When MiyVue.com spoke with a number of civil servants on Wednesday, (10th December), the day after the announcement, they shared mixed feelings.
Finance Minister Denzil Douglas made the announcement during his Budget address on Tuesday, (9th December), explaining that after consultation with his Cabinet, it was finally agreed that the double salary will be paid in December.
He said, “…when it comes to the Civil Servants, we believe that many Civil Servants have been called to serve above and beyond the call of regular duty. Collectively, the level of performance has been high and in large measure has assisted the Government to attain the resounding success story now reflected in our records.”
The Finance Minister added that “As a demonstration of our gratitude, we have determined that in this month of December, 2014, all Civil Servants will be paid an extra month’s salary. This will help to boost morale and provide an added stimulus to the economy.”
This however was quite different to the tease he had been making both on the political platform and on radio, when he said “double out of style” adding at times, that he was told it was triple that was reigning and in vogue.
But on Tuesday in parliament, Douglas stated, “While it might be very tempting to spend all that you receive, I want to encourage you to save a portion for investment in your own future and that of your children and family.”
MiyVue.com took to the streets of Basseterre to get the views of the folks in the public and also from some of those working for the Government.
Although some welcomed the one time salary upgrade, others expressed that they were more hoping for a triple salary.
“Well everybody was talking about it in the office for weeks and we were all hoping for the triple salary this month but I guess double is better (than nothing) so I have no problem with it,” a Public Servant said.
A contractor told this publication that although the double salary announcement did not come as a surprise to him, he viewed the remuneration as a “political move”.
“Everything in St. Kitts is politics. I was surprised Douglas said double because he was hinting to people that it could be triple or even four times than it usually is. But some of the public servants, with the salaries they’re getting, double isn’t going to be enough especially with the season coming,” the contractor said.
A government worker told MiyVue.com that the last time public servants were promised a “double salary”, it turned out to be a hoax.
“A couple of years ago it was rumored that we were getting double salary and everybody got excited about it. People were already planning what they were doing with the money but it all turned out to be false. I’m glad the Prime Minister said it himself,” the worker said.
Other persons shared the view that the triple salary would have been better for the public servants, especially during the current carnival and upcoming Christmas Season.
The connection made to politics is in light of the fact that General Elections are due in the country sometime during the first quarter of 2015; with some predicting the month of March, (early).