Speaking at a public meeting of his ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) on Tuesday night, Spencer assured supporters that “however we do it, we are not going to embark upon any kind of wholesale retrenchment of government workers, public sector workers”.
He said his government intends to hold on to its obligation “because we recognise that in a situation where the private sector does not have the absorptive capacity to absorb all the workers that are required to be engaged in Antigua and Barbuda, we have a social responsibility as a government.
“What is happening in Barbados and in certain other countries, we could have adapted the same position here because the same issues do exit, but we have taken a different position,” Spencer told supporters.
Late last month, the Barbados government announced a plan to cut public service jobs in a bid to save BDS$143 million (One BDS dollar = US$0.50 cents).
It said it would also institute a “strict programme of attrition” across the central public service, filling posts only where it is absolutely unavoidable, over the next five years, ending 2018-2019.
The Freundel Stuart government said it intends to trim the service by 3,000 jobs starting from January 15.
Prime Minister Spencer said despite the exiting socio-economic problems, some nationals were doing better than their relatives residing in the United States and Britain to the point that they were now sending them money to help them overcome their financial problems.
“A lot of you know that you have friends and relatives living in the United States and in the United Kingdom and so on and you know the kind of challenges that they have so much so that you have a situation where the remittances that you used to get from your friends and relatives in the United States and Canada and elsewhere, you are not getting those remittances.
“As a matter of fact, you have a situation where the little that you have down here, you have to be sending up to them. So you have the remittances in reverse now,” he added.