Claire Elshot and Raymond Jessurun.
PHILIPSBURG–The Anti-Poverty Platform will continue its SXM Workers Strong campaign to bring awareness to issues affecting workers and to reduce the possibilities of workers being taken advantage of.
At a press conference on Friday, Anti-Poverty Platform representative Claire Elshot, who is also President of Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), said there is need for restructuring the laws in the country to better protect workers who are displaced. She said many businesses are letting go of workers post-Hurricane Irma not due to bankruptcy, but because they do not want to reopen. Now more than ever, she said, there is need for a social protection floor for workers.
“We need to look at ways to protect our workers,” she stressed. “We are asking all workers to continue to be positive and to know that we as unions care.”
Elshot wished all workers and their families a peaceful closing of 2017 and a prosperous New Year.
Antipoverty Platform co-coordinator Raymond Jessurun of the St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) said many workers and families have been facing harsh challenges and the Platform has attempted to address this.
He said that although the Platform had requested an audience with Governor Eugene Holiday, this had not materialised.
He said also that none of the country’s 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) have come up with solutions to ensure that every household in St. Maarten has a liveable income of US $2,200 per month.
“Anyone who wants to help St. Maarten has to look at supporting households,” he said. “The New Year must bring a change.”
Jessurun said donors interested in assisting St. Maarten should not go through politicians, but should look to assist families directly, similar to the manner in which the Red Cross has done with its food voucher and other aid programmes since the storm. The Anti-Poverty Platform will be identifying persons in need in the community and will be providing agencies interested in helping St. Maarten with this information.
He also spoke about the “jacking up” of prices since Hurricane Irma and indicated that the cost of living in the country is spiralling out of control. The Anti-Poverty Platform will be demanding that prices go down.
According to Jessurun, while it is “flattering” to hear that part of the seven-million-euro early-recovery fund from the Netherlands will be used to help seniors and the vulnerable, all the needy in the country are vulnerable and are in need of assistance.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72309-anti-poverty-platform-to-continue-campaign-in-2018