I KNOW that as of recent, all, everyone is talking about is the salary increase for public servants. I have seen so many arguments from both sides of the political divide justifying their stance on the increase and I thought that I would share my opinion as well. I kindly ask that you permit me to do so in your publication.
First and foremost, Guyana, just like all the other countries in the world, is facing economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries are being crippled and people are suffering a great deal.
This is not only because of the rise in the cost of living everywhere, but also because millions of people are out of jobs. Looking at our very own CARICOM countries, we can see how severely they are affected and how their people are crying out. Take for instance, Trinidad and Tobago. In August 2021, the TT Guardian carried a story which was headlined “6,000 businesses face permanent closure, won’t reopen Monday.”
This meant that thousands of people in Trinidad and Tobago were going to be unemployed simply because of the economic implications of the pandemic. Fortunately, in Guyana, our people are not facing such hardships and that is attributed to the efforts of the PPP/C Government. I say this confidently because had the APNU+AFC Coalition been in office, we would have more than likely been in a similar situation like Trinidad and Tobago.
In just the same way it should be criticised for its missteps, the government should be commended when it has done well and I am of the firm view that the way it has provided relief to the people of Guyana in order to cushion the effects of this pandemic is commendable. As soon as they took office, they began rolling out measures such as the one-off payment to frontline workers and the disciplined services; the one-off cash grant to every single household across Guyana and the increase in old-age pension and public assistance. Immediately after, we saw the removal of VAT on electricity, water, education, basic necessities and so much more. These were all done whilst the pandemic was ravaging the country.
The government offered support to businesses so as to ensure that they catered for the needs of the people, even when the world was facing supply-chain issues. In addition to all of this, thousands of jobs were created and many new businesses have been opened, even though other countries were dealing with the opposite reality.
The countless measures implemented have benefitted thousands of Guyanese. Now with the seven per cent retroactive salary increase, thousands of workers will be able to have more money to improve their livelihoods, especially during this pandemic, which has made things increasingly difficult. I believe that the salary increases coupled with all the other measures that have been put in place have assisted Guyanese tremendously and the government ought to be applauded. In closing, I quote the words of Dan Millman, “A little bit of something is better than nothing.”