Wage Increase vs Wage Freeze

There has been no official confirmation from government or the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) about the recent promotions that took place among our law enforcement officers.

However, there is talk among police officers of the movement within the force of some Assistaant Superintendents of Police (ASP) to the ranks of Superintendent of Police to fill some of the vacancies existing within RGPF.

The information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the promotions affected the ranks of Sergeants to Superintendents and the chain started under the tenure of embattled Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson who was virtually sent packing from police headquarters at Fort George when current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell took office after the February 2013 general elections.

Under Thompson’s watch, exams were held for some officers with a view to promoting them within the force.
Some promotions were indeed made and Dr. Mitchell expressed his displeasure with the Commissioner on taking office on a number of these promotions and this was one of the reasons that triggered the strained relations between the two men.

The word that came out from within RGPF prior to the February 2013 poll was that several officers were displeased with the promotions and expressed their feelings by voting in large numbers for the now Prime Minister and his New National Party (NNP) on election day.

However, the long and short is that these promotions will have an impact on the wage bill which the government has been complaining about within months of returning to office.

THE NEW TODAY is not taking issue with the police officers for their salary increases since virtually everyone in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique might be in need of more wages at the end of the month especially in light of the wave of rising taxes in the country.

However, the government must be mindful of its own 3-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in which a critical component was the approach made to public sector unions to accept a virtual freeze on wages over the duration of the programme.

The Public Service Commission (PSC), headed by attorney-at-law, Derek Sylvester could not take on its own and effect the promotions and salary increases without an input from the Office of the Prime Minister which is responsible for National Security.

So while on the one hand the government was asking the unions to sign onto a protocol to cover a wage freeze, it has now granted salary increases in short order  to some police officers due to these recent promotions.

The Police Wage Bill will even go higher as the Commissioner of Police, if not already, but soon enough, will have to make additional promotions to fill those posts vacated by the newly promoted officers.

Is the government engaged in deception by increasing the salaries of some police officers and attempting to keep the salary levels of other civil servants down?

The government should also be mindful of the most recent statement put out by the IMF about the need for the administration in St. George’s to address Grenada’s mounting monthly wage bill.

The other public officers and their unions will be taking careful note of the actions of the government especially in the face of the attempted raid on the NIS coffers on the 50-60% haircut issue.

The administration also runs the risk of being accused of making a mockery of the idea it was trying to portray to the international community that it was not running the country alone but was engaged in some kind of a partnership with the Civil Society groupings.

At the moment Grenada is in a deep financial hole and the two most critical aspects that are needed right now are the creation of an action plan to grow the economy and at the same time tackling head-on the huge monthly public sector wage bill.

The Ministry of Finance is in bad need of a revamping and to get the right people who can do an overhaul of the system.

Grenada needs persons inside the ministry who can think outside of the box and can come up with fresh, practical and workable ideas for moving the economy forward and not persons who merely fit into the role of facilitators for politicians.

A new economy was promised 16-months ago but the man – Dr. Patrick Antoine – who was promoting the idea in the election campaign cannot be seen within the corridors of the Ministry of Finance nor the power centre at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen.

Finally, THE NEW TODAY would like to call on the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) to offer some explanation to the public on the shortage of brown sugar in the country.

The country is ripe with rumours of the emergence of a new cartel that is responsible for the shortage of the item in the local supermarkets and village shops.

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