Prime Minister Honourable Dr Kenny D Anthony says the Government of Saint Lucia is committed to the welfare of public sector workers.
Speaking on on-going public sector wage negotiations, Dr Anthony says while he understands the position of workers, requests for wage increases at this time are to be tempered with caution based on the seriousness of the tough economic situation of Saint Lucia.
He explains that any increase in wages to public servants will have to be borrowed resulting in the widening of the budget deficit of about $255 million.
“Whatever wage agreement that the government comes up with the Unions, at the end of the day will cost this country and we will have to borrow the money because we simply do not have the revenue to cope with it. Today this economy can sustain so much, tomorrow if we go along with the demands and the economy collapses then the blame will be right at my feet and at my door, so I constantly have to ensure that I take decisions that are in the interest of the country. This is not about the Saint Lucia Labour Party, this is about Saint Lucia and protecting the public interest. ”
However the Prime Minister says government welcomes the on-going negotiations between public sector unions and is committed to an amicable resolution.
He says the ongoing dialogue is essential to democracy.
“These are very difficult circumstances and theses negotiations will be difficult but neither party must move away from the negotiating process; we have to stick to the negotiations and talk, exchange views and ideas until we come to a solution.”