FTC completes SOL LP gas price investigation

The Fair Trading Commission, on its own initiative, has completed an investigation which was launched in September 2017 after receiving two consumer queries relating to the purchase of SOL 100 lb Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders.

In each circumstance, the consumers alleged that they made a prepayment for LPG cylinders prior to a legislated price increase. However, their cylinders were delivered after the price increases came into effect.

The consumers subsequently discovered that they were charged the difference between the price they paid and the increased price, as per SOL’s Terms and Conditions of Service which stated: “Prices billed, will be prices prevailing on the date of delivery”.

After completing its investigation into this matter, the Commission determined that this clause may be an unfair contract term and/or misleading and/or deceptive conduct, which is contrary to the Consumer Protection Act, CAP. 326D.  As a result, SOL was directed to remove the said contract term and SOL has complied with the Commission’s request.

Furthermore, the Commission has directed SOL to reimburse all customers who would have prepaid for an LPG gas cylinder but were asked to pay an increase in price because of the above mentioned contract term. This process is to be completed on or before December 17, 2018.

The post FTC completes SOL LP gas price investigation appeared first on Barbados Today.

BLP outlines plans for 80th anniversary conference

Barbados Labour Party (BLP) officials have outlined plans for its annual general conference at the end of the month.

At a brief press conference on Saturday, conference planning chairman Kurt Haynes said this year is extra special as it is the 80th anniversary of the BLP’s formation.

He said the BLP is also celebrating the country's first female Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

“Over the period October 26, 27 and 28 all 30 of our constituency branches, our vibrant associated arms - namely the League of Young Socialists, Women’s League,  United Kingdom Branch and New York Branch - will join together for one solid party fellowship," Haynes said, adding that Mottley exemplifies the legacy left by Sir Grantley Adams.

“Amazingly, in 2018, just like in 1938, our current leader Mia Mottley continues to mirror the example and the legacy set by our founding father so long ago. History does have a way of repeating itself. We were always blessed with good leaders,” he said.

[caption id="attachment_281558" align="alignnone" width="650"] BLP PR Committee Chairman Ricardo Blackman (left) and Conference Planning Chairman Kurt Haynes.[/caption]

Haynes also noted that they will be awarding faithful supporters for their contributions to the party from its inception.

“On this special night, we also recognize persons who are non-members. These men and women [who made] incredible contributions to our nation and this year is no different. We acknowledge the awardees in the area of sport, youth, and culture. This year we have expanded and added environmental protection and education,” he said.

The conference planning chairman also noted that Barbados is at a crossroads.

“One sign pointed down the road to total economic depression, to waste, bankrupt ideas and corruption in government. The other sign pointed towards a road that leads us to new ideas, bold initiatives and fresh thinking about our nation's problems," he said.

"It leads  Barbados to an honest and intelligent approach to what is needed. It points to social injustice. It points to new horizons in economic development. It points to the restoration of the principles of integrity and pride in the administration of government and good governance in our country. It points to opportunity and returned prosperity after a period of adjustment. We shall not fail you.”

The conference is set to begin on Friday, October 26 at The Lodge School where the 80th-anniversary booklet which is being prepared by Davidson Ishmael, will be released. (LG) 

The post BLP outlines plans for 80th anniversary conference appeared first on Barbados Today.

Adverse weather conditions affect Caribbean Airlines flights

Caribbean Airlines is advising customers that due to adverse weather conditions, some of its flights for October 19 and 20 have been cancelled.

The airline says the following flights for today have been cancelled:

  • BW 456 from Barbados to Port of Spain
  • BW 448 from Port of Spain to Barbados
  • BW 449 from Barbados to Port of Spain

To minimise inconvenience to customers holding confirmed tickets for travel during the period October 19 – 21, Caribbean Airlines says it is allowing persons whose travel plans are impacted by the adverse weather to rebook without change fees, subject to conditions.

Caribbean Airlines says all changes must be made through its call centres or ticket offices.

The post Adverse weather conditions affect Caribbean Airlines flights appeared first on Barbados Today.

The coming OECD black list

Reports are wrong in stating that eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are on a ‘blacklist’ recently released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) over Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and Resident by Investment (RBI) schemes that they operate. The OECD has not ‘blacklisted’ these countries – at least not yet. But the stage has been set for punitive action unless there is a proactive and unified response by all these countries.

Essentially, what the OECD said in its latest resistance to any form of tax competition is: CBI/RBI schemes can be misused to evade tax legitimately due to their countries of tax residence by the beneficiaries of these schemes. In the statement, issued on October 17, the OECD makes no distinction between CBI and RBI schemes, contrary to announcements from one Caribbean minister that suggest a differentiation. In other words, the eight CARICOM countries are all in this together, along with twelve other jurisdictions that have been named specifically.

The eight CARICOM countries (in alphabetic order) are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts-Nevis, and St Lucia. They join only two member-states of the European Union (EU) – Malta and Cyprus – even though at least nine other EU countries operate a form of CBI/RBI scheme. Among the nine EU countries are Britain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

No explanation is given for the omission of these nine EU states from the concerns over CBI/RBI programmes, and none is given for not including the EB-5 programme of the United States or the Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme in Canada.

These omissions apart, at least the EU admits that all of its member-states “have various incentives in place to attract foreign investment from non-EU nationals” and that “most of them have CBI or RBI schemes (so-called ‘golden passports’ and ‘golden visas’), characterized by the provision of access to residency in exchange for specified investments”.

All of that seemed to be well and good, until two of the smallest jurisdictions in the EU (Cyprus and Malta) and other small nations, such as the eight CARICOM states, joined in the schemes because of economic necessity. Now, the EU and the OECD (in which the EU plays an influential role) have decided that CBI/RBI programmes pose risks for “corruption, money laundering and tax evasion”.

This bold claim is made even though the countries identified in the OECD October 17 statement have in place strong anti-money laundering regimes, Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, and are implementing both the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standards (CRS). FACTA and the CRS require jurisdictions to exchange automatically financial information of foreign persons and companies to other countries in which they are liable for tax.

The new OECD claim is that “identity cards and other documentation obtained through CBI/RBI schemes can potentially be misused abuse (sic) to misrepresent an individual’s jurisdiction(s) of tax residence and to endanger the proper operation of the CRS due diligence procedures”.

Of course, this claim can be settled easily by a requirement for all jurisdictions, everywhere in the world, to necessitate that account holders or controlling persons declare any residence rights they have in each jurisdiction in which they have it. In this way, submissions would be made to all the jurisdictions of residence of account holders and controlling persons, thus stopping any misrepresentation.

But, that is not the only new claim now being made by the OECD. The organisation also asserts that “high-risk” CBI/RBI programmes are those which “give a taxpayer access to a low personal income tax rate of less than ten per cent on offshore financial assets and do not require significant physical presence of at least 90 days in the jurisdiction offering the CBI/RBI scheme”. This latter situation, which the OECD clearly wants terminated, would materially affect CBI/RBI programmes in CARICOM jurisdictions. It effectively dictates what tax rates should be and the conditions, which in their sovereign right, the CBI/RBI jurisdictions have set.

Given all this, if the CARICOM jurisdictions are to save their CBI/RBI programmes from decimation, they should form an alliance with the other 12 named jurisdictions to fashion a joint response before the OECD moves to its next step which, undoubtedly, will be a blacklist that calls for sanctions against them. None of their interests will be served by any jurisdiction that chooses to enter an individual agreement with the OECD, setting a precedent which all the others will be obliged to follow.

Once any jurisdiction readily accepts the OECD dictates, unified action is disrupted, and all jurisdictions will be forced to acquiesce. This disruption of unified action has been the pattern of past responses to the OECD’s so-called ‘rules’. The consequence has been the steady destruction of the financial services sector and an attendant loss of revenues and jobs to the countries.

The affected jurisdictions should take the OECD at its word that its concern is the misuse of CBI/RBI programmes by beneficiaries to hide their assets and escape reporting under the Common Reporting Standard. As explained earlier in this commentary, that issue could be easily satisfied, and CARICOM countries could collectively offer to do so.

What is more problematic because it invades the sovereign rights of states is the branding of CBI/RBI jurisdictions as “high risk” because they might have a low tax rate and no requirement for physical presence. Indeed, it is eminently arguable that these two claims do not obviate the obligations of the CRS and FACTA to report on the financial assets of account holders or controlling persons.

However, if these are conditions that the OECD implements, the CBI/RBI programmes in all but powerful countries will be decimated with disastrous effects on their economies.

That is why common cause to confer urgently with the OECD should be a priority of CARICOM countries. The decline of the economies of eight of them will impact the neighbourhood in which the other seven exist. All are involved, and all can be consumed.

(The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own.)

Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com

The post The coming OECD black list appeared first on Barbados Today.

Look to Africa in NCDs fight, says UWI lecturer

The secret to reducing high susceptibility to lifestyle diseases known as NCDs may lie in the West African DNA most Barbadians carry, a University of the West Indies medical researcher has suggested.

Research in this area is expected to be explored through greater collaboration between the University of the West Indies and University of Ghana.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop ties between the two universities was signed on Thursday by Principal of the UWI Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau, UWI Pro Vice Chancellor Sir Hillary Beckles and University of Ghana Vice Chancellor Professor Ebenezer Owusu.

Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Kenneth Connell, gave insight into how Faculty of Medicine’s ongoing research into chronic non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, stroke and diabetes, would benefit from working with the leading West African university.

“The main driver into hypertension in Caribbean is sodium and how our bodies handle it. This is very similar to what still occurs in West Africa. There are several postulations of theories as to why this has happened and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is one of them,” said Connell.

This research was not merely an academic exercise as the hope is better formulate better management of these diseases, he said.

“We plan to thoroughly dissect these theories not just as an academic exercise but for the benefit of both populations and the way we manage these NCDs. The link also to diabetes may also be unique to the African diaspora so we are excited,” said Connell.

He further explained “at this point in our history we have for the very first time a clear dichotomy in the way hypertension is managed between black and non-black. So we are happy that change has already started and we hope that our research enables us to add to this conversation.”

Connell also noted that it is now currently recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach could no longer be applied to the use of drugs to treat NCDs and it was therefore important that Barbados and the rest of the region narrow down effective measures unique to its genetic makeup. (CM)

The post Look to Africa in NCDs fight, says UWI lecturer appeared first on Barbados Today.

Biz contest ‘should be in schools’

The organizer of a contest for teen entrepreneurs in which a student gets a $20 loan to startup and run a viable eight-week business is hoping to have the annual challenge form part of the high school curriculum.

Keith Miller of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation said it was his dream to see the $20 Challenge become a reality in the school system within the next two years given the state of the economy and the role of the initiative in helping to prepare students to become more enterprising.

“We now need more creative people, we need innovators, we need people who are risk takers willing to take a calculated risk and put their money into business and willing to employ other people – enterprise driven people who can think for themselves,” said Miller, who acknowledged that not everyone would become an entrepreneur.

“My dream is that one day and hopefully it is one day soon, certainly by 2020, the $20 Challenge will be part of the school curriculum of every secondary school in Barbados. Just like we have sports day or speech day as part of the school calendar the $20 Challenge should be part of the school calendar,” he said.

Miller, who was speaking at the official launching ceremony of the eighth cycle of the challenge at the Pelican Village on Thursday, said he believed the implementation of the programme in the schools could be done through a private/public sector partnership.

“The end result is that we create a brand new generation of enterprising Barbadians,” he said.

But a frustrated Miller said too often politicians merely call for more entrepreneurs to be created, teachers are required to “make young people business-ready” without the necessary tools, while businesses complain that students are not ready for work.

“This is where the $20 Challenge comes in. It is private sector driven and it takes place within the school environment. It gives our young people a real-life experience of starting your own business, running your own business, making your own money, becoming independent of your parent,” he said.

This year, 14 schools have signed up for the challenge. Each student will be given a loan of $20 to start and operate a viable business for a maximum of eight weeks. The Challenge ends on December 31.

Participants are expected to donate a percentage of their earnings to a charity of their choice.

The students are judged in several areas including innovation and creativity, profits and social responsibility.

Acknowledging that some schools have already adopted the $20 Challenge in their curriculum since it started in 2011, Miller said “the rest of Barbados is now catching up but without the benefit of the integration into the schools.

“So to me that is another box ticked as to why the $20 Challenge should be in the curriculum throughout the schools… It can be done. It really can be done,” said Miller.

The BEF official could not say exactly what percentage of those involved in the challenge would have gone on to actually own their own business over the years.

But, explaining that the challenge had served as a “springboard” and a foundation for many students who have gone on to have success in several areas, Miller said he was also aware that many of them were attempting to start their own business.

At least seven businesses have been registered after making the debut in the contest, he said.

While the BEF had made contact with the former administration about having the $20 Challenge being made part of the secondary school curriculum, Chief Executive Officer of the BEF Celeste Foster said a meeting has already been held with Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland about the implementation process.

And pointing to the Junior Achievement programme in Jamaica, which is aimed at educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential and hands-on programmes, Foster said it was hoped that model would be used in implementing the $20 Challenge across the school system here.

“As soon as Barbados is ready we are ready to sit down with [policymakers] because the model has been tested and proven and we are ready to take off,” she said.

Two new initiatives have been added to the challenge this year – sponsorship of a teacher of a participating school to the Innovate Barbados conference in November, and lunch-and-learn workshops.

A new category is also to be introduced for the award ceremony, which is scheduled for March 2019.  (MM)

The post Biz contest ‘should be in schools’ appeared first on Barbados Today.

Say no to violence

Cultural artistes are coming together to promote peace in schools with the anti-violence campaign being launched at all secondary schools across the island.

The initiative being implemented by the Ministry of Education spreads the message of peace to students through artistes that they view as role models.

On Thursday, at the Grantley Adams Memorial School, students joined in singing the campaign song with Faith, Mole, Peter Ram and Phillip 7 and gained a better understanding that ‘peace begins with me’. The entertainers donated armbands with the words Talk It Out, Violence Solves Nothing to each student.

Barbados TODAY interviewed Mole who stated that he was pleased to be involved with the campaign and to inspire the youth.

“It has been a great experience. I like working with the youth because they cling to me. So once I can help them and cut down the violence I like it,” he said.

Meanwhile, veteran entertainer Peter Ram said he would like more artistes to come on board.

“The more artistes that get involved, the more serious the step is going to be. Instead of [us] four, you get about eight more to convey and preach [the message] to let them know that this is a serious thing,” he said, adding that the campaign song should be played more often on the radio stations.

“So the deejays do their part and not only the artistes. So any tune; it does not have to be this tune, but you push it in this space, you could do half an hour,” he said.

The group also took an anti-bullying stance with Faith stating that persons should live as one family and not try to make someone feel inferior.

“For me, bullying is not making any sense as you will unfair a child today. That is not making you any better, that is not advancing you in life or anything but you’re just making another child feel bad or inferior. I would encourage everyone to live as one. As the campaign song says - we are one family, so treat each other as a brother or sister,” she said.

She gained support from Phillip 7 who said that bullying made no sense because young people would take the same negative traits into the world of work.

“At the end of the day, no one wins. If you bully at school you would take that same attitude into the workplace and that is your future you are tampering with,” he said.

Veteran entertainer Peter Ram also joined in giving an example of a man who was bullied at his alma mater St George Secondary School who arrested his bully after he became involved in crime.

“I live to see the guy that [was] getting his head slap all the time who went and do a [course] and became the police. And the guy that was slapping him [in his head] end up doing crime and he is the same man that went to collect him and he [the bully] was apologizing and begging the man for a break,” he said, adding that bullying is the reason that the man ended up involved in criminal activity.

Mole also noted that he saw everyone as equal therefore bullying made no sense.

“I believe all of [us] are equal. Bullying [doesn’t] make sense at all because nobody is more than anybody. Because I [am] Mole the artiste does not mean that I am more than a fan. Bullying does not make sense, you do not get [anything] out if it other than a laugh but it hurts people’s feelings, so it does not make sense,” he said.

The students of Grantley Adams Memorial thoroughly enjoyed the performances with some of them asking for autographs as well as photos as keepsakes.

The artistes have performed at eight secondary schools thus far and are planning to cover the remaining 17 by the end of the school term.  (LG)

The post Say no to violence appeared first on Barbados Today.

Fatal word

Hours before an employee of the Attorney General’s Office was pronounced dead early this morning from an apparent medication overdose, he dropped a fateful hint to his mother Maxine Baker in a phone call from his workplace yesterday.

Julian Watson, 36, of Ivy Main Road, St Michael was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) sometime after 9 o’clock last night, but was declared dead at the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department at around 6.30 a.m. today.

“‘I can’t manage this one, I goin’ got to do this,’” Baker recalled her son whispering while on the phone with her.

[caption id="attachment_281547" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Mother Maxine Baker (right) is consoled by sister Jacqueline Baker this afternoon. Below, the late Julian Watson.[/caption]

“He said under his breath yesterday . . . he was talking to me on the phone . . . he like he moved the phone a bit and said under his breath . . . ‘I can’t manage this one, I goin’ got to do this . . .’ but I never asked him what he meant. I just pretended I didn’t hear that part. But I wasn’t looking for nothing like this,” the retired probation officer told Barbados TODAY this afternoon during an interview in a hushed home while her teary-eyed sister Jacqueline sat nearby.

Baker said the death of her only child, who worked in the accounts department in the Attorney General’s Office for ten years, has still not had an impact on her yet.

“Even though my son is gone, it has not hit me full yet, because I have been traumatized so much over the years . . . in the home, in the work . . .  I have been traumatized . . . like part of my soul is now gone. You got to do soul retrieval now. I have to do soul retrieval, because that is what I need to do now because I cannot feel his death yet,” she said.

The mother, who said she did not believe her son took his life on his own, told Barbados TODAY she had been hearing rumours he belonged to an organization and was asked to do a task. She did not elaborate.

She said she was not at their Ivy Road home when he was rushed to hospital and expressed anger at not being informed much earlier by the mother of his two children.

“I found out about 9.30 last night, when the girl, who supposed to be his girlfriend called me. So by the time I got to the hospital, he had already had a tube down his throat, which meant that he was there for some time before . . . and they told me after that had happened. I was told he may have taken an overdose,” said Baker in trembling voice.

Baker described her son as a man of few words

“We were in Trinidad the last weekend in September. I took him because I know he was having some problems, so I thought that a man of God would be able to help him. The man did talk to him, yes, and his spirits were lifted
. . . but I don’t know what happened [since then] because when he is away from me we don’t talk that much . . . . We are not really talkers either. So, when I don’t hear him for a day or two, it’s no problem because I know he is into something. But the man of God was telling he was battling some evil spirits,” the mourning mother said.

Over at the Attorney General’s Chambers, the atmosphere was sombre when a Barbados TODAY team visited.

Deputy Permanent Secretary Charles Piggott said workers were in shock at the death of a “friendly and effervescent chap.

“I know that his passing has come as shock to members of staff here at the Office of the Attorney General. I saw him on several occasions while in our various rounds this week and there was no evidence that he was under any stress or any sign that he was burdened in any way,” Piggott said.

The deputy permanent secretary also described Watson as a good worker who would be missed.

He also revealed that the administration and staff met this morning with counselling agency Network Services.

The late accounts department worker was also described by staff as a lively and jovial person.

Police are carrying out investigations into the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide.


The post Fatal word appeared first on Barbados Today.

Default grade no surprise, say PM, BES

Yet another downgrade of the country’s sovereign debt to default status has come to no one’s surprise, the Government joined an independent expert in saying today.

Given Government’s decision to embark on a debt exchange programme, Standard & Poor’s downgrade on Wednesday was expected, according to Prime Minister Mia Mottley and BES president Shane Lowe, speaking separately to Barbados TODAY.

“When you go into a debt exchange you can expect a downgrade,’ Prime Minister Mottley said tersely when asked to comment on the development this afternoon.

“This action is not surprising and comes in light of Government’s pending execution of its domestic debt exchange programme,” Lowe told Barbados TODAY.

The downgrade came on the heels of Sunday’s announcement of nearly full acceptance of Government’s local currency debt exchange offer and the issue of new debt instruments by month-end.

Said the New York-based ratings agency: “We are lowering affected issue-level ratings on all Barbados’ rated local currency debt to ‘D’ (default) from ‘CC’.

“We are also affirming our ‘SD’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings on the country, and our ‘D’ issue-level ratings on Barbados’ foreign currency issues,” it added.

S&P said it affirmed its ‘CC’ transfer and convertibility assessment on the country.

But the Prime Minister promised that “when the debt exchange closes you can expect things to change . . . in a few weeks”.

In its rationale, S&P acknowledged that all local currency treasury bills, treasury notes, debentures, loans, certain government arrears, and debt owned by state-owned enterprises and other entities that receive transfers from the state budget fell within the scope of the exchange.

Therefore, it said, in accordance with its criteria, and “Rating Implications of Exchange Offers and Similar Restructurings, Update”, it had lowered the issue-level ratings to ‘D’ from ‘CC’ on 10 issues of Barbados dollar value instruments with maturity dates between October 31, 2018 and December 31, 2025, at a total value of $575.225 million.

It said the ‘SD’ sovereign long- and short-term foreign and local currency ratings on Barbados reflect that the Government missed its debt service payments on both foreign and domestic debt.

“We expect the Government to issue new debt under its Barbados dollar-denominated debt exchange by the end of October 2018, and continue engaging in dialogue with external creditors to commence a foreign currency-denominated debt exchange in the near term,” it said.

“Once the respective exchange offers are complete, and we are able to conduct a forward-looking review that takes into account the benefits from the exchanges, as well as any other interim developments, we will change the respective issuer and issue ratings, in accordance with ‘Rating Implications of Exchange Offers and Similar Restructurings, Update’ criteria,” S&P said.

At that time the issuer credit rating is likely to be raised to ‘CCC’ or low ‘B’ category.

“The benefits that Barbados will gain following the exchanges, along with implementation of its Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation plan, will form part of the Government’s strategy to meet the targets set out under the Extended Fund Facility” said S&P of the deal that was approved by the IMF board on October 1.

If Barbados received a ‘B’ category rating in coming months it would be placed on par with Jamaica, which is also currently involved in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and has a debt rating of ‘B’, said Lowe.

“The actual rating will likely depend on S&P’s assessment of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan’s ability to increase creditworthiness over the near-term.

“However, this rating remains several notches below investment grade and thus, Barbados’ debt will still be considered ‘speculative-grade’. More specifically, a ‘B’ rating corresponds to borrowers that S&P deems to be ‘more vulnerable to adverse business financial and economic conditions, but currently have the capacity to meet financial commitments’,” he explained.

The respected economist said should Government remain on track with its targets under the BERT plan, the rating itself “will not likely influence the Government’s interest costs in the near-term given their limited projected financing needs over the next four years”.

But the next major target for scrutiny, the economist suggested, were the ratings on the island’s foreign currency debt, which he said was likely to remain in default until negotiations were completed with external creditors.

“The pace of future rating upgrades on foreign currency debt will determine how quickly the Government can regain access to international capital markets should the need ever arise once the four-year Extended Fund Facility with the IMF is concluded,” said Lowe.

Government is hoping to complete negotiation with foreign-currency creditors by early next year.

The post Default grade no surprise, say PM, BES appeared first on Barbados Today.

Last post

Some of the 1,500 public workers selected to go home as part of the Government’s restructuring programme have begun receiving written and verbal notice.

But the union who represents most of the state’s employees suggests a botched process in which workers have been sent home without final paycheques in their pockets.

Employees in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the Postal Service began getting their walking papers yesterday, Barbados TODAY has learned.

While he could not say which categories of workers have been notified, Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Wayne Walrond said this evening that some of its members informed the union that they received verbal notice that today was their last day on the job.

This came at a time when the Head of the Civil Service Louis Woodroffe issued a memorandum to members of the Committee of Permanent Secretaries and Officers of Related Grade today telling them that the termination process should be completed by day’s end, if not, next Wednesday.

“Following a review of staff assignments across the public service, it has been decided that Permanent Secretaries should proceed with the termination of those departmental posts identified, and should seek to have this process completed today,” the memo read.

But the document went on to tell them that in instances where the process could not be concluded today, it should be completed by Wednesday.

“No action should be taken in respect of general service posts until a new list is distributed by the Personnel Administration Divison (PAD). The new list will be available by Monday, October 22,” Woodroffe stated.

He also noted that the PAD will soon advise on the adjustments to Smart Stream, the Government’s payments system.

Critical of the Mottley administration’s handling of the job cuts, the NUPW’s Acting General Secretary described the retrenchment process as just a “chop exercise”.

He noted that despite the assurances given by the Government that workers who are retrenched would go home with their entitlements, this promise has been broken.

“The National Public Workers is extremely concerned about the number of reports from employees informing us that they have received oral communication that today is their last at work . . . that they have been terminated,” Walrond told Barbados TODAY.

These workers are being told that they will be contacted when their letters are ready and their money is ready, he said.

“This seems to suggest that the relevant agencies are not quite ready. I call it the chop exercise, not the scalpel. This is very barbaric and inhumane because before you are ready to deal with all of the loose ends of termination you are ready to send home workers empty-handed,” the spokesman for the largest public sector trade union stressed.

He is upset that the workers were told about their retrenchment without either correspondence or their salary being readily available.

“And this is in addition to the pain of not having a job. . . and this is contrary to human dignity as you are now sending home the workers today when you are not ready.  I understand it may be off of the smart stream system. So that means the notice, if it is a month’s notice, may go effective from today and not necessarily from the end of the month,” Walrond said.

He emphasized his disappointment with “this type of treatment”. The union leader said the NUPW has been warning the relevant authorities that this exercise needed to be properly ventilated and follow a process and more time was needed to tidy up all loose ends and arrangements.

“The union is not averse or naïve that there is a structural adjustment programme and that there will be consequences in terms of people being terminated; but at the same time all we were asking is please go through the process properly, tidy up the process, please let us ventilate all the matters of entitlements so when you are ready, workers move with their full entitlements, added Walrond.

The post Last post appeared first on Barbados Today.