Issues related to the nation’s public servants took centre stage this morning as the debate of the national budget estimates continued in the National Assembly.
APNU+AFC Member of Parliament and former Minister of Public Service Tabitha Sarabo-Halley roasted the budget for its “neglect” of public servants.
She said while the former coalition government has found itself facing criticism from the new government throughout the budget debates, she is surprised that the 2020 budget offered nothing for public servants after five years of steady increases.
“I could not imagine a budget presented to the House without an attempt to match or even surpass what public servants received over the last five years through substantive retroactive increases. It must therefore be highlighted that the minimum wage for public servants, including teachers, nurses, doctors, members of the Defence Force, Police Force and Security Forces increased annually under the APNU+AFC Government”, she said.
She reminded that when the APNU+AFC took office in 2015, the minimum wage was just over $39,000 and by the time it left office a month ago, the minimum wage had increased to $70,000.
“I must ask the Members on the other side, why have they chosen to neglect the public servants in this budget”, Sarabo-Halley asked.
She also lashed out at the Government for the firings of scores of public servants that it deemed to have been political appointees when many were not. The Member of Parliament noted that while the budget presentation focused on democracy, the actions of the PPP in government is less than democratic.
Sarabo-Halley said she is hoping that the PPP Civic Government will allow the work of the Bertram Collins College for Public Servants to continue since it has been lifting the quality of work in the public service.
While the government did not announce any increases for public servants in the 2020 budget, it did announce a two-week bonus that will be given to members of the joint services alone.