The nine-month old New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has failed to deliver on its promise to reinstate $10 on the salary of the road debushing workers.
In 2011, Dr. Mitchell in his capacity as Political Leader of NNP and then Opposition Leader in Parliament, lashed out at the Congress government of Tillman Thomas for removing the $10 that the NNP administration had added to the de-bushers salary in 2008 in the lead up to the General Election.
An angry Dr. Mitchell promised the electorate that when the NNP is returned to office, he would reinstate the $10 on the salary of road workers, and that they would have flexibility in getting their job done which will enable them to seek additional employment.
Dr. Mitchell also chastised the Congress administration for increasing the quantity in work for debushing workers while taking away the $10 per day in their salaries.
However, since taking up office in February, the Mitchell Government has not lived up to its promise to the debushing workers.
During the weekly post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Minister with responsibility for Works, Gregory Bowen, was asked to declare government’s position on the $10 issue.
Bowen said that the administration is not in a financial position to reinstate the $10, adding that this is not an appropriate time to increase payments to road workers.
He said: “That has not been done as yet. You must look at the situation … over $40 million owed in retroactive pay to Government employees, this certainly would have been a sour point and after discussing with persons at the leadership of the various unions, I think there is an acceptable understanding that you cannot pay us the $40 million.
“…So this is not the appropriate time to put on monies on another category of workers without being able to deal with us so certainly as we deal with the other public workers, we will certainly move to return the $10.00 to the road workers.
“In this context we have certain persons saying that we wasting monies on the road workers. We must never forget that this is a social programme and whereas we cannot pay for persons as developed countries could do.
“You (are) out of a job, we give you social unemployment, we cannot do that and I think it is not a good practice as the developed countries are finding out, when people do something for the money they receive it, always augers better for them.