MOONILAL: "What's the real story with CEPEP and URP wage increases?"

Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr Roodal Moonilal, is calling on the Finance Minister to clarify the wage increase for both CEPEP and URP workers.

During the Finance Minister’s 2020 Budget Presentation last Monday, Government explained that these workers' wage increase takes into account the new cap for the Minimum Wage.

However, Dr Moonilal says this explanation has raised more questions than provided answers.

According to the Oropouche East MP, 80 per cent of CEPEP workers (8,000 workers) will receive an increase that actually is less than the legal minimum wage, a point raised on Friday by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as she kicked off the Budget Debate.

However, on Friday, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Fitzgerald Hinds, during his contribution to the debate, explained that the proposed 15 per cent increase for CEPEP and URP was actually to be accorded to their new minimum wage.

Dr Moonilal says this is confusing, since it would mean an increase of some 31.6 per cent in wages for those workers. He says the Finance Minister must clarify the matter, as quickly as possible.

The Opposition MP also takes serious issue with government’s decision to debate the EBC Motion late on Friday night, using its majority to get the bill through the House of Representatives.

According to Dr Moonilal, that was a serious abuse, and infringement of the country’s democratic processes. He alleges that government has deliberately undermined the electoral process by putting pressure on the EBC (Elections and Boundaries Commission) to make certain electoral boundary changes in the ruling PNM’s favour.

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