Fraser bemoans ‘horrors’ of outstanding public service increments
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has protested what he described as the horrors of unpaid and outstanding increments for public servants.
“I don’t like the idea of running into a public officer and having to learn of the horrors that the public officers are being put through when it comes to their increments,” Fraser said in the House of Assembly recently.
Deal with the guilty
Fraser noted that despite the myriad negative traits that can be attributed to many public officers, there are some good qualities to be found among them as well.
“You cannot say the same about all. A hungry man is an angry man and hunger in the case of public officers means that they’re not paid. If you don’t pay them, you can’t expect to get from them what you expect,” the Third District Representative said.
According to Fraser, some increments are outstanding from as far back as 2019, just after the territory experienced two major catastrophic hurricanes.
“If you have public officers who are not living up to their expectations, if you have public officers who are slacking off, if you have public officers who don’t come to work, well, deal with those individuals but don’t deal with them like across the board. Don’t make the innocent pay for the guilty,” Fraser argued.
Fraser said the government has up until June 12 to rectify the issue. He said the government could at least initiate the process in the interim.
I have already announced payment
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, in the meantime, responded that although many persons are anxious and agitated over the issue, he has already issued a directive for monies to be put towards the payment of increments.
“I’m sure it was by mistake, but the media never picked up my announcement during the budget debate that increments would be paid,” Dr Wheatley said. “I said during the budget debate in December that I instructed the Financial Secretary to find the money to pay the increments.”
He added: “Some money was budgeted and we have a Cabinet decision — something that will be coming to Cabinet soon where we will be able to identify exactly the cost of increments.”
Premier Wheatley said the government has already paid two sets of increments amid what he called difficult circumstances such as the global pandemic.
“Just in case somebody didn’t hear it. I have already announced the payment of increments for our hardworking public servants. I have instructed the Financial Secretary to find money. Money has been budgeted. If additional money needs to be budgeted, we will get it,” the Premier said.