Kamla concerned over possible public sector job cuts
Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaks at the Monday Night Forum August 26, 2019. Photo via Facebook, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Does Government intend to fire public servants?
That was the question asked by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the United National Congress (UNC) Monday Night Forum at the Debe High School on Monday night, given Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s recent description of the productivity and work ethic of those employed in the public sector.
Persad-Bissessar said this was a reasonable assumption, as the Prime Minister’s statement could only be interpreted as him calling public sector workers lazy.
Questioning the reason behind the statement, the Opposition leader suggested that Government was having difficulty paying public servants’ salaries as a result of the closure of the Petrotrin refinery.
"Dr Rowley says public servants are lazy. He denigrates public service. In every crop of people, there is good, bad and indifferent. Why he comes now to say public servants lazy?
"Why would he attack the public servants? Did something happen recently? I think they don't have the money for public servants. They cannot pay the public servants so he is setting the stage. Is it that they intend to fire public servants?"
Commenting on recent “alarming” developments at Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited (TPHL), which saw the sacking of Chairman Wilfred Espinet and the appointment of the Prime Minister’s lawyer, Michael Quamina as chair of the company and its subsidiaries, she said while Rowley and Energy Minister Franklin Khan placed the blame for the failure of Petrotrin on the workers, they are “setting the scene for that yet again”.
She said Government was bringing in people with no experience in the energy sector, while citizens were the ones suffering.
Persad-Bissessar warned of a looming fuel shortage, noting that with no refining operations ongoing Government has had to purchase fuel.
Claiming that gas stations have already been experiencing supply issues, the Opposition leader questioned where the money was coming from to purchase fuel.
"Let us hear what is the situation with funding, now that we have to import fuel. They shut down Petrotrin and say it was not working.”
Persad-Bissessar said the country has gone into an economic State of Emergency, adding that the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government has set the country back, reversing progress made under the previous administration.