I find it annoying to hear first a Government Minister in Barbados and then the Minister of Finance in SVG, saying that they are making an ex-gratia payment to the victimized workers of LIAT and Buccament Bay Resort respectively. Another way of saying this is we have no obligation to pay you anything, but we are going to make this payment out of the kindness of our hearts. Governments cannot do anything out of kindness; they’re obligated to follow the laws of the land. As the elected leaders of our countries, I say it’s your obligation to take care of our workers/people.
Imagine this, I just lost my house, my wife, and my dog; yet you insist on telling me what a wonderful day it is and I should be smiling. Sometimes a little sensitivity to the people being stomped on is the most prudent action.
In the case of the Buccament Bay Resort, our government was involved in the sale of the Resort.
From all accounts, they did not include the payment of outstanding wages to our workers in the negotiated sale price. By the way, did the government get any of the outstanding taxes owed to them from the amount paid by Sandals Resort’s to the bankruptcy trustee? Or was this another debt forgiven by the government in an effort to close a deal?
Over the last four years the government has gone out of its way to convince us that they were also a victim of this great fraud and, regardless of the outcome, they had no legal obligation to the workers of the Resort. Mr. Minister, sometimes not repeating your cultivated truth is a good thing; some of us are still hoping that a “Labour” Government will one day stand up and do the right thing for workers, even if you have no “legal obligation” to do so.