During the most recent edition of his weekly radio programme, “Ask the PM”, Dr. Douglas, who is also the Minister of Finance, indicated that he has heard rumours of possible pay cuts but informed that those reports are inaccurate and untrue.
“Actually I have been asked that specifically by some people just last week and my answer to that was at this time, I can scarcely, hardly live from own salary much less to ask people to cut their salaries. I know that there are certain challenges that we are facing at this particular time. I know that we have seen this particular measure taken by several countries in an attempt to close…the budget deficit fiscal gap that they have experienced in their own public accounts…But definitely none of the measures that we have discussed, none emanating from my own Ministry of Finance, none emanating from any other person who had been providing technical advice to the government, has spoken to the question of a reduction in public servants’ salaries,” Dr. Douglas assured.
The Finance Minister indicated that in some countries across the Caribbean, this measure has been taken; however, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis will not take that route but rather, is using other means to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit.
“We have had it done right here in the Caribbean region and just this morning (30th November) I think I recall hearing President Obama speaking about the need to begin to do something about the public sector in order (to deal with) the budget deficit that his own government is experiencing in the United States of America.
“We have outlined in great detail a number of measures which have been instituted and which only, last week, have come to the attention of the IMF who was here looking at our economy and our plans for the budget 2011 and none of those measures that we have been looking at include a cut in anyone’s salary… As I said I don’t think that we need to do that. That is why we continue to say that we have to look at a number of ways by which we can cut out the wastage, we can cut back on expenditure, increase our revenue and thus bring closure to the budget deficit that had been predicted when one looked at the planning of the budget for next year.”
Dr. Douglas explained that he is aware of some person’s attempt to breed discord between the government of St. Christopher and Nevis. He however noted that because the people are highly educated, this tactic will not succeed.
I know that there are some out there who are trying desperately; desperately I would emphasize, to bring disaffection between the government and the People of St. Kitts and Nevis that have resorted to innuendos, lies, they have been deliberately malicious, attacking critically important financial institutions of this country in an attempt to bring disaffection and also to undermine the integrity of a number of our financial institutions but it will not work. Because the people of St. Kitts and Nevis are very much educated, they can analyse for themselves, they are aware that we are living in a country and in a world that every other country has been impacted by the global financial economic crisis. Ours is not immune in any way….People are highly educated and will see through that kind of garbage,” Douglas expressed.