An amateur move on the part of Minister Hamilton

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Dear Editor,

I was aghast to learn from a December 02, 2021 Newsroom article that Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton is apparently depending on the private sector to advise him whether they can afford any improvement in the national minimum wage. For an experienced politician as Mr Hamilton it seems to be quite an amateur move on his part.

The good Minister must know to ask the private sector to assess itself is like trying to devil in hell. I personally hold no hope that the business community will now or ever come and admit to anyone that it is making profits and can pay their workers more. Business will always shed crocodile tears to drum up sympathy that they are barely keeping their noses above water. How else would they be extracting more and more concessions? Certainly, the Irfaan Ali-Government has not hidden its pro-business credentials and have given the private sector everything it asked for and probably more on a silver platter. It is from this perspective that I see Minister Hamilton’s comments.

Let us not forget, business exists to make as much profits as they can. If that involves cheating its poor employees out of a decent wage or charging obscene prices to hapless consumers, they will do so without batting an eyelid. That is the very nature of business and that is why Government is expected to regulate the market to ensure workers are treated fairly and consumers are not exploited. Our present Government, however, has, from all impressions, seem to have forgotten its role. Clearly this matter is not on the Government’s agenda currently. The Minister has said the national tripartite committee has lapsed and a new one will be named in a few weeks’ time. As we all know that means such committee would not be consummated until sometime in 2022. After that breathing space, undoubtedly with the hope that the matter will die, some new excuse will be deployed. If you ask me, our government is actively aiding and abetting the private sector in cheating their employees out of any improvement in the minimum wage. I hasten to remind that even though the private sector is the engine of growth, no matter how finely tuned that engine maybe it is the workers who are the fuel that propel that engine. Similarly, it is the workers and their families’ votes who, in free and fair elections, make or break governments.

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Yours faithfully,
Patricia Persaud



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