Premier and Minister of Finance, Andrew Fahie said COVID-19 has impacted government’s coffers to the extent that public officers would now have to choose between getting their salary increments or keeping their jobs.
He gave that indication Tuesday night while responding to questions about the outstanding increments owed to government employees.
The Finance Minister said: “We have to decide if we are going to give you increments right now — which we already started when we entered office — and that was years before they had any increments period. But, here comes COVID-19. This is harsh but I have to ask you: would you prefer a little increment and no job? Or to hold the increment and have your job and then when we get better, then you get the increments?”
“That is the question that I am asking public officers because that’s where we are right now,” the Premier stated. “So if persons want to bombard the Minister for Finance and say ‘we want our increments’, I can give you the increments tomorrow. But, rest assured that once everybody gets their increments, I have to decide now — based on what’s coming in and what we just did with the increments — what we are going to do and who’s gone in terms of employment and that’s the reality of it.”
Back in January, Deputy Governor David Archer, Jr said government employees who are still owed their salary increments would be paid no later than by February 28.
He said 2,892 or 90 percent of public officers received their 2016 increment and the balance of 250 officers are those who had status changes, promotions, or were awaiting new job letters.
In October 2019, Fahie promised that all remaining public officers would have received their increments by the end of November 2019.
He said he had been advised by the Director of Human Resources that on June 24 last year, the Department of Human Resources provided notice and instructions for the processing of the increments for the 2016 work year.
The Human Resources Department had released the notification for the outstanding payments to be processed a few days after Cabinet approved the payments of the 2016 and 2017 increments.
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