Deputy Speaker of the House Gline Clarke is assuring that the Mia Mottley led administration is not in bed with the island’s workers’ unions.
However, speaking in Parliament on the Central Bank of Barbados Amendment Act 2018, he pointed out that even though the former Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell and the previous Democratic Labour Party administration were of the view that a wage increase was not possible for civil servants due to the island’s dire economic situation, his Government was prepared to made it happen.
“This Government has taken the decision that we will give civil servants an increase of salaries. The previous Government told the unions that they were not prepared to negotiate at all; that they were not going to negotiate wages.
“In today’s society we have a Government. which is giving an increase of wages based on the fact the Central Bank has said that you should not, and we are giving that increase,” he stressed, adding that “it cannot be that we are in bed with any unions, that we are in bed with any persons”.
“We have taken that position and we are going forward with it . . . [but] the previous Government also told the unions that they were not prepared to negotiate at all; that they were not going to negotiate wages,” Clarke said on the heels of a five per cent increase announced by Government for the island’s public servants.
In making his contribution to the debate, Clarke also called for limitations to be placed on the Governor of the Central Bank.
“I think that if the Governor has a negative view or a view in any way that this view should be communicated to the Minister or to the Government without necessarily going to the public because it has some effect on the public of our country,” he said in light of the public fallout between Worrell and the then Minister of Finance that led to the sacking of the governor in February 2017.
“The other thing is when a governor can pronounce he believes that 6,000 people should go home. Now this is indeed tying the Government’s hands, I think. Because, if you are the Government’s advisor and you advise the Minister of Finance that you need to send home 6,000 people obviously the Minister of Finance may very well consider that sort of thing unless you have a strong minister and unless you have a strong Government.
“Now this Government has made a point that they will not send home people, but do you realize that when the Governor of the Central Bank speaks his word has weight? People start to tremble, people start to say this may very well be the policy or this may very well be what the Government is contemplating. So people now start to panic you, get less production out of them and you have a problem on your hands,” Clarke said, while calling for changes to the standing orders of Parliament to ensure that the Central Bank, as well as financial institutions, can report to Parliament every quarter.
He believes this would assist in curbing the amount of money that is printed by the monetary authority.