Opposition leader tells public servants to accept salary increases

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is urging public servants to accept the salary increases announced by the coalition Government earlier this week, saying the payment had already been budgeted for by the David Granger Administration in the last fiscal package.

“I say to the public servants collect their monies, it was budgeted since last year. This is nothing new; they should get their money,” Jagdeo told reporters.

The Government Wednesday announced a new GUY$70,000 minimum wage for public servants.

“In three and a half years, the minimum wage has gone up by over 75 per cent. I think by any stroke of circumstance, that is a significant development and I know that the workers are going to be happy. And I know that they are happier still because in 2018 I first brought in tax-free back pay. I [sought permission from the] Cabinet, they agreed and I continue this year,” said Finance Minister Winston Jordan, adding that the public servants would, this year, will receive a tax-free retroactive salary increase.

Along with their retroactive salaries, the public servants will also receive a minimum wage of GUY$70,000, a nine per cent increase on the current GUY$64,200. He said it represents more than a 77 per cent increase since 2015.

Public servants earning between GUY$100,000 to GUY$999,000 per month will enjoy an 8.5 per cent increase and those earning more than a million dollars per month will get a three per cent hike. All of the increases will be retroactive to January 2019.

Jagdeo told reporters that the Opposition People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was now more interested in the contracts the Government has been signing, given the fact that it is in a “holding” position after the Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled earlier this year that the motion of no-confidence against the Granger Administration passed in the National Assembly last December, is valid.

The CCJ said that in keeping with the Guyana Constitution fresh regional and general elections should be held and President Granger has since announced March 2, 2020 as the date for the polls.

Jagdeo told reporters “It is the contracts that they (the government) are issuing now to their cronies that I warn against”.

He said that while all public servants will benefit from the new salaries, police, soldiers, firefghters, and prison officers are worse off as a result of the decision to cut off the one-month, tax-free salary given to them at the end of the year as a bonus.


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