The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

Congratulations on your elevation to such an eminent position of Chairman of the Reparations Committee. I wish you all the success in this endeavour.

In light of the forgoing, I am making my claim for reparation.

My name is Alson Slater. I was employed by the Port Authority from June 15, 1991 as a junior security officer, then as a port police officer, reaching the rank of a corporal from 2004. As part of the contractual agreement between the Port Authority and myself, I was paid yearly automatic increment. The Port Authority terminated this contract without notice in 2010, claiming that they were going to introduce a performance incremental system which, up to today, they have not done.

This matter was taken to the Labour Department, and the Labour Commissioner ruled that the Port Authority should pay their increments. In a letter dated April 10, 2013, he stated, “Failure to do such, change the terms of employment to a situation which makes the workers worse off, is not acceptable industrial relations practice”.

To get away from paying these increments, the Port Authority, on Aug. 1 2013, dismissed 85 of us. “No if nor but or maybe.”

On Emancipation Day, when I should have been celebrating the abolition of slavery, I have to look my family in their eyes and say, “Massa say no wuk no dey.”

I was placed in economic slavery. Not only did I lose my job on that important day, but also health benefit.

Mr. Thomas, I have polycystic kidney disease, and the doctor says that within the next two years, I will have to have kidney replacement treatment (dialysis/kidney transplant).

Sir, this is a very expensive undertaking. One dialysis treatment cost five hundred dollars ($500). I will need at least two sessions per week, that means I will have to spend one thousand dollars ($1,000) per week, four thousand dollars ($4,000) per month. I cannot afford those costs. Hence, the need for a health plan.

Further to that, I have my mortgage to pay, my child to send to school, plus daily expenses.

Sir, I am not asking for free money; the increment belongs to me. I am asking for a chance to contribute to my community, which I have been doing for the past 22 years. I want to be able to provide a home for my family. Sir, I hope that my children do not have to wait another 20 years to get reparation for me.

Reparation is not only about what they did to us, it is also about what we are doing to ourselves daily. In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus states that we must remove what is in our eyes, then we will see clearly to deal with what is in another’s eye.

By the way, there is a young lady from Barrouallie, a former Port Police. She did the medical for the Police Force.

What is the reason for her not getting called? Is it because there is a claim that she is an NDP? Has the Police Force recruitment office become an agent of the ULP?

I am looking forward for a speedy resolution of these matters.

Alson Slater

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].