Government workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including those on the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) Programme, who make EC$546 or less a month, are being paid less money than is required for them to live above the poverty line.
This is according to data compiled from the latest poverty assessment, which the government is yet to release, almost three years later than scheduled.
However, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) gave the data to the media at a press conference in Kingstown, on Wednesday.
“I just want to pause for a minute or two to point out that this government, by paying people on the YES programme $450 a month, has those people below the poverty line,” said NDP chairman, Daniel Cummings, the incumbent MP for West Kingstown.
“In other words, all the people employed by the government getting $450 a month are being paid less than the poverty line. No wonder [Opposition Leader] Dr. [Godwin] Friday has proposed that we are going to increase that by at least $200 to take those people above the poverty line,” Cummings said, referring to the NDP leader, who was also at the press conference.