PM: Irrigation staff not paid because of management inefficiencies
May 17, 2013

PM: Irrigation staff not paid because of management inefficiencies

The non-payment of workers at the national irrigation station at Orange Hill has nothing to do with a lack of resources, but is related to inefficiencies among those in management.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made this assertion during a press conference earlier this week.

He said that there are persons charged with the responsibility for ensuring that the subventions needed to keep the project going are done so that workers could get paid.

This was so, especially in cases such as the national irrigation authority or any other enterprise that is not a money making entity, the Prime Minister said.

“The [newspaper] report was correct when it said that the workers turned up for work every day; it didn’t say they turned up for work and worked, because the fact of the matter is this, since Tomas then the April floods, the irrigation systems have been completely destroyed or damaged severely,” the Prime Minister said.

“Now if you are employed on those and there is nothing going on, those responsible must address that, because I think it should be evident to everybody that this is not a question of resources, but rather one of inadvertence in administrative inefficiency.

“If somebody is working and you haven’t terminated them and they turn up to work, you have to pay them,” the Prime Minister reasoned.

According to the Prime Minister, if it was a situation where those in charge felt that they were not going to repair the structure within a reasonable space of time, then the sensible thing to do was to sever the workers, pay them their severance, pay, then help those formerly employed to find a job.

Gonsalves further explained that once the project managers came to the realization that it was going to be too expensive to repair the equipment, then it made no sense to have the workers turning up.

However, the Prime Minister said that he regretted that the situation had arisen, saying that when persons turn up for work, even if they have very little or no work, they ought to be paid.

Workers from the irrigation authority at Orange Hill complained in two local newspapers last month that they had not been paid and that they had come to the media to share their plight.

The issue of non-payment has been plaguing the irrigation authority for some time.

Gonsalves said that he read the report and that although the disgruntled workers complained that they had not been paid since October 2012, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar had denied that the period of non-payment had been that long. (DD)