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Government late payment results in beating of elderly woman

An elderly woman was severely beaten and injured by workers in the government’s Farm Labour Programme after they failed to receive their money on time.

The woman was contracted to supervise a team of farm workers through the Parliamentary Representative Office of Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre.

Cynthia Blackman said they worked on six farms at $45 per day for four weeks but only received the first fortnight payment.

The attack happened two weeks ago in Crochu, St Andrew.

Blackman said the three young men did not believe that the delay was due to the government and blamed her for not being paid on time.

The three suspects have since been arrested and charged by police, at the Grenville Police Station for Causing Harm.

The woman explained that she was so badly beaten that she could not move her limbs properly and two weeks after the beating she is still affected by the injuries sustained.

She had to be treated at the Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau.

Violence as a means of settling disputes appears to be a growing trend in Grenada based on the number of police reports of such incidents.

The Keith Mitchell-led government is currently facing a major cash shortfall after revenue fell by close to $200-million as a result of COVID-19 and is finding it difficult to meet a lot of its financial obligations.

The administration had allocated $3-million to subsidise farm labour as part of efforts to support farmers and boost agricultural production.

The woman said the payments were eventually received from government about a week ago, almost two months after it was scheduled to be paid and police officers assisted in paying the workers.

“It took almost two months to get paid. The money did not come through and the people keep asking for the money and they (government) keep saying it not ready yet,” the woman explained.

She said the three angry men attacked her in the streets, using obscene language and violence while demanding to be paid for the two fortnights pay they were owed.

She said her clothes was torn and she was hit in the head with a beer bottle.

The woman recalled being punched about her body and one of the assailants attempting to bang her head on a wall.

Her partner was also attacked when he came to the rescue and suffered damage to his nose and hands.

According to the victim, although the Parliamentary Representative was made aware of the attack through a secretary she did not get involved or inquire about her well-being.

“I never hear from Ms. Pierre, I never hear from the secretary and nobody ask me anything after that,” she said.

“At first I spoke with the secretary and he said he told Mrs. Pierre what happened,” she added.

The assault victim said she left a small construction job and took the farm labour supervisor contract because she had urgent financial needs.

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