EDITORIAL: Govt must keep end of bargain
WE WELCOME the announcement that by tomorrow the former National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers should be getting their long-awaited severance payment cheques.
That must be music to the ears of the workers especially in these tough times when every cent counts and Barbadians are holding on to every dollar they can get.
In March last year, the NCC dismissed 194 of its employees – half of the workforce of the state agency that is responsible for the upkeep of parks, beaches and roadsides.
At the time, 85 former NCC workers were expected to get thousands of dollars in severance, while 79 of them were hoping to get their jobs back. It is past due time that this money was paid to these workers who have been more than patient while waiting for what is duly theirs.
Thousands of Barbadians are also waiting patiently for income tax returns that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has promised will be paid by June this year. We are also hoping that like the money for the NCC workers, many will also receive their tax payments in short order.
This is money that is not only long in coming, but has likely been allocated to fill financial gaps.
With little money in hand, the tendency for some is to provide for basic needs only and prioritise what is necessary and critical for daily existence. With these funds expected to be paid soon, families can at least enjoy some financial relief.
Therefore, it is necessary that all outstanding arrears are paid to those who have been in limbo for too long, struggling to make ends meet, and to put food on the table for their families.
People living on the edge or in dire financial straits daily cannot augur well for a country facing an unrelenting struggle to get out of the economic doldrums.
It is incumbent on the Government to make sure that it fulfils its responsibilities to its citizens. Just as taxpayers are called upon to fill their end of the bargain and pay their taxes, so too is it important for Government to pay what is owed to workers.