PM: Plans to rehire early next year
By Barry Alleyne GOVERNMENT will not rest until almost half of the 1 000 workers presently retrenched are earning a monthly wage again.
That promise came from Prime Minister Mia Mottley, as she revealed that early in 2019, between 300 and 400 workers would be brought in to help digitise Government as part of public sector reform now that reserves are healthy again.
The Prime Minister was speaking during a special Christmas conversation with economist Shane Lowe, as part of an event hosted by the CIBC Firstcaribbean International Bank at Sandals Royal, Maxwell, Christ Church.
Mottley said that in January, Government, after receiving loans from the International Monetary Fund, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-american Development Bank (IDB), would be in a position to start the Re Re Programme, which also involves the retraining of a number of former Government workers to help take the country forward.
Repeating that having to send home the 1 000 workers was the toughest decision she had made since taking over as Prime Minister, Mottley said Government did not want to let those workers down.
“We will not rest until we relocate those persons. The IDB loan will allow us to pick things back up,” she said to loud applause.
“The applause is for the country. I want to thank the public for their support. I realise sometimes how much we take things for granted. December is always a good time for reflection. This is a special case for Barbados. We have been able to share the burden fairly, when you consider the instability that had existed before. We can only control what we can and we have done that,” Mottley said.
She explained that with a
$100 million capital works programme already under way, Ross University coming to Barbados, Sandals Beaches also expected to open its doors next year and other projects in the works, there is more light at the end of the tunnel for Barbados.
She also reassured the banking sector and business people on hand that Government was now in a better position to control its finances and, by extension, the economy.
The Prime Minister said her office is being made aware of inflows and outflows of money from central Government daily.
“I know what we are spending as a country, and what we are taking in. This is a major adjustment for the country,” she said.
Mottley then confirmed that as of November 30 ( Independence Day), Government had raked in $1 934.8 billion, compared with expenditure of $1 870.8 billion. She added that when both domestic and external interest on debt is taken into account, Government has a surplus of a little over $300 million. “That shows we are on track,” she said to another round of applause.
The Government leader promised her administration would be not only responsible but nimble as they continue to open markets and create an environment that would lead to investment into Barbados, while at the same time allowing Barbadians to invest from here and take in cash as global citizens.
University lecturer Dr Justin Robinson questioned Prime Minister Mia Mottley about what Government was doing to attract competent and qualified Barbadians to be part of its programme going forward.