Fri 5th Oct 2012

33% salary increase - is Gonsalves a hypocrite or greedy?

We need economic healing in our beloved country and not the blocking of the salary increase awarded to the PSU. It is grossly immoral and constitutionally outrageous that payment of the PSU 3% pay increase - which was due to the PSU in January 2011 - remains unpaid by Gonsalves. Gonsalves is grossly incompetent as the SVG Minister of Finance.

If there was a Property Tax on Mustique, the sale of property worth $100 million would bring $10 million to the SVG Treasury. This would pay the PSU its 3% salary increase costing around $5 million, and the $5 million surplus could be invested in helping children of the poor and the disadvantaged from being left behind in education.

We know that Gonsalves is not a university graduate in finance. Gonsalves shows he is utterly confused with the management of SVG's finances, and his confusion has caused much pain and suffering to the people of SVG. Gonsalves' incompetence as Minister of Finance is a dangerous liability for SVG.

In 2007, Gonsalves' gross incompetence killed the SVG National Commercial Bank with an overdraft of $170 million. The SVG House of Assembly had previously and wisely put a ceiling of $40 million on the overdraft limit. The NCB was the brain child of the late Prime Minister Hon Milton Cato. The death of the NCB shows arrogance in the abuse of power in our country.

While members of the PSU are still awaiting a 3% salary increase, Gonsalves has benefitted from a massive 33% salary increase. Is Gonsalves a hypocrite or being greedy in looking after himself? According to the SVG Budget Estimates, Gonsalves' salary has rocketed by $35,225 since 2001.

Vincentians know that the NDP was pushed out of office in 2001 by the ULP over the 'NDP GREEDY BILL'. Gonsalves was leader of the opposition when this happened. It is mindboggling that some years later Gonsalves received a 33% salary increase of $35,225. Meanwhile, poverty is so rampant that some persons can barely afford to give their children a good breakfast.

In a letter to the PM dated September 18, president of the PSU Cools Vanloo referred to a story carried in the Searchlight on September 14, in which Gonsalves is quoted as saying that it is unlikely that public servants will get the increase by the union's deadline of December 2012.

Why is it that there's not enough money for the PSU 3% salary increase, but there's been enough money for a 33% salary increase for Gonsalves? According to SVG Budget Estimates, Gonsalves' salary is $140,453, yet some teachers in SVG earn around $22,178. It's ironic that Gonsalves has had one of the best salary increases for a public servant in SVG, as he has been one of the worst public servants in SVG.

Years of negative economic growth and fiscal deficits under the grossly incompetent Gonsalves is the core problem for the people of SVG.

Going Green is the best and competent alternative and will result in fairer wages and taxes. A Green government will bring economic growth and a fiscal surplus. Going Green will bring prosperity to our beloved country.

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