Boucher blames NBC chair for dropping PSU programme
President of the Public Service Union (PSU) Elroy Boucher says that he is certain that Hans King, the Prime Ministerâs press secretary, is the person who cancelled the PSUâs programme on the government owned NBC Radio.
Boucher said he received an email on February 23 from NBCâs acting general manager Raphael King, informing him that the programme had been cancelled, with immediate effect.
âI am instructed to inform the Public Service Union that the programme, âPSU Speaksâ will no longer be aired on NBC Radio with immediate effect. The Corporation thanks the Union for its patronage and regrets any inconvenience. Regarding your request to have NBC broadcast live, the PSU Panel Discussion scheduled for February 28, 2018, please note that permission is not granted,â the email was quoted as saying.
At a press conference at the PSUâs Headquarters at McKieâs Hill on Wednesday, Boucher said the programme, which was broadcast the second and last Thursday in every month, was paid for by the PSU.
He said the last programme was broadcast on February 22 and dealt with the fiscal measures in the 2018 Budget.
âThat instruction, in our mind, can only come from the board. We have the belief that that came from Hans King, the Chairman. You donât have to have a physical meeting of a board to make a decision, but it would be interesting to know if that was a board decision or if it was his own decision,â commented Boucher, who said the union is examining options for the resumption of the programme.
âThis government came into office of the backs of the unions, but this is the treatment that is meted out to unions. The NBC is a national radio station; itâs not the ULP radio station, itâs a national radio station and if we are on that station, if there is libel, slander, then you do what you supposed to do. Let us know that, but we try our utmost best to stick with the facts.â
He said at times, they would state their opinions, but they always advocate, not only on behalf of the public servants they represent, but on behalf of all workers in the country.
âWe have praised the government when it has done great. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, that is a wonderful act, terrific for workers; we have praised them on that, embraced it and many others, so you cannot say that it is a programme that is political in any sense, because our membership spreads across political divide. We cannot hold a political position. We just advocate for the workers of the country.
âSo, when Hans King, who is a highly paid official, and I donât even know if he is a public official or a public servant, because he spends 80 per cent of his time doing work for the political party, not the public of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
âHe spends more time dividing us as a people than uniting us and we are the taxpayers that are paying him that huge salary. Paying him to keep us divided, not uniting us on issues. Hans King, the chairman, is the one we believe gave that order, but the Public Service Union would not be silenced by anyone. The membership is the one that makes the decision.â
He said the cancellation of the programme is an attempt to silence the PSU, which is dangerous, as the line between political party and the State is becoming blurred.
âWe do not preach politics on the programme. When Elson Crick was chairman, and I believe if Elson was still the chairman that would never happen. At least Elson had that respect for the organization and the trade unions and he might have at
least had some discussions with the Union, but Hans King is pure partisan politics.â
Crick is the communications consultant in the
Office of the Prime Minister.
When contacted, King said that he would not comment on the issue.