Can the PNP find the money to pay public sector workers without borrowing, taxation or job cuts?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I think all will agree that all public sector workers need more pay, but we can't afford it.

The Government came with an option of six per cent in two years. Four and two per cent in each year. Then it was forced to come back with a better deal — 16 per cent in four years: five per cent now, two per cent in year two, four per cent in year three, and five per cent in year four. The majority of the unions signed on to that offer.

Now, according to Finance Minister Audley Shaw, we either have to tax or borrow to give a better offer. According to former Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, we don't have to do that, the Government can find the money in the budget.

State minister for finance, Fayval Williams, during an interview with Nationwide News Network's Cliff Hughes on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, told the nation that if they accept the teachers' demand for a greater increase, with 24,000 teachers, the cost would be in the billions. She went on to say that if they responded to the teachers' demands they will have to re-do the bargaining process to bring everyone on board, which could cost some $5 billion more on the wage bill.

Dr Peter Phillips is set to make his first budget appearance as leader of the Opposition on Thursday, March 15. So let's see if he can find the money without impacting other essential areas of the budget or borrowing, increasing taxation, or job cuts. The budget is already tight. So I don't know if Dr Peter Phillips will call for public sector modernisation, which would mean job cuts.

So I'm urging Mr Fix-it of the People's National Party to show us how to locate the funds. Dr Phillips, in 2015, argued differently; therefore, he has no credibility on this issue. More taxation and the borrowing of money to pay public sector workers should be a thing of the past.

Teddylee Gray

Ocho Rios, St Ann




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