Facing the sad predicament of not being able to provide for her four children, including a baby, Susan Niles is pleading to be reinstated in her job.
For five years, Niles, 42, worked with a contractor on the National Reforestation and Watershed Rehabilitation Programme. She was assigned to San Fernando Hill.
On March 4 she proceeded on maternity leave. However, when she asked about her job after her leave expired this month, she received the shocking news that she was no longer employed. She was told the contractors had been changed and the programme is no longer under the Agriculture Ministry.
Niles found out that during her absence, the programme was transferred to the Rural Development Company. The contractors' services were terminated and fresh contracts were awarded. However, some of the workers were rehired.
In an interview at her Rosehill Street, Claxton Bay home, she recalled: "They told me that they don't have my name as one of the workers on San Fernando Hill. I went to the previous contractor and he say that they under new management and they cannot do anything about that and they have no space."
Due to the COVID-19 situation, Niles' husband, a mason, has not been getting work and she said there have been only "ah lil day work" and those have been few and far between.
She said there were many days when she has nothing to feed her three sons, ages 13, 10 and six, and her two-month-old daughter. Her eldest son will be sitting the Secondary Entrance Examination in August. Her stepson, age 22, also lives with them.
Susan Niles stand in front of her home in Claxton Day.
The family got a temporary food card for three months, but that has since expired.
"Right about now it has nothing, the baby has no pampers, no milk, because I have no cash coming in," she said.
Niles is pleading to get her job back.
"It is challenging right now because of the volume of children, just now they have to go to school, they have to eat. Most days now they have nothing to eat, no foodstuff nothing. Some days I wonder what going on, where I getting money from because we have no find of food for them to eat and is children," she said.
Niles plans to apply for a permanent food card, but in the meantime relies heavily on hampers or good samaritans for help.
"I don't want to live in poverty, I just want a job. I don't know if the people in charge could look over my situation and give me back my work please," she pleaded.
Due to COVID-19, Niles said her maternity leave paperwork was been completed by her former employer. She is hoping it will be done soon so she could apply for the NIS benefit.
Anyone willing to assist the family can contact Niles at 343-2860.