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The empty streets along Independence Square and Henry Street South, Port-of-Spain, during the 10am to 5am curfew on the Corpus Christi public holiday earlier this month.

A full lockdown will be in effect for this weekend as the Government moves to clamp down on any public gathering held to commemorate Labour Day.

This coming Sunday Father’s Day will also be affected.

The variation of the curfew order, dated June 15th, was signed by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and evoked outrage from the trade union movement late yesterday.

Based on the new Order, the curfew will begin at 10.02 am on Saturday and end at 5 am on Sunday. It will resume at 10.02 am on Sunday and continue until 5 am on Monday.

Speaking to Guardian Media, president of the Joint Trade Union Movement Joseph Remy described the lockdown as a “frontal attack on the trade union movement.”

“It’s an overkill, a direct attack to target Labour Day in such a stringent manner. It really leads to a particular kind of governance that is scary. This is not a police state. Yes we are in a pandemic but we don’t want to reach a point where we talk about issues of fascism,” Remy said.

He added that labour leaders were expecting this move, noting that during a meeting on Monday, there was speculation that the government will be moving to muzzle labour leaders from speaking out on issues that include the mismanagement of the pandemic, failed leadership, the vaccination fiasco and delays in vaccination acquisition.

“Ironically the caseload is dropping but the curfew is increasing. We find it very strange that you will have a stringent curfew like that on Labour Day when you already had a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am. From all reports, we heard the measures were working, so I am questioning what is the need for a rigid lockdown on Labour Day when the labour movement would have been restrained in having any massive labour day celebration.”

He added, “ I am amazed at the extent of the lockdown. It is unnecessary at this time and it will put more strain on the working class. It is frightening.”

Remy said citizens were facing stress.

“These are creeping signs of a frightening type of leadership. This is a clear target against the trade union movement. It’s been a year and more than some people have not had a salary, the economy is suffering. If we had correct leadership in dialogue with the trade union movement we would be in a better place.”

Remy said despite the restrictions the labour movement will find a way to commemorate Labour Day.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Joint Trade Union Movement Ozzi Warwick said he was also not surprised by this.

“This government has been anti-labour in the past. They will take every opportunity to silence the Labour movement but the trade union movement will not be silent,” Warwick said.

He explained that by Thursday, JTUM will state how the celebrations will be rolled out.

“We intend to be innovative but this is as much as I would like to say at this time,” Warwick said.