“Public Officers want a break too!” President of the Public Services Association (PSA), Watson Duke, took to social media this evening to slam the Prime Minister’s “give me a break” comment that was made during Saturday’s press conference. The comment followed the backlash that ensued over vehicular tax exemptions that two ministers recently enjoyed during the pandemic.
Duke stated that the Prime Minister was right in saying that the Ministers were entitled to tax exemptions as it is part of their terms and conditions of service and that the PM could not unilaterally stop their terms of employment and their conditions of benefit.
However, Duke stated that the PM was morally wrong to defend the exemptions in the way that he did, as thousand of public servants were operating without enjoying their benefits. For this reason, Duke stated that the Prime Minister owed an apology to thousands of public servants.
“If the Ministers, Stuart Young, Deyalsingh, if their terms of employment are deemed to be sacrosanct (don’t touch that), so too is the terms of employment and the conditions of service for all public officers, with regards to their overtime, their acting, their promotions and appointments, all their benefits, their uniform allowance, all of these allowances, even their increments. They are entitled to that, just as you are entitled to your tax exemptions!” said Duke.
He stated that public servants were still working on 2013 salaries whilst ministers were enjoying tax exemptions during a pandemic. Duke specifically made reference to nine percent salary increases that were successfully bargained for in late 2020 by the PSA for the workers of the National Insurance Board (NIB). He said that though these were their benefits, they are yet to be paid.
“Y’all are violating people’s rights left, right and centre but when coming to your rights, no dog should bark! Why are your cabinet members enjoying the luxury of life that their job affords them but these workers in the public service, they are not enjoying that? They are not enjoying that because it’s Covid? Many public servants have not received their benefits!”
Duke warned public servants that the time will come where they must be prepared for battle.
Reporter: Melissa Goodman