Letters: All for the Might, None for the Meek

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Dear Editor,

Once again the classic tale of all for the mighty and none for the meek has come to pass.
The law of the jungle is that only the strongest will survive. And courtesy this government,
the jungle it is indeed.

With a stern face and unwavering commitment, the Minister of Finance and the Chief
Personnel Officer told the negotiating unions that you either go to court or settle at 4%.

With little to go on, the starved working class accepted the 4%. They were told that there was no money left to pay public officers and that the only other alternative was job loss. The PM on the other hand gets $80,000 with back pay.


The Salary Review Commission (SRC) is rewarding the PM for incompetence?

One must examine this 4% increase in detail to really see the truth. A 4% increase in salary with an inflation rate of 4.6% in 2023 and 5.8% in 2022 according to the Central Bank which represents the loss of purchasing power of your money. In effect, the 4% increase amounts to less than zero. Now you can factor into the equation for 2024 the introduction of Property Taxes and the intended increase in utility rates and what do you have?

We have not even factored in the current inflation for 2024. The standard of living of the average man on the street is going down at a rapid pace. Food prices and medicines continue to rise.

It is the intention to remove all subsidies from automobile fuel. The government reduced the subsidy on travel to Tobago. All of this in an attempt to reduce the budget deficit, at least that is what we were told, and now you see it fit to give high office holders a raise?


Will this PNM Government seek to add insult to injury. Will it undertake such a boldface and uncaring initiative on the eve of a general election. This would be tantamount to scant regard and little respect for the working poor.

The claim of no money to fix the roads, no money to complete the National Oncology,Centre, no money to purchase critical drugs for the hospital pharmacies, doctors unable to work in the hospitals because their contracts are not being renewed due to lack of funds, no money to compensate farmers for flood damaged crops, victims of serious crime being left to fend for themselves, no money to bail out the NIB pension fund, no money to give senior citizens an increase in old age pension, NO MONEY FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE PARIA DIVERS but you have money to raise the salaries of the privileged not forgetting the generous perks that they already enjoy.

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Is this what the population voted for? Is this a slap in the face of good and prudent governance? Is this a case of animal farm? Are the trade unions and the working class beasts of burden to use as necessary and feed off the scraps of the master’s table even in an election year?

The recent statement by the Minister of Finance that the NIF 2 was a resounding success is actually Hogwash. The bond represents a loan that the government is taking. This represents an increase in the public sector debt. The reason that it was oversubscribed is due to the poor investment climate and the paucity of alternative investments.


The rate of interest that the banks charge for loans is upwards of 7% while they pay depositors less than 1%. The paucity of other suitable financial investments is due to the mismanagement of the economy. The economy is underperforming. The government is underperforming. Is this underperformance now going to be rewarded with a salary increase? What is the methodology that was utilised to arrive at the salary increase for the privileged few? How was it that the very same methodology was not utilised for the working class? Is it that the NIF 2 bond is to pay the privileged few?

What type of donkey economics is this? Will the prime minister and minister of finance be allowed to treat the population as fools? Snickering and saying that “They haven’t rioted as yet”. That would be treating the working poor with pure contempt. Indeed this is donkey economics at its very best. In times of economic downturn, the focus of any government should be on implementing measures to alleviate the financial strain on its citizens and bolstering the economy.

A decision to increase salaries per the SRC would be a tone-deaf message to the public, showcasing a lack of empathy and understanding of the hardships faced by ordinary citizens. It undermines the principle of leadership by example and erodes trust in the leaders’ ability to prioritize the welfare of the people over personal gain.

Raising the salaries of the privileged during a recession can damage the country’s reputation on the global stage, as it portrays fiscal irresponsibility and a disregard for economic prudence.

A decision to implement the SRC Report would only serve to undermine the collective efforts needed to navigate through challenging economic times.

Dinesh Rambally

MP Chaguanas West

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