Thursday, April 18, 2024

DEAR CHRISTINE: Still awaiting word about house spot


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Dear Christine,
Another year is here and I am still waiting to hear from the Urban Development, National Housing Corporation, or the Prime Minister.
Life is very hard as I am not working and have to move my house from the spot it is on as the lady wants her land, and is continuously sending me notices.
Two years ago I wrote to THE NATION and a gentleman contacted me through Dear Christine saying he would lease me a piece of land.
He wrote up a contract which I took to the Welfare Department for assistance but they were unsure as to whether he owned the land.
As a result, I did not get the help.
I worked babysitting and housekeeping when needed and gathered the money to pay a Mr. . . . from Cave Hill. After I visited this land on several occasions I was approached by this man’s family who told me he did not own the land and that he took money from several other persons for the same piece of land.
Work is hard to get and people seem to want to walk on you because they see you are needy. Pay is very low and people want you to work over eight hours for the same pay.
The stores want you to sweep, mop, do cashier work, operate a lotto machine, and pack shelves, which is too much for one person.  
The people who want you to do housekeeping want you to wash, press, clean a two-storey house with five bedrooms and bathroom for a very small salary.
They do not pay National Insurance Scheme (NIS). They leave the country and never inform you. They go to work and don’t leave the pay and the nanny has to pull her pocket to pay the wages.
You have your children to take care of, your bills to pay, and everybody is sending notices.
The Welfare Department sends you a very small cheque that stops every time for review and when you go to them for assistance with food, you are drilled on each occasion although you try to go months apart.
Your children at university are working part-time to pay the fees and the Welfare Department wants to know why they can’t buy food or pay the bills.
How far can a small salary go? They do their best to help. Food is expensive, so is electricity and water.
I once worked for a cleaning company that only paid for the hours you were on the job.
You travel from place to place, and the time you travel is cut from your hours each day.
At the end of the week you hardly scrape up $150.
Some people want you to work at functions and serve 100 people during an eight-hour period for a mere $50. They don’t even want to provide you with transportation after 1 a.m.
I have so many stories of unfairness that it would take many letters to tell all.
I just hope to get a good word of help with a job so I can help myself.
I can work as a waitress, babysitter, housekeeper or in stores. I am a hard worker, pleasant and friendly.
At present I really want a place to put my house and the longer I stay, the house is in need of more repairs. I am unable to do anything without work or help. I hope you can help me.
– Hopeful
Dear Hopeful,
There is no doubt that there is a lot of exploitation of workers taking place within some circles right here in Barbados. I get repeated calls and letters from individuals who, because of their need to find a job, are sometimes treated unfairly and paid very low wages.
As I have had to do earlier this week with another reader, I think you should refer your concerns to the Chief Labour Officer or someone from the department, and get some advice about your work hours and pay.
I also believe you should seek legal advice concerning the man from Cave Hill to whom you paid monies believing he was the real land owner.
Please keep me up to date.


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