Leader of the Opposition Hon. Stephenson King is expressing concern over alleged reports emanating from various government departments indicating that public officers who are currently experiencing various forms of illness are being listed with threats of potential victimization.
Reports reaching the Office of the Leader of the Opposition indicate that ‘certain’ top-ranking government officials had requested the names of allegedly sick public officers who failed to show up on the job on Monday, February 25.
King has warned that any actions of political victimization by the present administration on the grounds of protest action by public sector workers will not be tolerated! Mr. King said that the Opposition will bring all forces to bear against any actions being contemplated by this SLP administration including public protest action and the legal system.
“It is the right of workers, if they feel it necessary, to mount pressure through varying forms of protest action against the current government which refuses or fails to respond to their needs,” King said.
He added: “…the protracted delays in current negotiations over wages and other benefits are unacceptable at this time when the present Kenny Anthony Administration seems bent on inflicting greater hardship on the people of Saint Lucia. Even at this juncture, despite the prime minister’s promise to the nation of no Value Added Tax (VAT) on water, the workers of this country are now hearing of a proposal to increase water rates by some 66 percent, which if granted, would be four times the 15 percent VAT rate. It is understandable therefore, that these public sector workers who are experiencing anxiety and stress over the long delay in the negotiation process would now succumb to varying forms of illness.”
Mr. King concluded by sending this strong message to the current government: “The Opposition is monitoring these recent developments within the public service closely, and we want to warn the Dr. Kenny Anthony Administration that we the Opposition United Workers Party will not tolerate these scare tactics and intimidation against public sector workers and will rally its forces, if necessary, if the workers who are feeling unwell are victimized in any way, shape or form, upon their return to their respective posts within the public service!”