SWEEPING changes in the salary scales of various categories of workers in the Disciplined Services of Guyana will see more than 8,000 persons benefiting from over $1 billion more in annualised disposable income in their pockets next year.
Those increases, which will take effect from January 1, 2023, will supplement the eight per cent across-the-board retroactive pay hike which public servants will benefit from this year.
In announcing the massive adjustments to the salaries of our men and women in uniform on Thursday, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said that the government, as part of the review, was mindful of the need to resolve anomalies and disparities across the Disciplined Services and across the comparable positions.
“We were also mindful of the need to ensure that we improve our competitiveness, particularly at the entry-level, so that our Disciplined Services continue to be an attractive employment prospect for our young men and women,” Dr. Ali said.
There is no doubt that the members of the Joint Services deserve this incentive, as they are among the people who, from Sunday to Sunday, rain or sun, serve and protect the people of this nation and foreign countries.
The well-being of those persons has always been a priority of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), and testimony of this was the restoration of the year-end bonuses for members of the Joint Services, which was restored in 2020 after the former APNU+AFC coalition had removed the incentive and instituted draconian taxes that recouped whatever increases they offered to public servants.
The adjustment to the salary scales, alone, far exceeds any initiative introduced by the former coalition administration for the upliftment of the Joint Services.
Videos across social media of men and women in uniform rejoicing upon hearing the announcement of the new salaries are testimony to their appreciation for the timely initiative by the PPP/C government.
Not only does this increased salary position set them on a platform to better contend with the rising cost of living caused by global economic conditions, but it also positions members of the Joint Services to benefit meaningfully from further increases and incentives. And the benefits would be felt by persons entering the Force and those who were there for years, as special consideration was given to those conditions as well.
In addition to salary increases, members of the Joint Services have, over the past two years, benefitted from general initiatives such as the COVID-19 relief grant, the $30,000 education cash grant for parents with children in private and public schools, and even the GOAL scholarship initiative, among many other incentives.
Specific to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), soldiers have benefitted from a number of scholarships through GOAL, as well as opportunities for several ranks to be trained as part of a Government of India programme.
In his address to the army last year, President Ali said: “As a matter of fact, this year , we have had the most officers and soldiers being trained or advancing their educational aspirations in the history of this military, and this is just the beginning, because we are going to support you in all your education aspirations.”
President Ali affirmed that substantial investments will be directed towards improving the requisite infrastructure to accommodate distance and Online learning.
“So [that] all of you would have an equal opportunity; an equal shot at improving yourself, and building a better prospect for your family. This is the goal and the vision,” the President noted.
This extends beyond the GDF to other members of the Joint Services, and will be accompanied by many other initiatives that will be rolled out to further enhance the lives of every Guyanese.