A Government spokesperson has attributed the Freundel Stuart administration’s tardiness in implementing a number of capital projects to the economic realities facing the country.
Senator Verla De Peiza told a joint meeting of the Christ Church West and East Central branches of the Democratic Labour Party at the Arthur Smith Primary School, St Matthias, Christ Church on Sunday, naysayers were questioning why many of the promised projects had failed to get off the ground.
But with funds “thin on the ground” the administration could not “splurge” on infrastructural projects, particularly with the economy just beginning to recover, she said.
“They are valid issues and questions, but they are also built around a reality called our economy. This is the time to shore up people, not splurge,” the attorney-at-law told supporters.
However, she said “the DLP has risen to . . . [the] challenge in several different ways”, including enacting several pieces of legislation to ensure employees were “comfortable” at work.
And while not making reference to the approximately 3,000 public servants severed in 2014 as part of austerity measures, De Peiza said the measures were even during a period of “uncomfortably high” unemployment.
“Making persons comfortable in the workplace has been a major focus of this administration. That is important even in times when the unemployment rate is uncomfortably high. You are setting the scene and the standards for when people are in the workplace and also for those who are already there.
“With these pieces of legislation in place everyone knows what they are entitled to. Now workers are certain that they are entitled to compensation if they are unfairly dismissed; they are certain that they are particular things they have to be given while they are employed; you have to have your record of employment, you have to have a contract of employment, know how much minimum time is to be given to a worker. In addition, you can have a mathematical calculation in the event there is an incorrect calculation of what is your due,” she explained.
De Peiza also welcomed “the innovative thinking” in the revival of the sugar cane industry, the development of alternative sources of energy and the development of a Cultural Industries Development Authority which could create employment for the island’s artistes and artisans.