West: Funds available, Government working to deliver back pay by Christmas

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Administration Minister Allyson West – Sureash Cholai

PUBLIC Administration Minister Allyson West gave the assurance that the necessary funds were available and everything would be done to ensure that public servants received back pay when Finance Minister Colm Imbert promised they would.

In his budget presentations in the House of Representatives and the Senate on October 2 and 20 respectively, Imbert promised that public servants who had agreed to accept the Government’s four per cent salary-increase offer would get their back pay by Christmas.

At a post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, on Thursday, the Prime Minister said an unnamed public servant indicated the announced deadline might not be met.

Dr Rowley said the situation would not be tolerated by Cabinet.

“There is a Government in this country, and the Government will do what has to be done.”

On Friday, West said, “This is an issue into which the the Ministry of Public Administration and the Ministry of Finance are looking to determine what we can do to ensure that we meet, to the extent feasible, the timeline that the Minister of Finance would put forward.

She made it clear that “this is not a financial issue.”

Imbert, West continued, indicated “that he has or will make arrangements to make the funds available.”

She said this meant the matter “is purely an administrative matter.”

Both ministries are liasing with various government departments and agencies.

West added, “They all have to be involved in this to find out what challenges that they have and what resources they need to allow them to meet the timelines that will have to be met to ensure that the payments are made within the time identified by the Minister (Imbert).”

She said she was advised on Thursday that “one significant ministry has indicated that they definitely had a challenge.”

Efforts are being made to address this issue.

West was hopeful that by next week, “we will be in a better position to determine where the challenges lie and who needs what resources to help us to make the timeline (for payment by Christmas).”