On-again-off-again backpay is on again: Browne promises eligible Gov’t workers deposit of a month’s salary by year-end

All sorts of financial promises are currently being made to public servants; but one such worker – not convinced they will be kept – is quoting the adage that “a promise is a comfort to a fool.”

During a State-media interview in October, Finance Minister Gaston Browne had indicated that both back pay and salary increases would be honoured before the end of this year.

Later, he told the Parliament that both could not be paid before next year, since negotiations on the salary increases were still going on and an investor was being courted to foot the back-pay bill.

However, on the weekend, Browne changed tack again and said that a portion of the back pay would now be disbursed next Friday, December 30.  

Earlier reports to REAL News said the Finance Minister had been “pressuring” Treasury officials to “find the money” – even as they were struggling to pay wages and salaries – and that the “exchange” system between Government and the businesses it owes had been shut down, as a result.

Browne said that, over the past two weeks, his Administration has had to raise about $180 million to deal with the servicing of debts; the payment of November salaries and December salaries by last Friday; and back pay.

According to the Prime Minister, all currently employed public servants who were on the job during the negotiation period of 2018 to 2020 will be paid a full month’s salary as part of their back pay.

In spite of this promise, Browne also indicated that some people would not be paid by the end of December.  This, he said, is because they might be out of the service, and research on them has to be done.  

Others who came in late – that is, after December 2020 – will have to have their service pro-rated and what is owed to them calculated, he said

However, those public servants who were employed as of the end of December 2020 will definitely be paid a month’s salary, Browne assured.

He said the requisite calculations will have to be done; but the Government will undertake to pay everybody in a few weeks.

The woman who refuses to be taken in says that heaven and earth are being moved in order for voters to re-elect the Labour Party Government.

When the country was doing well and it was touted as an economic powerhouse, none of these payments could be made, she says.  However, now that it is struggling, the magic cookie jar has been found.

According to the woman, if the Labour Party is re-elected, those who did not get their money before the year ended should not expect to receive it.

Meanwhile, she reminds residents, Browne had indicated, months ago, that his Cabinet had made a pitch for a salary increase.

This will be their priority if they are re-elected, she predicts, and they are making good pay in comparison with ordinary public servants, including teachers and nurses.