at the end of the day, is treated as a worker because that is how they see them.

“So even though you would carry out their dictates as your local, modern-day massas and write against the trade union movement that ‘election time, they are now coming to raise these issues’, I want to remind you house n…..s in the Guardian and the Express and the Newsday and so on, I want to remind you that we have been raising these issues all of the time. And we will continue to raise them in this time, we will continue to raise it after elections. And is not no election. Election or no election, we will continue to raise it. That is the consistency of us.”

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Roget was also quoted as saying: “The media was there. You editors, you house n…..s, your hard workers were out there, so you can spin these how you want, they were out there. We really do not care about any of you all anyway.”

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The complainant stated that Roget combined two racial slurs “and directed them at members of the media fraternity.”

It stated that Roget’s statements “when taken in their totality, were clearly intended to incite racial hatred toward certain members of the media fraternity.”
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The complainant stated, “When Mr. Roget’s statements are taken as a whole, including his hand gestures, facial expression, tone, body language and general demeanour, there is a clear invitation for members of the public to treat certain members of the media fraternity with contempt, hatred and derision.”
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It stated, “Journalists in the ordinary course of their work routinely engage in face-to-face contact with members of the public. Mr Roget’s statements have the very real potential of endangering the well-being of certain members of the media fraternity. Furthermore, Mr. Roget’s words – quite literally – liken certain members of the media fraternity to ethnic/racial traitors who operate at the behest and whims of the elite.

“As President of the JTUM, Mr Roget is arguably the nation’s most powerful and well-known trade unionist. That his words have the likelihood to incite racial hatred is therefore further heightened.

“To that end, the Complainant asks the Commission to investigate the matter further, prepare a report and refer the incident as needed to the Tribunal for further actioning.

“This type of racist and vile behaviour should not be tolerated in a civil society, particularly one that values press freedom, decency and basic human dignity.”

The complainant was filed on behalf of MATT by attorneys Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones of New City Chambers.

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