Ariel Matthews (NYLO Intern)
For grandfather and recent retiree, Clifford Smith*, retirement has brought more stress than relaxation. Smith was employed with the Port of Spain Regional Corporation for over 30 years. He and other retirees of the Regional Corporations nationwide are complaining that they have not yet received their severance packages. Some have applied as far back as May 2016.
Kamla Samsundar, Acting Clerk III, however, has said that this isn’t due to a backlog in her department.
“Funds have simply not been released,” she stated, “The process involves exchange of documentation and verification from the Human Resource department to Audit and then to the Auditor General. This process which, in the past, used to take an average of two months is now being stalled by over a year for some persons,” stated Samsundar.
Samsundar believes that the process is not performing optimally as is. “The process must be improved. As of now, we are still paper-based and the number of workers is not enough for the amount of work,” Samsundar added. Yet, she insisted that the problem is not with their department.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kazim Hosein, said that he was not aware of the issue and he would enquire from his Permanent Secretary.
Efforts to contact Mrs. Annette Stapleton- Seaforth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port- of – Spain Regional Corporation proved to be unsuccessful.
Smith hopes that this issue is resolved swiftly. “I feel very frustrated,” he said, “My home is in desperate need of repairs. I thought that by now, my house would be fixed but I am still fighting for money.”