EYEWITNESS: Mo’ money, Mo’ money… for public servants

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Government has announced its promised salary increase for Public Servants – 7% – retroactive to the beginning of the year. Now, the minimum salary for Public Servants – usually cleaners etc., is $70,000 monthly, so this means that even they’ll be taking home a lump sum of almost $60,000 extra for Christmas. And for the average Public Servant who makes over double that amount – remember, the increase is calculated at the gross pay! – the windfall is also doubled!!

But, from the reaction of the Union – the GPSU – you’d think the Government just slashed salaries by 7%!! They’ve called for Public Servants to “take industrial action” immediately. “The GPSU calls on all Public Servants to work to rule and to effectively convey to the Government their rejection with the way they are being abused by them”! You got that right!! “abused”! Well, your Eyewitness hopes this newspaper would abuse him and give him a 7% ‘retro’ for the year!!

But, you know what? In the Private Sector, raises can be justified only by productivity increases – lest businesses price their products out of the market. Do you think the Government DARES ask Public Servants to INCREASE THEIR PRODUCTIVITY?? So, this threat of “work to rule” ain’t raising no ante to the Government. In fact, from all the complaints made by those members of the public who deal with “public servants”, this might actually be an IMPROVEMENT on their productivity!! Your Eyewitness can just hear the Public Service Minister saying, “Bring it on, Patrick!!”

In fact, it’s this proclivity of “Public Servants” (an oxymoron, if there ever was one!!) not to perform their duties as specified by their classification that has caused Governments – both the PPP and the PNC coalition – to bring in all those contracted workers into the Public Service!! And in case you forgot, the PNC brought in proportionally more contract workers that the PPP!! And let’s not justify using salary increases to improve Public Servants’ productivity; it didn’t work for Ministers after their 50% increase in 2015, nor for the Public Servants after their “substantial” increases promised by the coalition. For instance, between 2015 and 2019, the PNC coalition raised minimum Public Servants’ salaries from $40,000 to $70,000. Did anyone, dear reader, notice any improvement in their “service” to you?

To your Eyewitness’s bemusement, the GTU weighed in on the salary increase issue, and demanded an equivalent to the “frontline workers’ payout” the Government announced for frontline Health Care workers. Yes…the same union that encouraged their members NOT to be vaccinated and NOT to turn up for work when the Ministry of Education opened our schools!!

So, what should the Government do?? As that old time crooner advised:
“You can’t please everybody, so you might as well please yourself!!”

…from oil

Okay…so, finally, the Govt assured the critics that it’ll be auditing the US$9B expenses claimed by Exxon to date for the development and raising of the oil under our Atlantic. Now, up to 75% of the expenses would’ve been subtracted from the gross revenues generated from the sale of oil to leave the profit that’s shared 50-50 with us. Let’s ignore the 2% royalty for now. That is, US$6.75 billion would’ve been deducted from revenues to give us the profits we received to date.

So, say expenses were overclaimed by a whopping $1B, then 75% of $8B should’ve been deducted – US$6B. So, after the audit, we would’ve received half of US$.75B – US$387.5M – which is nothing to sneeze at!! But it all depends on proving Exxon and its partners were padding their bills. Your Eyewitness doesn’t think this is unlikely.

Even though after the abuse uncovered with Enron, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed with greater scrutiny and penalties, the practice continues.

Let the audit begin!!

…for imported food

With the supply-chain snafus precipitated by COVID-19, importers have to move heaven and earth to get goods into Guyana. And that costs money!!

Shouldn’t we do our part and ease up on the foreign foods?