Maduro-Caines said some employers have cut salaries in half, but still expect employees to do a full day’s work.
“They’re taking this COVID pandemic and making slaves out of our people,” Maduro-Caines said.
“Then you have some employers who are taking out the Social Security money that was paid to the employees. That money does not belong to the employers. That is wrong. They are not supposed to do that. Social Security is giving some of them a little pittance to catch up … and you as the employer taking out what you know Social Security gives them?
You cannot take our people and make them slaves because of COVID. Our forefathers fought for many years to get from where we were to now and I know they’ll be turning in their graves to see some of what is happening now,” Maduro-Caines said.
The legislator, who crossed the political floor this year to join the governing Virgin Islands Party, also said some landlords are “cold, greedy and heartless” because they show no mercy to tenants who are facing difficulty paying their rent.
“I know of one young man who has lived at a premises for over 20 years. He’s being affected by COVID, ran into some difficulties and can’t pay his rent on time. He’s being asked to vacate the premises. Now that’s what I call evil,” Maduro-Caines said.
At the same time, she is urging tenants to make efforts to pay their rent.
“Tennants if you are working, pay your landlord, pay your rent. You have no excuse. If you’re working half salary, speak to your landlord … organise some sort of payment structure with your landlord. There are some who will work with you, now there are others who I would call evil and selfish.
Maduro-Caines said she believes COVID-19 has impacted the BVI worse than the two 2017 hurricanes which devastated the territory.
“We’ve been through Irma and Maria but to me people were more open-minded, giving and understanding, but something about this … I often say only the Lord can help us now going through this,” she said.