No pay cuts, no layoffs – Chastanet

By SNO Staff

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Building housing government offices.

Building housing government offices.

There are no plans to downsize the St. Lucia civil service or cut the salaries of civil servants, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said.

Responding to a reporter’s question about rumours of pay cuts and downsizing at a press briefing on Tuesday, Chastanet emphasized that his government intends “to help improve the productivity of the civil service” and that if there is going to be any downsizing of the civil service it is going to come through attrition.

Attrition is the gradual reduction of the size of a workforce by not replacing personnel lost through retirement or resignation.

“The first part is to create a process change so that’s what we call the re-engineering of the civil service, with the idea of maybe being able to get people to have higher salaries but less people, but it’s going to be done through attrition.

“There is absolutely no proposal on the table that I know of, and I am the minister of finance, to any pay cuts. Not part of the proposal, never been even considered to be part of the proposal. We have continuously talked about how we can strengthen the civil service, how can we make more resources available to them,” he explained.

Chastanet said government’s budget has been “depleted severely” because monies that should be fixing infrastructure and fixing schools, among other things, have been cut.

He said no “policy adjustments” have been made to address this matter, while the level of expenditure continues to be primarily driven by the level of debt.

“So when you looked… from 2011 all the way until 2016, the fastest growing expenditure item was debt-financing. That’s what we we’ve gotta be able to solve,” he said.

Chastanet further noted that the economy is not big enough to cover the country’s expenses.

“Healthcare we are under financed, education we are underfinance, policing we are underfinanced, infrastructure we are underfinanced.”

And increasing taxes will not solve the issue, he said.

“If we continue to increase taxes because we believe that we are entitled to be able to make those expenditures, we think that is going to come at the expense of investment, so the more taxes you put on, the more it discourages people from investing in their country.

“And that’s why when I hear people saying… how can Chastanet be saying that the country is broke but at the same time he is lowering taxes? Because the goal of our government, and we’ve said it, is to double the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). So we must make St. Lucia more attractive to be able to invest and that investment is not just foreign direct investment, it is regional investment and it is local investment.

“So how do you encourage people to invest? They must have confidence that when they put the money in that there is an opportunity for them to see a return on that investment. So that’s why we are trying to put more money in people’s pockets, that people have the consumption power to be able to buy homes, to go to the grocery, and that’s how investors see that there is a return on their investment.”

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  1. Our PM knows he CANNOT reduce salaries or fire civil servants. Dr Anthony tried the reduction so he would not cross that line but using the word attrition to the gradual reduction of civil servants through retirement or resignation. It begs me to ask the question how many civil servants will be retiring through out the five years? Will the amount be substantial to make a dent in expenditure? I doubt it very much. So the next question on resignation. I need to think about that one. I also need to consider the statement from the Union. Taxes will not increase according to the PM. The government is making less money due to reduction of taxes and he is solely depending on investment from foreign companies. I don't see that is enough Mr PM. It sounds too bookish

  2. I think people should go into small business ownership instead of seeking employment with the government. The government need to put measures in place to encourage entrepreneurship for our natives and not for the foreigners only. The foreigners who migrate to St. Lucia should be skilled workers and not come here to open restaurants and bars.

    Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

    • We're in a tough situation that we voluntarily got our selves into. And it's potentially an economic disaster.

      Most of us see it.

      Some are reluctant to admit it. And that is really sad. It really is.

      Too many St. Lucians have grown comfortable in making a working wage and grown up with am over-inflated sense of entitlement that they won't have to genuinely work hard and to prove themselves.

      And the result? Many now find themselves in wage-slave jobs leading an escapist life focused on making enough money for warm beer and cold fried chicken on the weekends over a hot set of dominoes. The bed has been made, and we must now lie in it.

      The foreign migrant workers that arrive on our shores at nights and at our airports during the day have a different set of values and ethics. They take the jobs that many St. Lucians feel that are below them, willing to work hard at them, better themselves and move up, all the while sending money to their homelands to support their families and to bring them here to work hard and make a better life for themselves.

      That's tough to face, but that's the reality of globalization that we now live in --- human, financial and commodity-based resources now know no borders.

      Many St. Lucians have screwed themselves with a laissez-faire attitude that takes everything for granted. If those complacent St. Lucians who want a better life yet only complain want to instead swim with the OECS and regional big fish, then they better be prepared to put on their big boy pants and be prepared to have the courage and the guts to sail out into the deep water.

  3. Hilaire had brilliant ideas while on the WICB, why don't he cross the floor before it's too late..Pip ain't going any where soon...he is like an old Turks. There is a possibility for you to led in the UWP regime.

  4. New graduates, it's all about free movement of people, if they qualified, go somewhere else and work. The same way they went out to study. That's actually a great answer mister PM.

  5. Did you hear the Civil Service Association spokesman last night? You could swear he was speaking for the Government with that near Prime Ministerial tone, saying the exact opposite of what the PM has now confirmed, esp. regarding Pay Cuts. How a union leader could be so willing to put his own foot so readily in his own mouth??? That's a mystery to me.

  6. Once again, the opposition party continues to spread propaganda like wildfire. Fortunately, St. Lucians are not stupid and they understand what the PM is trying to achieve.

  7. Attrition is a very loaded word. That means the new graduates will have less of an opportunity to get work .....we all know what that leads to... we hear and see the results daily. You can dress this all you want, the final results to this is a reduction in the work force. The results of campaign promises we knew that was not feasible unless drastic measures are taken. We need to stop making both parties think we are gullible. The poor guy suffers, as usual.

    • Attrition means "not much of a cushion to bounce on", "not much money even to put away for harder days", it means "hardly able to afford", as in "near broke". Now tell me it's not a very familiar term and I will not spell it out for you.

      • It also means getting rid of or not replacing. Weaking , wearing down. These are all negative connotations as pertaining to said article. IMF confirms that we need to put more resources into manufacturing and agriculture.... not putting all our eggs in one basket. Everyone is saying we need to grow jobs. No one is saying what kind of jobs we need to grow. The government job loses through attrition will not be replaced by comparable ones. Majority will be in the service industries which are usually low paying jobs to the majority who works in this sector

    • The plan is to grow the economy so that existing businesses grow and expand and new businesses are established. These businesses in the private sector will hire the new graduates. Why should new graduates be looking to the government to hire them?? The new graduates should be the entrepreneurs with new ideas for new businesses

  8. Now, I'm hearing something that make sense. At least this PM understands that increasing taxes in a failing economy is the biggest economic faux-par a government can make. Our former PM and CO just did not get it.

    • Even, "faux pas".

    • Very true. The opposition is boasting about how increasing taxes was able to reduce the debt. This us true but it was not sustainable. Increasing taxes caused small businesses to close and gave the consumers less spending power. Am economy can grow only when consumers are spending. When consumers have more money in their pockets to spend, demand increases and businesses grow and expand and will hire more persons. New businesses open and unemployment decreases

  9. So if you don't replace the civil servants retiring or dying.....where's the opportunity for the once leaving school ?What they suppose to do me PM

    • Open their own businesses. Smh. Encourage employment imbthebprivate sector. Smh. It's that obvious but we busy trying to be difficult. Come on now. I am not a UWP support but I am tired of this game.

    • That should be "ones leaving school". ( Gives me the feeling that others should go back there!!).--

  10. St Lucian at heart

    But what are the other wayß you will continue to milk the cow
    I àm sure that more taxes and higher rates. I can barely eat with a grade fifteen salary.

    • Then grow what you eat. With a grade 15 salary you can purchase land and hire to men to farm for you stupidness you cannot eat. I am sure you have a mortgage on land or loan on car. Eat them too. I am fed up with our negativity on the opposition side

    • You living beyond your means. Grade 15 is a very good salary. Thank God you have a salary.

    • If someone can "barely eat" with a grade fifteen salary here, it's not the government's fault. Excessive debts that you incur are a product of your doing - whether it be through reckless spending, negligence or any other self-inflicted reason. Be thankful that you have a job;many St. Lucians would give anything right now to be earning a grade 15 salary. We have single mothers working at grocery stores earning $300 per fortnight and yet they strive to meet their obligations, and you're crying foul because you lack the sense of responsibility to manage a monthly $5000 salary. Utter garbage!!


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