President of the Union for Member Clubs and Lotto Operators Joshua Johnson is calling on the government to reopen the gaming sector.
In a phone interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Johnson said it has been 118 days since workers in the gaming sector have been able to make a living and, with school reopening soon, many of its members, who are single mothers, will have an even harder time.
“The Ministry of Health said they look at risk and reward to let people out,” Johnson said.
“The risk for private members clubs is covid19. The ministry approved a manual with guidelines for the reopening of members clubs and we have been trained on that.”
Johnson said workers are instructed to observe protocols such as sanitising machines after every use, sanitising bathrooms every fifteen minutes, and no in-house dining.
He also said over 95 per cent of the union has been vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine, in keeping with the government’s vaccinate to operate campaign.
“I wrote to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health (but) I’m starting to get the runaround.”
He said one of the union’s members went to him and said she is nervous every time someone comes by her home. “She thinks it’s a bailiff or a creditor coming to harass her. She suffers from nerves and anxiety.”
Johnson also said he is calling on the government to pay the promised salary relief grants which some members have been waiting on since May.
In a letter to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, Johnson said, “We would like to express our eternal gratitude to you and your medical team of advisors who have successfully steered our country through this unprecedented covid19 pandemic.
“As a clinician, you are aware of the need for proper nutrition in a growing child and the adverse effects when this is not provided. Not one of our comrades has received the salary relief grant.
“We suffer from nervousness, anxiety, depression, and a whole plethora of mental health issues as we do not know where our next meal is coming from.”
It continued, “We are productive employees, we pay our personal income tax, national insurance, and health surcharge. All we want is to head back out to work.”
The letter called for an urgent meeting between the union and the ministry to discuss the matter.