Junior Minister of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, in her contribution to the 2018 National Budget debate on December 6, 2017, among other things, spoke about the re-employment of Skeldon Estate worker, Daniel Stephens who, it is recalled, was dismissed in September, 2014 after an altercation with the then Estate Manager. In her presentation, Minister Broomes spoke about her involvement in ensuring that Mr Stephen was reinstated. That came about after our union engaged her and related the circumstances which led to the aggrieved worker’s dismissal, which we felt was unfair. Despite the fact that Minister Broomes did not mention the various actions and local battle by the union on behalf of Mr Stephen, after hearing us the Minister intervened and Mr Stephen was thereby re-instated without any loss in service and received half-pay for the period he was off the job.
We do not begrudge Minister Broomes taking some credit for Mr Stephen’s reinstatement. However, in a similar fashion, shouldn’t the Minister also take some responsibility for the government to which she belongs, for putting not only Mr Stephen out of work but thousands of his colleagues in Skeldon and other estates as reported by the media? The Minister, in her presentation, spoke about the losses of Mr Stephen during the time he was unemployed. Today, those circumstances have now come full circle as government’s dismissal of workers will leave not only Mr Stephen but very many poor, ordinary sugar workers to face unaffordable losses.