Opposition Chief Whip Marlene Mc Donald believes there is a plot by Government to stifle the coast guard and the air guard of T&T. Speaking at a PNM meeting at Majouba Junction, La Brea on Saturday night, Mc Donald said that thousands of people will be placed on the breadline because of Government's cuts in salaries and allowances. "I don't understand the policies of Government. If they had enunciated a vision or strategy, we would all be clear as to what they intended to do. Instead there is deception, deceit and lies and so they captured the votes," Mc Donald said. She lamented that in every Ministry the allocations for salaries and allocations have been cut. "This would mean that hundreds if not thousands of workers will be sent home. This is particularly true with the RHA's where a total of $20.5 million have been cut from the budget for salaries and allowances," Mc Donald said.
She added: " It is happening quietly in every Ministry where contract workers have been sent home and new people are being hired without the jobs being advertised. Is that a Govt for all?" The MP also said that two days ago, the forestry department received a letter indicating that no one over the age of 60 should be working on that programme. However, she lamented that if the cuts had occurred in the RHA's alone, then it would not have been so bad. "What is worse is that salaries and allowances have been cut in the judiciary, the industrial court, the Coast Guard and the Air Guard. I am beginning to wonder whether there is a thread of interconnectivity, a collusion among all those institutions," Mc Donald declared.
She added: "There is a plan to stifle the Coast Guard and the Airguard, that is what is happening." She questioned: "What is going to happen with the country's fight against the international drug trade? What is going to happen with the blimp and the three OPV's that were sent back? What is Government's slant to fight the drug trade?" Mc Donald also said that salary cuts in the protective services were cause for concern. "We ask what is the plan with respect to fighting the international drug traders. It is not only about salaries of these members of the protective services. The Govt has cut provisions of medical expenses provided to the Fire Service by $600,000, the Prison Service by $200,000 and the Regiment by $500,000.
The allocations for uniforms for the regiment was cut by $700,000 and the prison officers by $500,000. Even in the figures of Ministry of Finance there has been a $4 million reduction in medical plan for officers," Mc Donald said. She added that the budget was built on lies and deceit. RS