The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) this afternoon staged a walk out of Parliament after Government tabled a resolution to restore the ten per cent pay that its senior members lost back in 2014 at the height of austerity.
In tabling the resolution, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler was careful to point out that the amount was not a salary increase, while suggesting that Government was simply honouring its promise to restore the amount, which was initially due to be repaid at the end of 19 months. He further pointed out that the pay cut, which was originally due to end by March 31, 2015, had been extended for an additional year, which ended March 31,2016.
However, to date, Sinckler said, the Government officials’ pay was yet to be restituted.
But Opposition Leader Mia Mottley was having none of it.
Warning that Government was about choices, she pointed out that people in the north of the island were still without water; so too residents in the Belle, St Michael. Mottley also argued that residents along the south coast and parts of Bridgetown were also battling with sewage problems.
Yet, she complained that Government’s priority was to give itself an increase back. Mottley also pointed to the latest Central Bank report issued today in which she said the Governor Dr Delisle Worrell warned of the need for Government to reduce wages and transfers.
“Now how can we have that signal coming at 2p.m. [from the Governor] and at 4 p.m. the Government is looking to give itself an increase back?” Mottley asked.
“When times are hard, you must lead from in front,” she repeatedly warned, before she and other Opposition Members of Parliament walked out en masse from the House of Assembly just after 4p.m., saying they wanted no part in the controversial exercise and that they would not be accepting any restoration until public servants, who have been waiting for over six years for a pay increase, are granted one.