Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the Government has declared war against the poor.
She was responding to the announcement by Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, that there will be a wage freeze for public servants over the next three years.
The following is the statement issued by Persad-Bissessar:
“The declaration of war against the hard-working citizens of this nation further illustrates the Rowley regime’s lack of effective measures in response to Trinidad and Tobago’s economic challenges.
The announced 0/0/0 wage policy a.k.a. wage freeze in the public sector is another symptom of the Government’s absence of vision and creative solutions and the inequitable distribution of the burden of the adjustment.
It is also a sharp rebuke of the labour sector, with which Dr Keith Rowley signed a pre-election pact and faithfully promised meaningful consultations.
This policy will also have a knockdown effect on private sector employment.
The 0/0/0 wage policy a.k.a. wage freeze policy is another testimony of the Government’s inability to properly manage to try financial times, as earlier evidenced by two barren budget presentations.
It follows hardship imposed on the working poor by the Rowley regime, including mass dismissals in the public sector, increased taxes and higher cost of living.
Despite avowed promises of the national dialogue on important issues, the Government has not engaged in discussions on wages, consumer prices and profits and on economic equity.
Instead, the Government has granted tax breaks to yachties and is stealthily moving to divest the prized Trinidad and Tobago National Gas Ltd., to its big business friends and associates.
In addition, the Rowley regime is spending wildly on paintings, cruises, international travel, hiring their political cronies and other wasteful exercises.
This mistreatment of hard-working citizens could have a negative impact on the national economy by affecting productivity and employee morale. An oppressed workforce could cost the country billions of dollars through eroded performance.
I call on the Prime Minister to take over leadership of Ministry of Finance in these critically trying times and to lead with compassion and fairness to working class citizens.