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May 13, 2020

Education Minister Says G.O.B.’s Request in not Unreasonable

Patrick Faber

Education Minister Patrick Faber has also weighed in on the matter in respect of teachers and their allowances, as they, too, are being affected by the fiscal crunch. Faber says that government’s request to waive increments and allowances for public officers and teachers is neither irrational nor unfair, given the existing circumstance. Faber also commented today on the financial situation that has befallen employees of NICH, where revenue has also dried up and there are difficulties in meeting salaries.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“The matter of increments, in terms of the public service, of course, has been dealt with by the prime minister himself and this matter also has to do with the teachers.  I want to say that I support the prime minister’s position fully, but it’s not only that I support the prime minister’s position.  I believe that a good majority of the teachers themselves support the prime minister’s position.  Here we are in a position where many in the private sector are losing their jobs, many in the tourism industry; in fact in the National Institute of Culture and History which is a quasi-government body, it receives a subvention from the government but it also depends on revenue from the archaeological sites and tourists if you will.  There is going to have to be, in fact there is an ongoing discussion now as to what is going to be the case there because the only revenue that’s coming into NICH right now is from the government subvention which only pays about forty-five percent of the salary bill per month.  So there has to be a serious discussion there as well, and I say all of that to say that asking for teachers and public servants to forego their increments for a fiscal year is not an unreasonable request.  By and large, we work in the public service every day, I work in the public service everyday and I don’t get that impression coming from a good many of the public servants that they are not willing to do what they need to do, this small compromise in order to support the country’s effort where in fact the salaries of all public servants are still being honored by this administration.  So I would want to think that the teachers and maybe even the leadership of the B.N.T.U. are in that same position to say, my goodness the government is bending backwards.”

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