Hinkson calls for ministers to be penalized

Former chairman of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) Edmund Hinkson is demanding the immediate reinstatement of former NCC workers and for action to be taken against Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo as well as  Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe.

He said Government was totally at fault for creating the situation that led to the resignation of all but one member of the Employment Rights Tribunal. Hinkson, who is an attorney-at-law, also argued that Lowe must accept blame for failing to abide by the “first in, last out principle” in the dismissal of the workers, while Dr Byer-Suckoo must also take responsibility for not did not providing the tribunal with the tools to carry out its function.

“It is time the Government stops giving these workers and these Barbadians the run around and stop making a political football out of them. They have been sacrificed enough on the basis of political expediency. This is really a watershed moment for the public sector workers in this country and for their union representatives,” said Hinkson, who is also the Barbados Labour Party representative for St James North.

“We call on the established trade unions to join with us to fight for the workers’ rights, we call on them to agree with us that [we should] clamour for the reinstatement of these workers and we call on these workers to join with us and agitate for their rights.”

While he described the resignations as the worst possible news for the thousands of retrenched public servants, particular with Christmas just days away, the Opposition member said the eight tribunal members should be congratulated for the correct stance that they took.

“Why is the Government now seeking to pass the blame on to the members of the tribunal when it is totally the Government’s fault for the position that they are in?” he queried.

“Really and truly, we have to reach a situation in Barbados where ministers must do the decent thing and resign and if they refuse to do so, a prime minister must take decisive action and relieve them of their Cabinet positions in the interest of the people of Barbados.”

He predicted that the tribunal would remain out of operation for a very long time.

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