The economic challenges facing some Tobagonians were used by the Progressive Democratic Patriots’(PDP) Deputy Political Leader, Farley Augustine to show up the greed at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
Using the advantage of the virtual campaign at last night’s meeting, Farley put up an onscreen analysis and broke down the fortnightly salary of two categories of daily paid workers in Tobago, who he acknowledged made up a sizable portion of the country’s workforce. He informed viewers that one category of those workers were labourers employed under the Health and Infrastructure Divisions and worked for a daily salary of 235 TTD per day. After 10 days and without making adjustments for deductions such as health surcharge and NIS he pointed out those workers collected a gross salary of 2440 TTD when a cost of living allowance (COLA) was added.
However, the PDP’s second in command also noted, “The people in Tobago who make this are the people in Tobago who raised people like me and sent people like me to school. They found a way to cut and contrive.” He lamented that if persons working for that salary could find a way to take care of their families then the THA had no excuse. Farley asked, “Why must greed take over the THA? Why must a few end up with everything? Why must a few end up with the whole loaf?” However, Farley said that he understood that there was a second category of workers working for even less than those labourers employed at the Health and Infrastructure Divisions and noted that the highest-paid worker in the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme(CEPEP) was taking home 1653 TTD on a fortnight as a foreman while the lowest-paid worker was getting 992 TTD.
He compared this to the salary of the highest-paid workers at the THA, the PDP assemblymen, who were working for far less but were doing far more than their counterparts in assisting persons struggling on a day-to-day basis. He asked Tobagonians to google the salaries of their assemblymen and make a comparison of who was giving back more to the community.
“So when you see a PDP assemblyman who has no secretarial position walking around and giving you loaves and giving you hampers and buying you tablets and going by AA Laquis and buying you a wheelchair you must understand the kinds of sacrifices that are being made,” he said.
The main speaker noted that his party’s election campaign would be fought on those basic ‘kitchen table issues’ and said, “One thing this party wants to ensure when this party wins the elections your bread and water must be sure. You must be able to eat.” He added that the PDP wants to make certain that the necessities for every family in Tobago are prioritised.