On Saturday May 1, 2021, the world celebrated International Labour Day, also referred to as “May Day”.
Here in Trinidad and Tobago, May Day meets us at the lowest point that the economy and industrial relations have been in decades.
The series of measures akin to a lockdown is a whip on the backs of undeserving workers and small businesses who are constantly punished for the Prime Minister’s incompetence and astoundingly weak leadership throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Workers continue to lose their jobs in droves, forced to survive by whatever means and measures they can, as Dr Keith Rowley and his Government continue to collect their full salary despite not having a single good achievement to show for their years in office.
I am inundated daily by persons calling me in confidence, desperate for hope and help, as their savings dwindle, as their bread and butter is lost, as their family members hunt desperately for jobs and as there is no hope on the horizon under this Government.
The measures imposed upon us by the PM have brought us no guarantee of safety, since these measures were in place before, and failed to prevent the spread of infections.
The PM continues to point fingers instead of taking responsibility for our porous borders responsible for the entry of the Brazilian variant into this country. What is the Government really doing?
Citizens of this country are exhausted, fed up of the irresponsibility of a Government that has created the perfect storm to preserve their political shelf life, while abandoning the interest of families, students, workers, small business owners and the section of the society that keeps the economy running.
With the world advancing by leaps and bounds in its vaccination agenda, this administration is pathetically behind, vaccinating only 40,000 out of 1.4 million people. Workers are left exposed to major risk, even as they strive to keep this country running.
The PM’s disappearance on the morning he was scheduled to take the vaccine, and his miraculous reappearance, timed on the same day that the vaccination drive came to a close, also raises much speculation about his real attitude towards vaccination.
While countries all over the world must shoulder this challenge, there are many small countries that are way ahead of us in their fight against Covid-19. The question is “Why?”
The Opposition is calling on the Prime Minister to show commitment to his job, and boost the acquisition of vaccines at a much faster pace for the workers of this country.
We are also calling upon the Labour Minister to ensure that the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) is mandated and resourced to ensure the adherence to safety standards in both the public and private sectors, including mandatory sanitisation and social distancing.
In a country where both public and sector workers are losing their jobs, today, on May Day, workers in Trinidad and Tobago must certainly cry “May Day!” as a cry for help.
Member of Parliament for Couva South