Government employees working in the social services sector as well as pharmacists and police officers are being asked to take their jobs seriously.
In fact, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is asking members of the public to telephone his office and report delinquent workers.
Gonsalves told the media on Thursday that his Cabinet had, on the previous day, made some decisions about some priority Lives To Live houses to be built.
Lives to Live is a programme under which the Unity Labour Party administration builds houses for the elderly poor, as well as persons with various physical and mental conditions.
The prime minister said he had asked the minister and permanent secretary for social development to conduct a fair review of persons employed with the Home-help for the Elderly programme.
“… they must do their review, do it fairly of the home-helpers but where persons are not doing their work properly, they must find other forms of work. Because you can’t have old people depending on you and you are not turning up on time or when you go there, you just simply turn on the TV set and sit down in [front of] it.
“That’s not what you are hired to do. Your job description is clear and your name is clear: Home-helper for the Elderly. And home-help doesn’t mean for you to just sit down in front of a TV and watch and, at an appointed hour, leave.
“And some of them even eat the piece of food which the old people have.
“I’m talking to them. I am the author of the Home-Help for the Elderly programme, so I am asking you, please.”
The prime minister further said that there are small pharmacies at all clinics across the country.
He said there are a few pharmacists who would not turn up to work or who turn up for a short period of time and move on.
“I am asking the permanent secretaries to write up these people, send their names to the Public Service Commission and let disciplinary action flow.
“Look, every five years, I have to go to the people you know. The people have to mark my exam and if they are not satisfied with the work I am doing, they will kick me out of office: whether in my constituency or nationally. Nobody is immune from assessment.”
The prime minister outlined one way in which a pharmacist’s delinquency could have an impact on whether someone lives or dies.
“I am asking you, pharmacists, think about this: I use my home village, an old person or not so old person with diabetes and hypertension, they’re relying on the tablets, they got the last one and you’re supposed to turn up at the clinic and you don’t turn up. What you want them to do, to go into a coma? You have no conscience?” the prime minister said, adding that he was not talking about the pharmacist at Colonarie but was merely using the village as an example.
“But many reports have come to me. And what I want the people increasingly to do, when you find these weaknesses, telephone the office of the Prime Minister. I am asking you to do it. The telephone number is 456-1703.”
The prime minister said callers should ask to speak to someone at his office.
“You wouldn’t get to talk to me but leave a message, tell me what is the problem, where it is.
“I don’t want you to go on NICE Radio or Star Radio. You can do it if you want. But I ain’t hearing radio when I working. And don’t be afraid to complain. Don’t be afraid either to leave your name and number at my office. It would be kept confidential, so I can call you back, if need be, to get additional information.”
Gonsalves said his government is paying too much in salaries to tolerate such delinquency.
“I want you to do the same thing for me with the police men and women who giving you the false information every time that they don’t have transportation. You just have to walk down the road, five minutes. Whappen? You want a buggy to go down the road five minutes?
“And I don’t want you to just complain on the van. Because complaining on the van and cussing Ralph on the van ain’t bringing about a solution. Your interest and my interest are in the same question. People must do their work. That’s what they are paid for.”
He said that some people who are slack in their work would not like to hear what he is saying.
“But, I ain’t kay (care). My name is not Kay. Because I will deal with the matter. I am telling you that. I can’t fire anybody, I can’t discipline anybody but you give me the information. I can then go to the relevant authorities in the system and say this is the situation; that is the situation,” he said.