“ON POINT: Stop the layoff ‘sabotage’”

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Name them, Mia! Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley recently charged that she was satisfied there is an element of sabotage related to how some of the layoffs in the public sector are being undertaken.

I don’t want to misquote Ms Mottley, so here is what she said on Sunday: “I am now satisfied that there is an element of sabotage with respect to some aspects of it. And I am not blaming anybody but I am not blind.”

This was a very strong statement from the Prime Minister and it leaves us asking some more questions.

Who are the saboteurs? How are they sabotaging the layoff process? What will be done?

Will the Prime Minister go further than just making the sweeping statement she did, or will she let it rest there and hope that good judgment will prevail to correct the wrongs and ensure that the correct process is followed?

We take some comfort in the words of Ms Mottley, though, who went on to say on the same day: “Suffice it to say, fret not thyself. There will be order and accountability in the Government of Barbados.”

I feel I can speak for most Barbadians when I say this is exactly what this country needs.

Weeks ago, in this column, I sounded the caution early that it was sad and unfortunate how the layoffs were being conducted and handled by officials.

At the time, some who were being sent home were only being told verbally of their end with organisations, and were not handed letters or given cheques.

Whether legal or illegal, I just didn’t think this was the right way to terminate staff and I still hold that opinion.

I referred then, as I do now, to the Prime Minister’s Address To The Nation when she promised that cuts would be made in a humane way, although she did acknowledge some mistakes might be made. I am sure she didn’t anticipate all this at the time of speaking.

Now, this was some time ago. However, the issue still exists today.

We have seen problems arising surrounding layoffs at the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, marathon meetings with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and the Barbados Water Authority.

Still a cloud of confusion looms.

Isn’t something wrong with this picture that a Prime Minister can give a statement to the country regarding how the process should be followed, and then there are those reportedly sabotaging the process? Aren’t there clear protocols and chains of command where instructions are followed, especially in important matters such as layoffs? After all, you are dealing with people and their livelihoods.

This mess needs to be dealt with.

To the powers that be, make sure and sever workers in a more dignified and humane way.

To those said to be sabotaging the process, recognise you are playing with people’s lives and the lives of their families. (CM)