Public Service Minister Henry Charles Usher is one of the government players meeting with Joint Unions Negotiating Team as the impasse over the ten percent salary cut and increment freeze remains unresolved. Though unpopular to the unions and in some quarters, Minister Usher said that the salary adjustment was a difficult, but necessary decision that the BriceŮo administration had to make.
Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional & Political Reform
ďThe salary adjustments that the government has been forced to undertake werenít an easy one. No new administration would want to come in and say letís talk about cutting salaries; it doesnít make any political sense. So in essence, the fact that this government is doing it is because it needs to be done, it has to be done. We are looking at a financial collapse unless we change the direction that we are going. We can’t continue to borrow a million dollars a day to meet our expenses. We have to make sure that we have some kind of cash flow relief and this is what this salary adjustment will do. I am firmly of the belief that the union representatives understand that. We have been discussing it since February the tenth, more than three months. We have been discussing the need for this salary adjustment, we have been discussing the need to put in place cost-saving measures and in reality, the economic recovery plan, the cost-saving measures is just one part of that plan. Itís a five-part plan, included in that is to cut down the cost of goods and services, which this budget certainly has in its place. Itís to improve the collection of taxes, to close those loopholes where taxpayers were getting away with not paying their proper taxes and to go after those tax arrears that are out there. Itís about stimulating the economy as well to make sure that we have more investment in foreign exchange type industries, tourism, agriculture and so on.Ē