The Government’s retrenchment programme has again been slammed by Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn as a poorly thought-out numbers game to satisfy the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Furthermore, he said, the programme is now spiralling out of control.
Senator Franklyn claimed that thus far Government has been unable to keep a single promise made on the retrenchment process, arguing that this is evidence that Government has no control of the process.
“Government has not yet told the truth once about this process. At one time the Prime Minister said that about 1500 people going home but right now it feels like this process is not going to stop soon. This BERT plan is a rush job, they don’t know what they are doing and they hitting and missing,” said Franklyn.
The Opposition Senator contends that Prime Minister Mia Mottley is receiving advice on the staff cuts from advisors who have “no clue what it takes to make certain sectors function.
“You are sending home people from the Registry and the courts and in one Magistrate’s Court you send home all two cashiers leaving no one to collect the fines,” said Franklyn who was referring to an incident last month that the last remaining cashier in the office at the District “A” Court Complex was severed and as a result members of the public were unable to pay fines.
He contended that this seeming lack of thought in the process was not isolated as he claimed the Geriatric Hospital is being affected by a shortage of cooks, who received their walking papers recently. Despite promises to the contrary, he asserted, husbands and wives from the same household were being severed, leaving homes without any breadwinners. He argued that if Government was interested in making meaningful cuts, there would have been better engagement of those in the know within the Civil Service.
“The Prime Minister went into this IMF programme with her eyes wide shut and she is taking some very bad advice from the people assembled around her. There are civil servants employed to do [what her advisors] are being paid to do. These persons are far better equipped to do the job and they have knowledge of the inner workings of the public service,” Senator Franklyn contended
“People are being sent home without any logic. Why would you send home the cashiers from the court knowing that you have fines to collect? That wasn’t thought out. They promised that this thing would be done as humanely as possible but it is not because I have husband and wives coming to see me that were sent home from two Government departments. They promised that would not happen. But how are you going to know who is married to whom when there is no co-ordination?” he added.
The trade unionist called on Government to provide more transparency on the final numbers to be retrenched. “They are just sending home bodies because the IMF programme that they imposed upon us says that you should have a certain number of people must be employed in the Civil Service. They are not coming out and saying what those numbers are and that is number we need to know.”
Back in October, Mottley assured workers that the retrenchment process would not amount to thousands being unemployed.
“I can give the country the assurance that while we do not have an exact number because we are following process rather than arithmetic deductions, we know that it is unlikely to be more than 1,500 people.”