By Grenadian Class
The Grenadian constitution gives every citizen the right to work. The constitution didn’t give any government or member of Parliament the right to deny citizens employment. It didn’t give any government or MP the right to take away a job from one citizen and give it to another. What is therefore happening in Grenada by the NNP administration is therefore unconstitutional, morally wrong, unjust and vindictive.
Prime Minister Mitchell and his uncaring NNP administration must desist from this evil practice of dismissing poor and vulnerable people, denying them and their family a livelihood. What the NNP administration is doing to the poor people of Grenada is tantamount to a form of economic slavery as practiced by our colonisers. They are no better than the slave masters of the past and are today our modern day ‘black massers’ and coloured ‘neo-colonialists’.
Our colonisers treated our forefathers like a piece of their real estate, branding them with an iron rod. Today the NNP is doing the same thing to the people of Grenada, branding our people with a green tag. The administration is trying to own every citizen by the use of a green tag that identifies them from us. If you are not wearing that green tag then you are likely to be dismissed from your job, especially if you are employed under Vote 340.
Even some workers who contributed to the union representative were dismissed. It is a matter of the people who should defend the workers, joining with the employers against the very workers that they are supposed to defend. So there is no hope for these dismissed workers; their fate is sealed.
It is an extremely desperate situation indeed. Just imagine, major businesses are bawling; what do you expect from these dismissed workers? The government seems to want to create a country of thieves in an effort to make their own image look good after all the questionable and shady dealings they have been involved in. It’s like let us try to throw pitch on what is pure so that they can become tainted like me.
Vote 340 was established by the NNP during the 1995-2008 rule as a means of employing only supporters of the party. Ministers employed who they want outside of the control of the Public Service Commission. The NDC, upon assuming office, didn’t repeal Vote 340 and also did employ some persons in the public service. A practice that I believe the NDC should have rectified as part of a comprehensive public sector reform program.
Upon winning the last general elections, Prime Minister Mitchell gave the country the assurance that no one will be victimised or dismissed from their job. In his own words, “Just do the people work.”
The action of his administration, however, is in fact in direct contrast to his words. To date, over 1,724 employees have been dismissed from the public service because they are perceived to be sympathetic to the NDC. These are very poor people working for just over $1,000.
While these young poor people are being arbitrarily victimised by being dismissed for political reasons, the NNP continues to employ many of their old cronies as advisers in many different capacities. It’s a matter of taking from the poor to give to the rich, yet NNP is claiming to be on the side of the poor. If the poor people, especially the youths, look at what is unfolding before their eyes, the NNP is creating an aristocracy where a few families control the wealth of the country.
The Prime Minister on a recent, “You Decide” program with host Byron Campbell maintained in a hypocritical and dismissive fashion that no workers were fired. Well someone will have to define the word fired or dismissed to the Hon. Prime Minister. The reason he gave for dismissing these young workers is that they are “unproductive”. Can someone please tell me what managerial process did the government use to determine in less than a month or two which public servant is productive or not.
In one ministry, there was not a Permanent Secretary for months, only to select one and have her sign letters of dismissal for selected workers. These workers were not supervised by the PS for a single day, so the question is who determined that they are unproductive.
I am not the first to question the legitimacy and honesty of the Prime Minister; however, I won’t apologise to say that this is a fabrication of the facts. It is a blatant ‘lie’. Our people and the internationally community deserve to be treated with some respect by the Prime Minister. It just doesn’t reflect well on a country and its people when their leader engages in such distortion of the facts.
What is even more worrisome is that not a single MP or member of cabinet has the courage or decency to put the record straight for fear of being dismissed themselves. The attractive campaign slogan of “We will deliver” in a matter of months has been replaced by “We will dismiss”.
Dr. Mitchell should be minded that the international community is watching his actions very carefully. Credible investors are observing what is happening in the country. Young vibrant workers are being dismissed and old party cronies are being employed.
Labour is an important factor of production. If as Prime Minister you are saying that young workers who are still in their peak are unproductive then why should an investor invest in a country with unproductive young workers?
Our Prime Minister is putting the cart before the horse. But if these workers are unproductive as indicated by the Prime Minister and they were employed for only a few years then the public service is in a very bad state with those workers who have been there for much longer and have passed their peak years. It therefore means that the dismissals have just begun.
How would the Prime Minister refer to the backbenchers in his own government who are receiving over $5,000 a month and not making any substantial contribution to the development of the country? Are they producing in direct proportion to their salaries?
Young workers are much more productive when they start a job for the very first time. The private sector retrenches old workers to employ the young; our government is dismissing young workers to employ the old. Our new economy with old lethargic workers.
Prime Minister, stop the fabrication. The truth shall set you free. Literally free. The blind, dumb and the deaf know full well that the dismissal of over a thousand workers is a political stunt of the NNP to employ their supporters.
A large percentage of the persons that were dismissed are struggling single parent mothers. Government should respect and protect our women especially the most vulnerable.
The present NNP administration is doing the complete opposite, treating poor single parent mums in a very degrading manner by putting them on the breadline without any regard for the welfare of themselves and their children.
What this administration is doing to these single mums and the folks that they have a responsibility to protect is unconscionable. It is beyond human reason to imagine that a responsible government would be so callous and vindictive. This government is extremely insensitive to the needs of the poor especially at a time when they are trying to make ends meet under very difficult circumstances.
Ironically this is the same leader and party that prior to the elections accused the NDC of being uncaring. The NNP criticised the Minister of Finance and government for paying the salaries of these same dismissed workers a few days late. I am convinced that these workers would prefer to receive their salaries a few days late than not to receive a salary at all.
What is it the government expects the poor cleaner who is a single mum with three children to do to take care of herself and her children? How would she feed her children and send them to school? What is the MP for her constituency thinking?
The outreach officer who is a mother of two children and has to provide for her mother who lost both legs and her sight due to diabetes, what is the government expecting her to do?
The women of the nation are already at a disadvantage, suffering from unemployment and under-employment. They are paid much less than their male counterparts yet this NNP administration has seen fit to dismiss scores of women from the workforce.
Many of these women have loans to pay, having obtained a mortgage to construct a small house in the absence of father figure. This is very cruel of an administration which claims to be on the side of the poor and is a protector of women.
Responsible men don’t do such irresponsible things especially to women. It is the responsibility of men to protect women by any means necessary. All responsible men must stand up and fight to rid the country of such evil and irresponsible behaviour by the government. How would these MPs feel if these actions were carried out against their mothers, sisters, aunts or nieces?
As patriotic citizens, we all have to stand up and fight with our sweat and blood to protect the rights and freedom of our people, especially our women. Grenada is definitely going the wrong way and the international community and human rights organisations must call for an end to this systematic social injustice practiced by the New National Party (NNP).
Dr Mitchell, if you can’t deliver then you shouldn’t dismiss.