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Premier backpedals on no gov’t layoffs guarantee

Entrance to the Central Administration Complex where the main Government offices were located before the hurricanes.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith is apparently backpedalling on what was a guarantee that no government worker will be laid off.

Though noting that the government has ‘no current plan’ to lay off public servants, Dr Smith said: “We have to continue to assess and monitor the situation with government expenditure and income, at the same time, doing what we must do to continue to stimulate the economy to be able to go back to where we were.”

The finance minister made the statement while being questioned by opposition member Julian Fraser during yesterday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

Dr Smith had also been grilled for answers about layoffs yesterday by Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie.

Fahie challenged Premier on the categorical statement made in a press conference late last month that there would have been no reduction of public servants.

While responding to Fahie, Premier Smith said: “When I gave that answer to the press, there were no intentions of releasing any public servant. The answer to this (Fahie’s) question is that no decision has been taken with regard to reducing the public service.”

Following the September hurricanes, there was widespread speculation that government does not have enough money to continue to pay all its workers.

Fear of layoffs was heightened after the government was considerably late in making payroll on more than one occasions.

Several residents in the private sector lost their jobs after hurricanes Irma and Maria laid waste to numerous businesses, homes, and other properties in the British Virgin Islands.

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