Categorized | National News

Workers Should Quit Protesting And Reapply, Says Davis

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Davis yesterday admonished the group of Urban Renewal Programme workers who gathered outside the Ministry of Works Monday in protest of their contracts not being renewed to quit demonstrating and “reapply.”

Last week, about 80 employees from the Urban Renewal Programme received letters informing them that their contracts, which are set to expire on June 30, would not be renewed.

The Free National Movement (FNM) has accused the government of political victimisation as it alleges that most of the workers who were given letters are believed to be supporters of the FNM.

On Monday, a group of employees went to the Ministry of Works and Urban Development on John F. Kennedy Drive where they expected to reapply for their positions.

However, the workers claimed they were turned away and told that they could not apply because the official who oversees the programme was out of office.

At the Cabinet Office Tuesday, the deputy prime minister was unwilling to discuss the matter at length and issued a terse message to the workers.

“First of all, I am not aware that they have reapplied. Their contracts have come to an end and instead of demonstrating they should be reapplying for their jobs,” he said.

The workers, who demonstrated outside the ministry Monday, claimed the government failed to give them proper notice that their contracts were ending.

Furthermore, the employees questioned why they were losing their contracts and being told to reapply while other employees remained in their positions.

“Why was it that just a select few who were sent home packing and now have to do this tedious process of coming here and reapplying while other people are still on the job,” said Cornelia Taylor, acting manager of the Urban Renewal Fox Hill Centre. “This is what we do not understand and we would really like for someone to come and explain that to us.”

Former Labour Minister Dion Foulkes has criticised the government’s decision to end the contracts of the workers and Mr. Foulkes has promised to join the employees in further demonstrations against the government.

His sentiments were echoed by FNM Chairman Charles Maynard who has called the government’s decision to not renew the employees’ contracts evidence of “blatant victimisation.”

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has said it will not engage in a row with the FNM who the party claims is trying to score political points by using the Urban Renewal employees.

The PLP said that it supports the government’s attempts to revamp Urban Renewal in order to “make it stronger and more responsive to the needs of the affected communities.

“No amount of political grandstanding and posturing by naysayers and detractors of the ilk of Mr. Maynard who wants the government and the country to fail will distract this PLP government from its mandate to fundamentally keep Bahamians safe,” the PLP said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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