KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Some of the retirees with government contracts here get enough money to pay the monthly salaries of up to 12 Vincentians for a year, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said yesterday.
He once again called on the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party administration to send these people home and provide employment for the nation’s youth.
“You see that wages and salaries there? We have a lot of people like [Sir] Vincent Beache and others who are collecting salaries from the government,” Eustace said of the former national security minister turned security consultant to the government.
Eustace was speaking on the heels of the 2012 Budget Debate.
The EC$793.9 million budget for this year comprises recurrent expenditure, inclusive of Amortization and Sinking Fund contributions, of EC$528.7 million and capital expenditure of EC$184.9 million.
Eustace said he estimates there are between 15 to 20 such contract-holders, costing taxpayers an estimated EC$2 million a year.
The figure is based on his analysis from thee years ago, when the contract-holders took home a total of EC$900,000 a year.
“And I think most of those should be removed,” the former prime minister and finance minister said on radio.
“You have a lot of young people in this country who have done all these subjects, looking for work and can’t get work and you have people who have reached 80 [years] and above collecting salaries in excess of $100,000 a year,” Eustace said.
“[Persons] who have their pensions and so on, who have their gratuity — having served in Parliament for a long time — and others who never served in Parliament, who [are] on the radio station everyday cussing people, collecting handsome salaries and we have a lot of young people [unemployed],” he added.
“Think of the family with children who have subjects and they can’t get [work],” Eustace further stated.
“If you are making EC$12,000 a month — and some of them coming up close to that — you can have 12 people at EC$1,000. And I am saying most of those contracts should be removed from the books,” he added.
“I have spoken about it before, I have presented the figures to the people of this country and this year, when I tried to get them, they hide them. You can’t find them in the Registry,” Eustace said.
“I estimate that about EC$2 million is spend on paying these people and most of them should now go home because their contribution to the economy ain’t worth that.”
He said that three years ago trade unionist Joseph “Burns” Bonadie, who advises the government on labour issues, was getting EC$100,000 a year even as Director of Grenadines Affairs Edwin Snagg was getting EC$118,000 annually.
“They are getting plenty money,” Eustace further stated, adding that some of these people were making almost as much, if not more, than Gonsalves.
“On what basis you can justify that? You cannot justify it.
… And most of those contracts, you are not getting anything in the public service for it. Yet, you have people getting frustrated who you said you brought through the education revolution and now they can’t find work.
“ But you have people who have had their day, a lot of them making more than the ministers of government. Most of them should go. I am not making any apologies for that,” Eustace said.