Public sector job cuts would be a last resort – Barbados PM

Barbados Today:  

As the Government prepares for continued negotiations with a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Mia Mottley has assured public sector workers there are no immediate plans to cut jobs.

In fact, Mottley said job cuts in the public sector would only be done as a last resort.

“To the extent there are any at all it is going to be the result of a rationalization only with the greatest, greatest delay,” said the Prime Minister this afternoon at a press conference held at Government Headquarters, Bay Street, St Michael.

She indicated that in the event Government has to go the route of laying off public servants, they would be provided with income-earning alternatives under the Government’s Procurement Act.

“Even if there is a need for any form of job cuts . . . we have said that we will seek to work with those persons in good faith,” she said.

“We will look at onset legislation for procurement that allows persons to be able to benefit from a percentage of government procurement, or those who may prefer to farm we will give them access . . . or in terms of vending.

“We are not prepared to do as the last government did or the government did in 1991 . . . [and] say job cuts first,” she added.

The newly-elected Prime Minister went on to reveal that after meetings with the IMF, Director Christine Lagarde was pleased with the Government’s prompt response to the country’s $15 billion public debt.

The IMF has also expressed concerns about the Barbadian dollar’s peg to the United States dollar.

There have been calls for a devaluation, however, Prime Minister Mottley discarded the idea, arguing that it would be to the detriment of Barbados.

“There is nothing to be gained by the devaluation of the Barbados dollar. We don’t have any goods that are exported, that will become cheaper and in terms of our tourism, our tourism is not price competitive . . . our tourism is based on quality,” she said.

“The only thing we get from devaluation . . . is a hard lash for bad behavior and we have had a lot of fiscal bad behavior for the last decade. The government went on a spending spree and we don’t see the results of where it went,” Mottley added.

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