Posted March 9th, 2009, 09:50 AM
I don't usually reply to such inflamatory posts, but couldn't sit still this time. You have just validated the world's impression of Americans, self-centered, unaware, narrow minded people who don't understand the truth of world relations and situations (and usually don't care). I live in the Caribbean and know that the situation that is going on with our French neighbors is one that any Island could face at this tough economic time. As you (and myself) are able to cruise, many of the hard working people are not able to buy food for their families even though they work 6 or 7 days a week and usually 70 - 80 hours. The cost of living on our Island has gone up over 300% in the last year as the price of the US dollar has changed sooo drastically due to the economic crisis in the USA and yet wages have been at a stand still, jobs have been cut (over 800 in the tourism industry alone on our Island) and people are being given less work hours or job sharing offers. There is no medical insurance, retirement policies, just day to day trying to find the money to feed their families. But, let me put it to you this way. You make minimum wage (US $5.00?). But here, you aren't paid by the hour, you are paid by the week ($200.00) and you have to work as many hours as your employer says each week or they will fire you and hire someone else. No laws are in place to protect you from the abuse of an employer. The cost of food to feed your family is higher than in the USA, because most of the items have to be imported to the Island ($10.00USD for a box of Frosted Flakes). So, let's say in the US, you could feed a family of 3 on $100.00 per week. Now, your salary doesn't change, but the cost of food raises by 300%, it now costs you $400.00 to feed your family. You realize that you need a second job, but the costs have raised for your employer also, so instead of having time for a second job, you are required to work more hours for the same rate of pay for him to protect his bottom line. You cut back on the amount of food that you can buy, until eventually, you get overwhelmed, distraught, angry. This is when you organize into groups and begin to protest for the government to do something. The people on these Islands are not guaranteed the rights that we as Americans have had for so many years, but you must go back and look at the nasty, horrible period of our history when we too had to fight for our rights as workers. This is state that these people are currently living in. Instead of belittling these people who are honest and incredibly hardworking, perhaps you should realize that they are fighting for the very thing that has led to the living standard that you now enjoy and which gives you the ability to cruise.