Public Officers’ Increments Restored
The Minister of the Public Service, Henry Charles Usher, says that since April 1 public officers have seen their increments restored, despite no official directives being sent to the Ministry of Finance. Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance sent out a circulatory informing public officers that the payment of annual Salary Increments resumed with effect from 1 April, despite the announcement being made over a month ago. Minister Usher explained that despite the late release of the circulatory, public officer and teachers, who were eligible, had their increments restored for the past fiscal year.
Henry Charles Usher, Minister, Constitutional and Political Reform: “It was probably an oversight that the circular was not sent out. The statutory instrument was signed right after the increment was approved in the house. The SI was signed by the Governor General and then the increment is applied as of April first. Public officers have different incremental dates some have it April 1st , May 1st, June 1st etcetera so those public officers who do have increments date for April 1st those increments were restored as of – or resumed as of April 1st . So it was just to cover all the tracks to make sure that we have the circular sent out so that’s what was sent out yesterday. But it did come out I believe at the Auditor General’s the office of the Auditor General they asked us if there was a circular and I realized then that ohh we overlooked that we had to send out the circular after the SI had been signed and after the legislation had been amended so that was done yesterday by the Ministry of Finance. It’s important also that this increment is for fiscal year 2022-2023. There was some confusion that back in 2020 when the former Prime Minister froze the increments and said that those increments were foregone meaning that they can never come back Prime Minister Barrow made that statement it was applied May 1st in 2020 so the officers who got their increment April 1st were able to get their increment in April 2020. Those were for fiscal year 2019-2020. So some officers were saying well let’s start the increment May 1st 2023. The problem with that is that each increment is unique to the specific fiscal year so this increment this year is for 2022-2023 and it’s based on your appraisal, it’s based on your performance. So you can’t go back to 2019-2020 and then say let’s start May 1st 2023. We’ve agreed with the joint union team that we would look at those increments for those fiscal years in the past the one for certainly the 2021-2022 and 2020-2021 under this current administration those increments were frozen. We agreed with them to look at ways that we could possibly in the future fiscal years come up with some compensation package for those fiscal years and those increments.”