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.