Haves and have-nots
AMID a bitter political feud that crippled the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Tobago politicians have finally found something they can agree on.
THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis (PNM) on Wednesday appealed to all who still have a job to help the less fortunate. He reiterated his view that employees – including lawmakers – should donate ten percent of their income to people who don’t.
Mr. Dennis’ position is remarkable because his party has not made a commitment on this issue and he claims a demand where there is no official line to follow.
But more strikingly, the chief secretary managed to find himself on the same side as Watson Duke (PDP), his biggest political opponent.
Mr. Duke urged people earning more than $ 20,000 a month to donate half of their salary to help those in need.
“Normally Watson Duke is not a good example to follow,” Dennis said at an executive council press conference in Tobago. “But in this case, I would encourage every individual, not just the leaders, but every individual who has a job now.”
The reality is times are tough and not everyone who has a job will be able to help.
Nonetheless, we strongly endorse the appeals at all levels in Tobago for all who can help make an effort. Help can take many forms. With creativity and ingenuity, there is no reason we cannot find a way to do the right thing under these appalling circumstances.
A good example is that given by Kerry Emamdee, Shane Daniel and Nicholas Daniel – part-time farmers, including two police officers, who used their “side crush” to grow watermelons and other crops to be generous to the community in his outfit. . They recently donated 2,000 pounds of watermelon to people who responded to a social media post.
“I decided to donate to charity because a lot of people are tense,” Nicholas, a pilot, told Newsday.
But this kind of action and attitude is not found everywhere.
According to House leader Camille Robinson-Regis (PNM), not everyone can afford to donate part of their salary or suffer a salary cut.
“I do not give my salary because I do not have the means,” said the Minister of Planning. She said a combination of government support and charitable donations are distributed through state-funded constituency offices.
In contrast, Toco / Sangre Grande MP Roger Monroe (PNM) sees things differently. On Tuesday, he pledged to donate three months’ salary to help voters in need. And Naparima MP Rodney Charles (UNC) on Wednesday called on MPs to cut their wages.
“We cannot live while others are suffering,” he said with common sense.