During the previous administration’s tenure, many abuses were meted out to the working class, and because of the scarcity of jobs, lots of the workers were forced to accept these. Following much fanfare and promises this administration was given the opportunity to help make living here better. Instead this nation has witnessed mostly pensioners and retirees getting high-paying jobs. Now this is a President who receives a large pension and who has a high-paying job that entitles him to free house allowance, transportation etc ‒ the full works ‒ and who has awarded his ministers a huge increase in allowances. Meanwhile, the average working man has to survive on less than ten per cent of the president’s salary. There is a pharmacy at Parika and you will hear that the staff there have to work on weekends and from 8:00am to 6.30pm for a measly $10,000 a week. Go to a popular lumber yard on the West Coast and you will hear that the staff there have to work for $2,500 a day starting from 7.30am to 5.30pm, and if they work until 6.30pm, they will then receive three thousand dollars. One staff member I spoke to told me he had worked for over seven years there and his salary is the same, and any new person who comes receives the same pay. The sad part about it is that he never got annual leave for the seven years he has been working there, and neither has he received any payment for instead.
As I said before, these things have been happening for a long time now and with the promises from this administration running up to the election, everyone was expecting great changes for betterment.
Editor, at the end of last month the RDC of Region Five was in the news in relation to the Integrated Security Services that has the contract for providing security to most government schools, hospitals etc. There is nowhere I go where I am not approached by workers or someone telling me about their plight. Recently at the Stabroek Market an ex-soldier in tears explained that he had come back from St Lucia to live here but cannot because of the crisis. He also cannot afford to go back. He sought employment with the security firm mentioned and his first headache was to get his salary that he worked for. Three months after he received his salary he discovered that money had been discounted for some fine he didn’t know about.
My question is, why is this blatant abuse still taking place under a new administration?