Gov’t should cut spending on PM, fire consultants to pay increases: sources

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The government should refocus its spending as it defers for yet another six months the payment of salary increases due to public servants since January 2011, sources familiar with negotiations between the government and the Teacher’s Union tell I-Witness News.

The Union and the government are trying to seal a new collective agreement and the sources offer different views on the government’ ability to pay immediately the 3 per cent salary increase owed to civil servants.

All but one of the trade unions representing civil servants here have accepted the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party’s administration’s request to wait until June for a review of the nation’s economic situation before the monies are paid.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, has told Parliament that the payments, if made in June, will be made retroactively.

But one source familiar with the talks between the government and the Teachers’ Union told I-Witness News that the government is in a position to pay the monies now.

The source, who asked for anonymity, cited the EC$1,540,000 that Gonsalves has asked Parliament to allocate this year for services related to the Office of the Prime Minister.

EC$500,000 are for special development projects, EC$260,000 to refurbish the Official Residence of the Prime Minister while EC$200,000 will be for security quarters and EC$80,000 for a new vehicle there.

A further EC$500,000 will be for special works and services to be decided by the Prime Minister’s but the funds will be managed by the Cabinet Secretary.

“My position is that based on the way that the government is spending money, I believe that the government can pay,” the source told I-Witness News.

“Gonsalves has gone on some foreign trip somewhere. Where is he getting money to get all of that?” the source added, referring to Gonsalves’ 15-day trip to Bethlehem, Georgia, and Azerbaijan that will see him returning to the state today.

“The point that I am making is that the Union should not just roll over; that pressure should be brought to bear on the government. If Gonsalves were in opposition, he would be using the unions to make noise with the government.

“In the past, when another government was in office, these guys were forcing the union. When the government said it could not pay a certain percentage, people like Gonsalves kept using the union to make noise for more money, up to 30 per cent,” the source said.

Asked if such an approach would be in the best interest of the country, which has already registered three years of economic decline, the source responded:

“I understand what you are saying but I believe that the government can pay the public servants their 3 per cent.”

Commenting on the monies to be allocated to Office of the Prime Minister, the source said, “The Prim Minister has to know where that is coming form to ask for that.

“… The things that the Prime Minister is asking for, the way that he is behaving, it’s not as if we have an economic crisis. There is something like six or seven SUVs in that yard (The Prime Minister’s Residence) already and he is asking for another one and all this kind of extravagance.”

Gonsalves has told Parliament that the vehicle being replaced is old and breaks down often while the official residence has a leak problem and quarters for his security are inadequate.

But another source, close to the negotiation, said that one has to be “careful” with basing an argument for immediate payments of the salary increase on the monies allocated for the upkeep of the Prime Minister.

“In any case, what the government has done in the budget is to look at estimates. They are banking that they will receive certain monies and they have made certain allocation based on that. One does not know if they will realise that kind of money,” said the source, who also asked for anonymity.

“I am saying that it all depends on where your priority lies. Government can afford anything if you look at spending in certain areas,” the source further said.

The source told I-Witness News that many citizens think that “there are too many persons employed who should be at home.

“I am talking about persons who have reached retirement age but have contracts and all those kind of things,” the source explained.

“One would argue that if you remove those persons you would be making a saving. As to whether or not that saving would be sufficient to cover the 3 per cent that you have to give out is another discussion. I don’t know. I am not sure what figures you are playing with,” the source said.

The Gonsalves government has been criticised by segments of the population for the number of consultants it employs, including retirees, to do job that some say are either unnecessary or can be done by regular public servants.

But the source said it is “just a political argument to talk about the allocations for vehicles or fixing the prime minister’s house.

“… What I would argue strongly against is the fact that you have persons who are getting money — because that is coming form the same vote, salaries and so on — that should not be employed by the state because they have passed the age of retirement, some of them are in contractual positions that other person can do,” the source said.

“You have primary school principals with contracts. That is foolishness. Not when you have so many person with the qualification and training who can easily take over jobs like that.

“So, I am saying, where you have persons employed that way. I have a problem with that. But, I don’t know how many such persons are employed, what is the cost and how that compares with the 3 per cent,” the source said.

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20 thoughts on “Gov’t should cut spending on PM, fire consultants to pay increases: sources

  1. Do these “leaders” speak for the rank and file public servants?

    Do they speak for the public servants who, under the ULP government of Ralph Gonsalves, since 2001:

    – Have had regular and healthy salary increased, relatively speaking
    – Vast improvements in conditions of service
    – From 4 university trained teachers in 2000 to close to 500 ten years later
    – paid salaries while away studying
    – 100 % mortgages
    – Improvement in the infrastructure in the country which they share and benefit from

    Seems to me that through the difficult international economic conditions, not a single public servant in SVG was laid off. The same cannot be said for larger economies like, UK, Canada, USA and the EU

    One can go on and on. But again the question must be asked: Do these leaders really speak for the rank and file public servants? And if so, what more do the public servants really want? Are they blind, greedy or ungrateful?

    Just Asking!!

    Posted by Wade Kojo Williams, Sr. | January 3, 2012, 09:52
  2. Gonsalves needs to employ all those retired people on contracts. He needs to pacify that part of the citizenship, the intelligentsia. Without those he would have no credibility and be left only with the dunce class as he describes them.

    The worry that we should all have is that Gonsalves spends money that we do not have, he is extravagant beyond the means of a small island state.

    He enters into contracts knowing them to be un-constitutional and un-enforcable, that in most decent folks opinion is dishonest.

    Here is a man that when in opposition made promises to the citizenship regarding wage increases that he knew were non-achievable.

    He tells lies about all sorts of things, he himself said show me a liar and I will show you a thief.

    He has a gutter type of behaviour, using disgusting words and gestures that no person in his position should.

    He has twice been charged with sex crimes, yet never been before a court for a judgement of no case to answer, not guilty or guilty. This matter brought international press reports.

    He treats half of Vincentian society differently to the other, unless people vote for him and agree with his every word, including his lies and disgusting behaviour, they are ostracised, abused, victimised and treated like non-citizens.

    He has turned the ULP membership into a cult, the members follow him as if he were sacred, believe most of what he says and excuse him for his lies and disgusting behaviour.

    Several followers scour the internet looking for articles that expose what’s going wrong in SVG, then try and destroy the truth that could be hurtful to Gonsalves or his Marxist regime. These people are like the German collaborators during World War II. they are happy to say white is black and wrong is right, just for a few crumbs, jobs or favours. These people are a disgrace to humanity.

    Gonsalves has said on several occasions that he is here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop, Bishop was a Marxist scum bag revolutionary, who fortunately is very dead.

    All crime is out of control in SVG and as the Minister in charge of the Police and Judiciary, Gonsalves must take the blame, as any manager anywhere would.

    SVG is bankrupt and may well default on government loans and bonds, Gonsalves as Minister of Finance must be held responsible. He has borrowed and begged for money for an international airport that we want but could not afford. He started the project not knowing where the money would come from, some land owners at Argyle have had their land taken for the airport yet remain unpaid three years later. He has added about a billion dollars to the debt of the country, three times that of the previous government. So much has been borrowed by government from the peoples NIS fund that future pensions are in jeopardy.


    Posted by Peter | January 3, 2012, 10:08
    • I can see that you ar one of the idots who subscribes to repeat only when you think it will benifit you. What do you know of Maurice Bishop?? Had you meet this person I am quite sure you would have bein singing a different tune. Do you not think you should pull your head out of the dark hole you have it in and see what is happening in the world
      Peter C Jacobs

      Posted by Peter C Jacobs | January 4, 2012, 14:13
  3. Using your real name William, what a refreshing surprise, well we wont fall into your clever little trap.

    Just to say that what you write is crap, cleverly drafted, but still crap.

    Unfortunately the Unions have been blighted by their Marxist affiliation to Gonsalves and the ULP. If they were treated like they are being treated by the NDP they would of called a strike long ago.

    In 2001 Gonsalves promised everyone a 30% increase in wages, he must of known at that time that this was impossible, that made it a lie.

    No one has had a healthy wage increase in SVG.

    There has been no vast improvement in conditions of service.

    University trained teachers is a normal progression world wide, and not attributable solely to Gonsalves.

    Paid reduced salaries whilst still training and promised wage increase at the end of training which most haven’t got.

    100% which they cannot afford, many defaulting and losing property. Some teachers defaulting because their wages are paid late or up to 2 months behind due date.

    There have been plenty of public servants laid off, their jobs given to ULP supporters. Numerous public servants are not receiving their wages on time and are afraid to complain and be victimised for doing so.
    How do you know that not a single public servant has been laid off?

    The countries infrastructure is falling apart.

    No the Union leaders do not speak for the rank and file, they have been contaminated by their own Marxist beliefs. Yes they are greedy.

    Bye for now Bubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    Posted by Peter | January 3, 2012, 10:40
  4. Wade Kojo Williams Snrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, yes that’s a snore, what a bore.

    Posted by Peter | January 3, 2012, 11:01
  5. Bye for now Bubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    Posted by Peter | January 3, 2012, 11:02
  6. Expect nothing better coming from this guy Peter, he parades around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, he knows not from whence he came! the man is a plain pea-brain!

    Posted by Caddy King | January 3, 2012, 11:44
  7. We had to be given salary increases Kojo. With the introduction of 15%VAT, increases in income tax and NIS etc., what you expect? If you spending in SVG, you right well know that you can’t even see the increase – given in one hand and taken back with the other.

    Posted by justice | January 3, 2012, 13:10
  8. The government can do whatever it wants. You all Vincy people will still vote them. I think Gonsalves should have brought back a Bentley with him, paid with tax payers money.

    Serve all of you right. “We like it so”. What a bunch of fools. Fool them Ralph, fool them!!

    Posted by Bagga | January 3, 2012, 13:39
  9. The “source” quoted by Kenton sounds like a negotiator for the Unions, which is fine, but he/she seems to have a pretty narrow vision of what’s important.

    I agree that all governments tend to accumulate too many consultants over time. The longer they stay in power, the move favours they have to repay, etc. So that is a problem for all governments, including the ULP. At the same time, when you only have 8 elected reps — down from 12 — you’re gonna have to hire help from outside the normal channels. You start with 12 or so ministers one year, then you go down to 9 or 10, then you will have to pick up the slack. the logical place to do that is with political allies. Not defending the practise one way or the other, but its logical.

    I don’t get the arguments about Gonsalves’ recent travel. Yes, I’m sure it cost alot of money to fly to all those places. But Gonsalves has a pretty good record of returning from trips with commitments of assitance to SVG, which usually outweigh the cost of travel. So if he spends $50,000 on plane fare and comes back with $1,000,000 in aid, that’s a good investment in my book. In fact, some of the very aid a PM comes back with could be used to pay those salaries! I think it’s dumb to expect a PM of a small island to sit in his office 24/7/365. We aint the USA, ppl aint comin to us… we have to go to them. The important thing is that we come back with something, or lay the groundwork for some future project/cooperation.

    Obviously, Palestine won’t give us 50 cents. they have no money. But all the other rich countries in the arab world (saudi arabia, kuwait, qatar, iran, emirates, etc.) that give money to the caribbean are ALL concerned with the palestinian issue. Gonsalves’ trip there will probably strengthen his stature with those countries when he goes to visit them, imho.

    i think the unions should get their money asap. the cost of living is rising, and things are getting more difficult. If they had the money, they would spend it, it would go into the economy as a useful stimulus. so if the money is there, pay them asap. I don’t think that the fact the PM made a trip or is getting a new SUV will alter the macroencomic picture in SVG or can compare to a raise to employees that would be paid every month and every year in the future.

    Posted by Vincy Patriot | January 3, 2012, 13:58
  10. Hello! CADDY KING, did my remarks hit a little close to home, did you recognise a description of yourself somewhere in what I wrote?

    Smell the sulphur CADDY, smell the sulphur.

    Posted by Peter | January 3, 2012, 18:09
  11. I wonder what these Ralph Haters really want. I propose that the Comrade move to his residence and leave the PM’s residence to fall apart, buy a new vehicle for himself from his own pocket then CHARGE the Government RENT. Peter and the other idiots will be so happy to get something more to pull down the Hon. gentleman!!!

    You guys are always saying that the country don’t have money to pay workers, then how are you saying now that the government can pay salary increases? STRANGE!!! I really have to be ah FOOL!!

    Posted by no-nonsense | January 4, 2012, 08:10
    • Short memory you have. This is the same ralph that said Mitchell should not buy a new car even though he was using the same one for 13 years. Now he has 4 in 10 years. Here’s a thought, maybe if he fix the roads the cars would be in better shape. The potholes they constantly run into probably contributes to them needing repairs everyday.
      LOL@ PULL DOWN THE HON. gentleman. He does that all by himself no nonsense.

      Posted by vincy in bad shape | January 4, 2012, 10:52
      • LOL@Short memory you have. Do you really remember what the roads from FANCY to KINGSTOWN looked like? Back in the 1990’s Georgetown streets reminded me of those old abandoned streets in western movies, I will like you to visit them now!!! The roads are in better conditions now than they were in 2001. Yes, more needs to be done, but remember the country DON’T have money eh…lol. We are not getting salaries at the end of months….lol…lol…HATERS!!!!!!

        Posted by no-nonsense | January 4, 2012, 16:37
  12. You are talking about the roads from Fancy to kingstown, but the only example you can give are the streets in G/town? The streets in SVG on a whole are worst off now than they ever were. So much so that ordinary citizens are fixing the streets themselves.
    I know of people who don’t get get salaries on time at the end of the month. I heard a gentleman say to the PM that he has not been paid his travelling since June. I heard the street people who are weekly paid calling complaining that they have not been paid in weeks. You may be getting yours No Nonsense, and good for you, but there are people who have to pray that they get theirs. Haters???? nah. reality… for sure

    Posted by vincy in bad shape | January 4, 2012, 22:53
    • VINCY IN BAD SHAPE, YES, the whole Windward Highway from FANCY in the north TO KINGSTOWN in the south was in a mess. The ULP resurfaced it, build bridges, back-walls, new drains and widen it in areas that were too narrow. In G/town I’m not talking about the main highway, but all the other streets, some that were left abandoned for the 17 NDP years in office and those that were just dirt roads. Yes VINCY, we also used to fix the roads back in those days, with dirt and cement, so if you are a BABY then you will not know that, so ask your parents, they know the facts.
      If you know of individuals who have not been paid in weeks ,then I agree that something is wrong, but I cannot trust your statement because I know how desperate you guys are. You usually put a spin on everything the ULP ministers say.
      Tell me where have you ever said that the Comrade did something good? I am sure you will say HE NEVER DID!!

      Posted by no-nonsense | January 6, 2012, 20:21
  13. Same old Marxist scum, attacking those who write the truth.

    Smell the sulphur

    I wonder if the Americans used the cancer machine when Gonsalves went to the US Embassy in Barbados to star in the Wikileaks production? Better ask Chavez if he knows anything about the machine in Barbados, maybe not, he’s still pi…ed off with what the Wikileaks contained. He’s stopped talking to the flying pig.

    Posted by Peter | January 6, 2012, 10:50
  14. Well Peter Jacobs, what do you want to know abouth Maurice Bishop, of whom I know more than any living man. I have record of every speech, dasterdly deed, from birth to death. Let there be no doubt the man was a Marxist scum bag, and so is everyone who still espouts his name as a credible and decent person.

    The Marxists have tried to alter the history of the man as they do in all such cases. They will even try and alter the history of Ralph Gonsalves, they will be unable to that either.

    The Bishop regime and Bishop kept wonderful and detailed records and even his personal diaries. All those were captured by the Americans and saved on microfiche. The originals returned to to the Grenada public records office. I have studied most of these records and know everything this man did, and all his colaborators, including Gonsalves and other Caribbean Marxist’s.

    Posted by Peter | January 7, 2012, 10:33
  15. SMH n LOL@ of whom I know more than any living man.

    When on the Internet, people make some of the most DELUSIONAL comments known to man, yet they EXPECT others to take them SERIOUSLY.

    Peter, when you WAKE UP from your FANTASY WORLD, let us know.

    Poor Peter has DELUDED himself into thinking that he knows Maurice Bishop more than Bernard Coard.


    Posted by VINCYPOWA | January 7, 2012, 18:16

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