Why has sugar workers’ severance pay not been finalized as yet?

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article titled, ‘Sugar workers despondent over non-payment of severance –GAWU’ (SN, January 3).  This severance pay issue should not have had to be articulated by anyone, or even a matter for discussion anywhere.  It had to have dealt with efficiency and sharp timeliness.  Thus, there can only be ongoing dismay at apparent government sloth in closing this out without further delay.

There is perplexity as to why the matter of severance pay is still not finalized in the most unambiguous terms, and shared with workers’ representatives and the public.  There is creeping disappointment that the government stands poised to add insult to pain by allowing a sectoral economic tragedy to be magnified into a potentially humanitarian crisis.  Despondent, the word used by GAWU, is loaded with meaning and powerful in its reach.  At the very least, this redounds to the discredit of a government doing its best to come across as cold and cruel.  If this is not the case already, then it will be so converted and easily, too.

Editor, it is troubling that what appears obvious and straightforward to ordinary citizens should assume unacceptable proportions of lethargy and unconcern.  This is damaging all around.  As such, I confess to being unable (and unwilling) to discern why the money to be set aside, the logistics and mechanics, and the responsible personnel have not all been prioritized, given marching orders, and are now on autopilot to deliver.  I believe that the logistics could be significant, but it cannot be that overwhelming.  Now even as I write this, I do remember that the wheels of government do turn slowly, excruciatingly slowly.  Sometimes they do not turn at all here.

I think that the government has an immediate responsibility to convey to impacted sugar workers how much is coming their way, when such will be paid, and where.  The communications have to be clear; the communications must be now, as in yesterday. It cannot be sometime tomorrow (whenever that is) through the vagaries of more equivocation and tardiness.

Once again, I have to admit that this government does not need any help from anybody to look bad; it does a mighty fine job all by itself.  It does so more frequently than gives comfort.  I think that it is doing so again through mishandling this severance pay matter for terminated sugar workers.  It can do better on this one; it must do so right now.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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