Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2015 Contents A23
letters on sunday
April 5, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Once again the issue of pay negoti-
ations in the public sector has been
highlighted in the media. This time it
concerns Caribbean Airlines and the
Airline Pilots' Association where the
pilots have been operating on 2010
fixed salaries. The three arms of the
protective services (police, fire and
prisons) are currently in a battle to
conclude negotiations for the period
2011 to 2013. There have recently
been agreements with the public ser-
vants, teachers and bus drivers, also
for periods dating back several years,
none of which include pay rates for
the current or future years.
In the USA, President Barack
Obama has just agreed to a 2015 pay
rise of one per cent for the armed
forces which takes effect on July 1,
and a pay increase of 1.8 per cent for
the year 2016. This was done so that
budgetary measures can be put in
place to meet the additional expendi-
ture. In the UK it is custom and
practice for public sector pay negoti-
ations to be concluded at least three
months before they become effective.
Also in the UK, public sector spend-
ing is determined for three years in
advance so that all parties (employers
and unions) know what monies are
likely to be made available and what
amounts may be allocated to pay
So why is T&T always operating
in the past and always playing catch
up. As everyone knows, these agree-
ments are fraught with major prob-
lems. Main amongst them is the
question of, from where is this
money (billions) coming?
Another issue is when is this
money to be paid because workers
have to wait up to five years for an
agreement and years to get their
money while working under outdated
There has been talk about requiring
wheel barrows to transport all that
back pay, what the workers should
and should not do with the money,
whether to splash out on houses or
foreign consumer goods or invest in
financial institutions which in itself
can be a risky business---banks paying
one per cent interest while inflation
is at five per cent etc.
The powers that be must now
realise they are in the 21st Century
and put in place appropriate policies,
systems and procedures to get there.
Is the motive to keep T&T forever
a third world state? Modernisation is
Public Sector consultant
We as a people need to be
more educated on the various
things occurring around us.
I asked my friend Smith, not
his real name of course, recently
what he thought about Water-
His response was, "Those boys
in WASA playing the fool."
Let us forget the race, religion
and politics for a while.
April is Autism Awareness
How many of us know what
Autism is a complex developmen-
tal disability. It presents itself during
the first three years of a person's
life. The condition is the result of a
neurological disorder that has an
effect on normal brain function,
affecting the development of a per-
son's communication and social
Gene mutations are linked to
Autism. Flu and fever during
pregnancy raise autism risk.
Mature parents have a greater
chance of having a child who
suffers from the disorder.
Those affected may not be in a
wheelchair or need a life-saving
operation. They face discrimina-
tion and stigmatisation. Autism is
a hidden disability.
It is imperative that we are
aware of the early signs of
autism: as early as six months,
rare eye contact with others. At
nine months, no smiles or other
facial expressions. At 12 months,
repetitive body motions, such as
rocking. No response when called
by name; few words. Avoids and
ignores other children when
Children suffering from autism
exhibit communication problems;
they do not socialise well.
The treatment is costly because
specific prescriptions must be
used constantly. Children with
autism need early assessment.
Specific therapies for instance
music are useful. They must have
the relevant educational opportu-
nities. They must be taught life
skills and be exposed to voca-
tional training. They must be
given tertiary level educational
They should have exposure to
the appropriate job opportunities.
Autism is a complex disorder.
Early treatment can bring
improvements. Everyone must be
aware of the early signs so treat-
ment can be accessed and imple-
mented as soon as possible.
People with autism must have
the right to fully participate in
society, they must be respected.
Let us walk this road together,
for a more caring and inclusive
A V Rampersad
Autism---a hidden disability
Policies needed for public
sector pay negotiations
Abigail Wilson cleans a red fish for a customer at the corner of George and Faure Streets, Port-of-Spain,
on Thursday. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Links Archive April 4th 2015 April 6th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page