FOR TWO hours last night, between seven and nine o’clock, six employees of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) remained trapped inside the company’s Claxton Bay compound as a mob laid siege outside the compound by throwing debris across the road at the entrance gates and setting it on fire, effectively trapping the workers.
Oil was also thrown on the roadway to prevent or make it extremely dangerous for any vehicle to get into or leave the TCL compound.
At 7 pm, a shuttle bus transporting the six workers who had completed their shift at the factory was driving out of the compound when according to Production Manager Keith Ramjitsingh, at least 20 to 25 strikers surrounded the 12-seater “VIP Shuttle Bus” and began shaking it while also attempting to pull open the doors and windows.
On seeing the commotion, Ramjitsingh who was driving in his car behind the shuttle bus said he began reversing into the TCL compound.
“The strikers then grabbed the metal barriers brought by the police and began placing them in front the vehicles. As both vehicles began reversing, the men started to hurl stones at the bus and my car, forcing us to drive further into the compound,” Ramjitsingh said.
“They were really noisy and boisterous, then I saw workers pulling out tyres from their nearby strike camp and placing them along the driveway while another striker brought out containers of oil and poured it on the tyres and set them on fire to block the passageway,” he added.
The burning debris which blocked the entrance and the angry mob effectively kept the six workers trapped inside the TCL compound. A report was made to the police and fire services.
At 9 pm, heavily armed officers from the Riot Squad swooped down at the compound, clearing away the smouldering debris. Under the officers’ watch, the six workers left the compound to their various homes. No one was injured during the tense siege.