Public sector workers will not have their pensions or gratuities taxed.
That assurance has come from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler as he rejected rumours that Government intends to do so and accused those who started the reports of trying to destabilize the country.
“What is troubling to me as minister, and I know to the Cabinet and the parliamentary group in Government . . . is this insidious attempt by some within our community who have nothing better to do with themselves than to constantly conjure up and manufacture rumours and lies aimed primarily at destabilizing Barbados,” he added.
Sinckler said the latest rumour about the taxes on pensions and gratuities have the potential to cause unnecessary unrest and inconvenience.
“When I first heard it, the first iteration was that we are going to cut them. Of course somebody quietly pointed out that gratuities and pensions constitute salaries and therefore could not be cut,” the minister stated.
“The purveyors of mischief, many of whom have been around the Roebuck Street area, decided they would change that lie to now say that the Government intended to tax gratuities and pensions.”
He said when he first heard the rumour he dismissed it, but he had then been approached by people who said the persistent reports were, in fact, true.
“[They] were in fact causing some public servants who may have in 33 and a third years under the Public Service Act, for them to apply and put into the Personnel Administration Division for early retirement. I want to make it abundantly clear that no such policy has been discussed, has been considered, contemplated or will be attempted by this Government at no time and certainly not when I am Minister of Finance or anybody else in this Cabinet,” Sinckler pledged.
The Finance Minister therefore urged all public workers who have applied for early retirement to withdraw their papers, especially considering that such a move would not allow them to receive full pension or gratuity.