Categorized | Local, News, Regional

Premier at OECS, castigates public servants seeking 12% increase, CSA president fires back

by Bennette Roach :

Premier R T Meade (file photo)

Premier R T Meade (file photo)

Premier the Hon Reuben T. Meade as head of Montserrat government (GoM) had the honour of

Paul Lewis - CSA president at CPSA 2012 Convention in Montserrat

Paul Lewis – CSA president at CPSA 2012 Convention in Montserrat

welcoming his colleagues heads to Montserrat, and to the 58th OECS authority meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2013.

He began by thanking the children who sang what he now calls, ‘the territorial song of Montserrat.’ “I want to thank the children for singing what the rest of us would call a national song but since we are still a British colony, it’s a territorial song and the territorial song of Montserrat,” he said.

He then joined in placing Montserrat with the OECS in the recent Dominican Republic and Haiti citizenship issue, that  has wrought the ire of the region. “As the OECS, we must stand firm to ensure that our Haitian brothers and sisters are treated fairly,” he vouched. “Montserrat stands firm and committed in ensuring that the Dominican Republic does what is right,” using that phrase, ‘doing the right thing’, several times in his brief address.

Following that he spoke of, “The region in crisis is also one where we are seeing increasing debt, increasing difficulty in balancing budgets, increasing difficulty in raising funds and therefore, as a community, as the OECS family, we must also be saying—not only to our regional public servants but to the public servants throughout the region—you cannot, without increasing your productivity to be always asking for salary increases which the countries cannot and absolutely cannot meet.”

He said some of the governments in the region have cut their civil servants salaries or pay levies, “so that their government can come out of financial crisis and balance their budget,” saying that others are looking at “a range of options.”

He then addressed his public servants in Montserrat and accused the head of the Public Service Association, to be seeking a 12% salary increase.  “I find it rather interesting,” he said, “that the public servants of Montserrat, at this time, will be seeking a 12% salary increase simply because it is my understanding that the union head is seeking political intervention…”

He said introduced that with this. “I want the message to be very clear that while we are discussing aid and seeking support from our financiers, HMG, (and this is HMG London) where they themselves are in financial straits.”

As if to get back on track, he told all at the opening ceremony, “We must ensure that as a region that we do the right thing and if it means doing the right thing [sic] means that we will lose an election then so be it.  We cannot simply seek to pander to the electorate simply because they may give us a vote.  We have to look at our children and our grandchildren and their future so that we manage the resources which we have and do so well.”

His comments were picked up quickly by the Union head Paul Lewis, who the next day told The Montserrat Reporter, that he is appalled at the Premier’s statement who in any case he finds disrespectful since he had written him only three days before and has not had a response from him.

In the letter Bro Paul Lewis as president, wrote a letter to the Premier asking for the reinstatement of increments and salary increases. He recalled, “Government decisions over the last four years resulted in Civil Servants making financial sacrifices.  However, when sacrifices are being made the period should be reasonable and at the end of it, there should be benefits for those who made these sacrifices.”

Lewis his statement said that it is seven years since public servants have had any kind of salary increase, while in fact the Premier (Minister of Finance) without any discussion with the Union, has in addition, reduced pension benefits to public servants by half, while theirs remain set. “We have been put on the back burner for the last seven years, four years of which is actually the term of the present government as we give the government a chance to develop the private sector,” he informed.

In his statement Lewis said he finds the Premier disrespectful in not talking with the Union on any issue regarding their requests over the past three years, having allowed the government some time when it came to office before they continued to press for the increase. “He has never showed any interest to coming to the table to discuss increase or any other form of benefit with civil servants which I think is disrespectful. He can continue to make whatever statement he wishes, but I’m saying to him he needs to come to the table and stop making public announcements as he feels, and stop being disrespectful to Civil servants and the Union representing the civil servants. It’s about time that the Honorable Premier show some respect to the Civil servants who are working hard to help him and his government run this country.”

Lewis noted that the civil servants should not be the only ones making sacrifices. He notes also that government ministers have reduced pensions benefits, but have left theirs in tact.

“We want to state also that if only are we making sacrifices like not getting salary increases – we also want to state clearly that government in 2011 made the decision without any collective bargain agreement with the union to reduce the pension accrual rates, annual accrual rates from 2% approximately to 1%. The government ministers themselves including the minister of finance they have not touched their pensions- going away with full pension.”

He called on the government, “…let them tell the public of Montserrat if that is fair, let them convince the public of Montserrat if that is fair for the Government ministers including minister of finance to go home with full pensions while they make a decision to civil servants to take 50% cut in the pensions, 50% cut in their pension annual accrual rate.”

Photos: Paul Lewis and Premier

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach :

Premier R T Meade (file photo)

Premier R T Meade (file photo)

Premier the Hon Reuben T. Meade as head of Montserrat government (GoM) had the honour of

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Paul Lewis - CSA president at CPSA 2012 Convention in Montserrat

Paul Lewis – CSA president at CPSA 2012 Convention in Montserrat

welcoming his colleagues heads to Montserrat, and to the 58th OECS authority meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2013.

He began by thanking the children who sang what he now calls, ‘the territorial song of Montserrat.’ “I want to thank the children for singing what the rest of us would call a national song but since we are still a British colony, it’s a territorial song and the territorial song of Montserrat,” he said.

He then joined in placing Montserrat with the OECS in the recent Dominican Republic and Haiti citizenship issue, that  has wrought the ire of the region. “As the OECS, we must stand firm to ensure that our Haitian brothers and sisters are treated fairly,” he vouched. “Montserrat stands firm and committed in ensuring that the Dominican Republic does what is right,” using that phrase, ‘doing the right thing’, several times in his brief address.

Following that he spoke of, “The region in crisis is also one where we are seeing increasing debt, increasing difficulty in balancing budgets, increasing difficulty in raising funds and therefore, as a community, as the OECS family, we must also be saying—not only to our regional public servants but to the public servants throughout the region—you cannot, without increasing your productivity to be always asking for salary increases which the countries cannot and absolutely cannot meet.”

He said some of the governments in the region have cut their civil servants salaries or pay levies, “so that their government can come out of financial crisis and balance their budget,” saying that others are looking at “a range of options.”

He then addressed his public servants in Montserrat and accused the head of the Public Service Association, to be seeking a 12% salary increase.  “I find it rather interesting,” he said, “that the public servants of Montserrat, at this time, will be seeking a 12% salary increase simply because it is my understanding that the union head is seeking political intervention…”

He said introduced that with this. “I want the message to be very clear that while we are discussing aid and seeking support from our financiers, HMG, (and this is HMG London) where they themselves are in financial straits.”

As if to get back on track, he told all at the opening ceremony, “We must ensure that as a region that we do the right thing and if it means doing the right thing [sic] means that we will lose an election then so be it.  We cannot simply seek to pander to the electorate simply because they may give us a vote.  We have to look at our children and our grandchildren and their future so that we manage the resources which we have and do so well.”

His comments were picked up quickly by the Union head Paul Lewis, who the next day told The Montserrat Reporter, that he is appalled at the Premier’s statement who in any case he finds disrespectful since he had written him only three days before and has not had a response from him.

In the letter Bro Paul Lewis as president, wrote a letter to the Premier asking for the reinstatement of increments and salary increases. He recalled, “Government decisions over the last four years resulted in Civil Servants making financial sacrifices.  However, when sacrifices are being made the period should be reasonable and at the end of it, there should be benefits for those who made these sacrifices.”

Lewis his statement said that it is seven years since public servants have had any kind of salary increase, while in fact the Premier (Minister of Finance) without any discussion with the Union, has in addition, reduced pension benefits to public servants by half, while theirs remain set. “We have been put on the back burner for the last seven years, four years of which is actually the term of the present government as we give the government a chance to develop the private sector,” he informed.

In his statement Lewis said he finds the Premier disrespectful in not talking with the Union on any issue regarding their requests over the past three years, having allowed the government some time when it came to office before they continued to press for the increase. “He has never showed any interest to coming to the table to discuss increase or any other form of benefit with civil servants which I think is disrespectful. He can continue to make whatever statement he wishes, but I’m saying to him he needs to come to the table and stop making public announcements as he feels, and stop being disrespectful to Civil servants and the Union representing the civil servants. It’s about time that the Honorable Premier show some respect to the Civil servants who are working hard to help him and his government run this country.”

Lewis noted that the civil servants should not be the only ones making sacrifices. He notes also that government ministers have reduced pensions benefits, but have left theirs in tact.

“We want to state also that if only are we making sacrifices like not getting salary increases – we also want to state clearly that government in 2011 made the decision without any collective bargain agreement with the union to reduce the pension accrual rates, annual accrual rates from 2% approximately to 1%. The government ministers themselves including the minister of finance they have not touched their pensions- going away with full pension.”

He called on the government, “…let them tell the public of Montserrat if that is fair, let them convince the public of Montserrat if that is fair for the Government ministers including minister of finance to go home with full pensions while they make a decision to civil servants to take 50% cut in the pensions, 50% cut in their pension annual accrual rate.”

Photos: Paul Lewis and Premier