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state­ment Oc­to­ber 29) was: “We are mind­ful how hard and how dif­fi­cult it is, but some­times we all have to make the sac­ri­fices.” If that is to be in­ter­preted that trav­el­ling in econ­omy would be dif­fi­cult and a great sac­ri­fice, I can only say: “Is he se­ri­ous?” You have peo­ple barely be­ing able to live from day to day due to prob­lems brought on them through no fault of their own, and you’re telling them that by trav­el­ling in econ­omy you’re mak­ing a great sac­ri­fice? Dis­ap­point­ing, to say the least.

Do­nated to char­ity

The last ad­min­is­tra­tion made a grandiose ges­ture of sac­ri­fice by re­duc­ing par­lia­men­tary salaries by ten per cent. How­ever, that was short­lived and when they reclaimed it (and back­dated it as far as I re­call, mean­ing that they had made no sac­ri­fice at all), the Op­po­si­tion Bar­ba­dos Labour Party (BLP) en­deared them­selves to us by do­nat­ing that ten per cent of their salaries to char­ity. I re­mem­ber hear­ing that the Sal­va­tion Army, a very worth­while or­gan­i­sa­tion, was one of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

How­ever, this seem­ingly mag­nan­i­mous ges­ture hasn’t lasted be­yond two years. In the Oc­to­ber 30 edi­tion of the DAILY NA­TION, it was con­firmed by mem­bers of the rul­ing BLP that they were no longer do­nat­ing their ten per cent to char­ity. The rea­son given for do­nat­ing it in the first place was that “on a point of prin­ci­ple” they could not pocket the money given the hard­ships Bar­ba­di­ans were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. The ques­tion is: “What has changed? Are Bar­ba­di­ans ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any less hard­ship now?” I think not.

Added to that, of course, is the dis­ap­point­ing fact that min­is­ters were in­cluded in the re­cent five per cent pub­lic ser­vice in­crease. I sup­pose they would make you think there was noth­ing they could do about this – it was the law – but as we know, gov­ern­ments can do any­thing.

As a pop­u­lar say­ing goes, “God don’t like ugly”. Min­is­ter Wal­cott is quoted as say­ing that the re­cent in­crease in pub­lic ser­vants’ salaries has placed the min­is­ters in a higher tax bracket which, when matched with the bud­getary mea­sures, re­duced their monthly take-home pay. Ap­par­ently they ended up on av­er­age with $1 200 less than they had re­ceived the month be­fore. Real po­etic jus­tice, I would say.

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