Senator Monique Taitt has criticised Government for bringing “incomplete” and “rushed” legislation to the Upper House.
The lawyer-politician, who was speaking Wednesday during the Severance Payments (Amendment) Bill, said that such a matter should have been dealt with earlier given the COVID-19 impact.
Senator Taitt said: “What concerns me when we have these types of issues is that we always seem to wait to the last minute to deal with things that ought to have been dealt with before. We can look at it holistically, globally, properly, efficiently, and get it right. We have a piece of legislation that has a short life – currently the 1st of June to 31 of July.”
The Senator lamented that 17 days had already passed but the law was not yet enacted.
“But today is the 17th and we haven’t passed it yet so we have already lost the 1st to the 17th so there is a potential that they are people sitting down waiting for this legislation to pass so that they can make their claim pursuant to this sunset legislation.”
Senator Taitt said the sunset legislation has too short a lifespan for there to be delays and questioned if someone wanted to make a claim what the procedure would be.
She continued: “We pass it today, we sign it tomorrow, it’s law, but we don’t know what is the procedure because the minister may make an order with respect to investigating and settling claims. It is too short a life not to have had the details of what is supposed to happen incorporated in a schedule, the body of the legislation wherever.”
In responding to both concerns voiced by trade unionists Senator Caswell Franklyn and Senator Toni Moore about the mistreatment of workers, Senator Taitt said not all employers are bad but cautioned that the bad ones must be dealt with.
She declared: “All employers are not evil. What concerns me is that we keep talking about it, if you listen particularly to our trade unionists that are in this Chamber they seem to continuously and continually complain about the same players all the time.
“My thing is it is time to get something done about these people who are breaching the laws of this country.
“But we have to be careful because as we seek to do that, it is imperative that mixed signals cease because some of the players in the evil employer world are seen in the company of high-level officials in this country.”
The Senator said that while both employees and employers matter the days of slavery are done.
Senator Taitt said: “If we have that going on no wonder they feel that they are above the law and they can get ‘way with all kinds of “murder”. It concerns me that we have this on-going dialogue about persons who feel that they don’t have to comply. Slavery is done. Black lives matter. Bajan lives matter. Employees matter but in the midst of all this we must not forget employers matter too.”
“As an Independent Senator, my remit is to look at things and represent all constituents in Barbados. So as we focus on the employee who, depending on your viewpoint is disadvantaged, we have to remember the employer who as Senator Holder says must be given an opportunity to stay in business.”
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