Former Minister of the People and Cumuto/Manzanilla MP, Christine Newallo Hosein, is questioning why certain social grants were cut right before the Local government election.
"Is this psychological warfare?" Newallo Hosein asked the crowd along the Eastern Main Road in Sangre Grande.
Newallo Hosein says people have been coming to her in droves complaining that food cards have been cut, as well as disability grants.
Circumstances “permitting,” there will be no cuts in the CEPEP labour force or contractors, said Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein yesterday.
Hosein said if the need arises, it may be reviewed, “but as of today there will be no cuts”. He stressed this during yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee scrutiny of the 2020 Budget.
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, has confirmed that CEPEP and URP workers will have their wages upgraded to the new minimum wage, before their proposed 15 per cent increase is added.
The Labour Minister says Government had hoped to increase the Minimum Wage to as much as $18.25, but the economy would not have sustained such a steep rise.
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.
One of the major talking points coming out of the $53 billion 2020 budget delivered by Finance Minister Colm Imbert last week Monday (Oct 7th) was the increase in salaries for CEPEP (Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme) and URP Unemployment Relief Programme) workers of 15 per cent.
The move was hailed by some as a good one but criticized by others as being a local government election ploy.
The political leader of the Congress of the People says Monday’s budget failed to address urgent measures needed to transform the country's economy.
According to Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, the fiscal measures announced only appear to achieve short term political gains, as opposed to sustainable development.
She said the government's macroeconomic position was out of sync with reality.
Close to 100 school benches for the Scarborough RC School are being restored by the Furniture Workshop Team, Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) in preparation for the new school term.
The URP says it's part of ensuring the safety of students remains a top priority for the programme.
A statement by the THA Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, says much attention is given to inspecting the stock of benches and ensuring that safety standards are observed.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert says the Government has uncovered files showing that 300 people were being paid salaries as area foremen under the URP system, to assist their ill children.
He says they will now be channeled through the right mechanism.
Speaking at today's post-Cabinet media conference, Minister Imbert said they were all parents of children with cerebral palsy.
Works and Transport Minister Fitzgerald Hinds later confirmed they were being paid a total of $264,000 per fortnight, from August 2011 to very recently.