(CMC) — Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Monday urged the private sector to forgo plans to send home workers following the destruction caused to their businesses when Hurricane Maria slammed into the island on September 18, killing at least 28 people and causing millions of dollars in damage.
But Skerrit also warned public servants that their jobs would only be saved if they show a commitment by turning up for work.
“We will maintain the employment of the public service but… on the condition that you work. You as a public servant cannot not show up for work, or be at your home, cooking all day and eating all day while the rest of us come to work every day for 10 to 12 hours….”
Skerrit said he would not be tolerating any “demonstration of laziness …to people’s national duty.
“We will do everything humanly possible and with the help of the Almighty to ensure that we could get the resources to maintain the public service, but people have to work.
“Everybody has to work and what I will say to you if you are not prepared to demonstrate seriousness about your duty and responsibilities to yourself …and country…you are not working for anybody else and what you put in that’s what you will put out.
He said he was appealing to the private sector that ‘we should not rush to terminate people’s employment.
“There must have a human conscience. You can’t always be about the bottom line. We all have difficult circumstances. The government has not earned one single dollar through taxation or port duties since September 18, but we paid all our debts and our legal obligations at the end of September.
“We are paying all our salaries and all our legal obligations at the end of October and we should not rush to terminate people who have been so good to us and for bringing wealth to us.
“Let us hold people’s hands at least for the next few months so that we could all have a good Christmas,” Skerrit told the daily press briefing, adding “so we could buy our little ham , our little turkey and gather around the table as a family”.
“We have to hold people’s hands as long as possible, do not rush to terminate and so on because some of you will be getting insurance money for loss of business. Hold on to your staff who have been good to you and allowed you to make all these millions both here and especially overseas”. Skerrit said he wanted to commend the insurance companies that have been making payments but he wanted to see a level of efficiency in the writing of cheques.
“These days you don’t have to write up cheques, the computers print them for you with a pre-approved signature…so let us roll out the cheques as quickly as possible so that we can use these resources” to revive the economy.
He said the insurance payments were a “critical component of our recovery” adding “if this is delayed then our recovery is delayed” urging people receiving insurance payments “to use these resources for the purpose.
“Do not go and jump on the ferry and rush off to St Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique and elsewhere …and your house is still uncovered,” he added.