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GUYANA: Workers Should Earn a Living Wage and Old Age Pensioners Should Enjoy Better Pensions
Stabroek News
Malcolm Clarke

August 21, 2010
View the Original Article

Dear Editor,

We must commend the present government for a number of achievements such as advanced educational programmes, improvement in the health sector, the low carbon initiative and many more, but we still are far behind in many aspects of social improvement.

There is need to pay a living wage so that the average worker can afford to feed, clothe and house himself properly as well as pay light bills, water rates and other bills. Sad to say, our money has lost its value and take-home pay is often inadequate for workers to live on.

The revaluing of our dollar ought to be done. In the colonial era a dollar could do much. Our dollar virtually has no value and is discarded even by children. Of course the politicians will give a number of reasons for our economic woes. The main reason will be our inherited public debt. Reference will be made to the world economic crisis, the rules of the World Trade Organization, the injustice of the Economic Partnership Agreement and many other reasons.

We, as a society are lucky to have a tiny population in a vast territory loaded with a wide variety of resources and no earthquakes, floods, hurricanes in comparison with the Caribbean and other countries. We should be a paradise. Instead our people have been leaving for years for elsewhere. Our old pensioners are in hell because little can be done with their meagre NIS, government pension or old age pension. This is more so for those who have retired many years ago. Since then there has been great inflation and the retirement pension has lost its value.

Much revenue is earned by government through a plethora of taxes and duties, the most recent being VAT. Let us not forget aid over the years and debt forgiveness from developed countries and international institutions. Hence the administration should try to pay living wages and salaries to a small workforce and a small number of pensioners when compared with many other countries.

Yours faithfully, Malcolm Clarke