Headline — 14 April 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
UDP bloodletting at PG Town Council

The council says that 10 workers terminated, “to reduce operational expenditure;” one victim says it is because the Council believes that he and others supported the other mayoral candidate in the UDP convention

PUNTA GORDA, Thurs. Apr. 12, 2018– The newly elected United Democratic Party (UDP) Town Council in Punta Gorda Town says that they have embarked on a cost-saving measure, and that in fact, they are terminating the services of some of their employees.

Since assuming office from the previous UDP council, Punta Gorda mayor, Ashton McKenzie, has terminated 10 employees, citing “turbulent financial times.”

Employees who were terminated were served with a letter which began by saying, “Greetings from the Punta Gorda Town Council. We hope that this letter finds you in good health and high spirits.”

After that opening, the letter got right down to business, telling the terminated workers, “Due to the turbulent financial times and the need to reduce the operational expenditure of the Council, the Punta Gorda Town Council has decided not to retain the services of all redundant positions. Therefore, effective April the twenty-first, 2018, your service will no longer be required.”

The termination letter ended, saying: “We take this opportunity to say thanks for your years of service and we wish you the very best in your future endeavors.”

In its last paragraph the letter also advised the terminated employees to “kindly contact the Finance Department to look into your benefits.”

The terminations are to be effective on April 21.

The interesting thing about the terminated workers’ letter is that the workers are reputedly all supporters of the UDP; in many cases, they have been employed at the Punta Gorda Town Council for a number of years under previous UDP town councils.

One employee, Patrick Selgado, 57, who has logged over a decade of service, only to be served with the Mayor’s “cost-cutting” termination letter, told Amandala that his life will be severely affected.

Selgado said he was employed as a driver at the Town Council and has 5 children who are dependent on him for support.

 Amandala asked Selgado what he thinks was the reason why he was terminated, and whether he believes it was to save the council money, as the termination letter stated.

“I just got to find out that some of the people who got terminated were supporting Christy Martinez for mayor [in the convention]. Martinez was running against McKenzie for the UDP mayoral position,” Selgado said.

“Some a dem weh mi de support Christy get terminated. But I never eena that. For the convention I had on a UDP red T-shirt,” Selgado explained.

Asked what he is going to do now, Selgado replied, “Punta Gorda noh have any work. I have a loan at Scotia Bank and I mi commit miself at Courts. Besides that, one a di Chinese di ker mi da court right now, because a late fees, weh [ah can’t pay because] the Town Council pay wi late.”

Selgado also stated that his house is in a state of impending collapse, and “hurricane season di come.”
“I noh understand weh the mayor di do. I da di only backhoe operator weh the Town Council have. Right now di backhoe parked,” Selgado said.

One of the employees who were terminated has been employed at the town council for over two decades, but he did not want his name to be called in our story.

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