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Insect Vector watchmen not paid for six months

Published: 
Monday, May 14, 2018

With all their savings almost depleted about 12 watchmen contracted at the Ministry of Health’s Insect Vector Control Division (ICVD) claim they have not been paid for the past six months.

The watchmen are also considered to be IVCD security guards, referred to as “supplemental police,” and are classified as daily paid and paid fortnightly. They work shift—8 am to 4 pm, 4 pm to midnight and midnight to 8 am.

The watchmen are spread across various IVCD locations, including Barataria, Port-of-Spain, St Joseph, Tunapuna and Chaguanas.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian, one of the watchmen, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said they are yet to be given an explanation for why they have not been paid. He said each of them works for about $2,500 fortnightly.

“Trying to get our pay and trying to find out why we are not getting paid is a continuous back and forth,” the watchman said.

“We have heard something about waiting for approval from town and if they don’t get approval they would not be responsible for payments…whatever that means.”

He said many of them were now going through the hardship of “scraping to make ends meet.” “We work on three months contracts, some of us for more than one and two years without regularisation. On top of that they not paying us…it is frustrating.

“I have almost used up all my resources and we are at the end of our barrels right now. We have our children and families to see about, mortgages and rent to pay. It is very hard and we need our salaries now,” he said.

When contacted for comment, a ministry official said the ministry was currently “reviewing its processes relating to the engagement of daily rated watchmen.”

The official advised all employees in this category, who may have individual human resource-related issues, to raise the matter with their respective supervisor or the HR department.

The official added that employees can contact the director of Human Resources at the ministry’s Port-of-Spain headquarters to escalate the matter. Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh also promised to look into the matter.

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