Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat makes a contribution during yesterday’s Senate sitting.

Government is committed to settling arrears owed to 2,440 regional health authority workers—including some healthcare workers—starting month-end.

Government Senator Clarence Rambharat said so yesterday in the Senate in response to Opposition queries concerning health workers protesting the non-payment of gratuities.

He said there are ongoing meetings with representatives of the North Central Regional Health Authority. By month-end, he said 25 per cent of arrears will be paid and the remainder thereafter. Rambharat also said more than 3,000 people have so far been tested for COVID-19 in T&T. Those are people who show some symptoms, he said. However, he couldn’t say if Government would consider extending testing to asymptomatic people.

On another query, Rambharat said a private company has been hired to assist Government in handling data entry with salary relief grant applications. He said he didn’t know who the company was. He added there’d been challenges in downloading applications from the website. Staff from other ministries and private-sector agencies are also giving help, he said.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West, who detailed energy sector projects and foreign direct investment, said energy sector entities were allowed to continue working on their investments in the COVID pandemic situation since they were essential services.

“We had talks with them and though they were cutting back in other parts of the world, T&T will enjoy the benefits of their proposed investment,” West said.