Former Labour Minister under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, Glynis Roberts, who openly switched allegiance to the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in March general election has come down on the side of teachers in the current impasse with the administration.
The self-styled Independent Senator addressed the issue of the docking of the November salaries of striking teachers on Tuesday during her contribution to the debate in the Upper House on the 2019 budget as presented by Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Finance Minister.
Roberts said that it might seem as just by government to make reductions on the salaries of striking teachers but warned that if the matter is not handled the right way it could have negative implications for the Mitchell-led government.
She warned that all the accomplishments being boasted about by the regime could be washed away as teacher are the ones who contributed to those developments.
Roberts called on the NNP administration to repay the monies docked from teachers as it can remain a “nagging issue”.
“Though it may seem just to some, teachers do go overboard and beyond to provide not only education but care for our children. In this very budget we spoke of regional accomplishments that these teachers made this year in most of the subjects, so I want to say, while our economy is advancing, investors are coming, please do not let the situation go overboard that all our accomplishments are eroded in this little window.
“…So, I want to please urge, even if you want to take a day or two days, it is not right because teachers also have families and need to look after their children. Some households – mother is a teacher, father is a teacher, children teaching. Let us be sober – I am not judging but I know you have money to pay their salaries, so give them back a little bit because they need to take care of their family.
The Mitchell government has been accused of making deductions from the salaries of teachers who are on leave and even those known to be out of the country and did not take part in the strike action.
One teacher who said he was outside Grenada for over a month complained on Social Media that he was deducted of more than $1000.00 from his November salary.
However, the ex-Congress minister voiced support for the move being made by Prime Minister Mitchell to increase the salaries paid to all parliamentarians.
According to Roberts, the salaries of all MP’s as well as workers in the country needed to be reviewed.
She said: “Salary for Parliamentarians and ministers, I support, and I will add that all levels of salary in Grenada need to be reviewed – the minimum wage for domestic help, store clerk, all need a review”.
“We try as a nation and as a people but we need to stop, reflect, review where we are and work together for all because I came into this house in 2003 and salary is the same today. So, it is just for the parliamentarians and ministers, I support that but I also support that all levels in Grenada, we need to review it – private and public. Any action that provides more disposable income to the average man, I am in line to lend my full support,” she added.
PM Mitchell announced that he will be making moves to increase the salaries of Parliamentarians and government ministers based on a report done by as independent salary review commission led by Accountant, Henry Joseph.