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When misses big and lickle go shopping

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Ah been around long enough to have seen ah few salary increases foh Public Servants over de years. Back in de colonial days when de Administrator (de white man) ran things, when ever cost ah living got out ah hand, like way we experiencing today, de Civil Servants as dey were called back den, would approach de Admin foh ah raise ah pay. He would den get home office (England) to send out an expert in public service matters to do de revision exercise; de names Gardener Browne, Gross Smith and Pussinelli come to mind.{{more}} Salaries Revision took into consideration factors like de increase in cost ah living since de previous revision, de nature and responsibility of de wuker, de demand foh his/her service etc. This flat rate across de board was unheard of. It was customary foh de minor salaried wukers to be among those dat got de higher percentage, ah 30 % or 40% increase was normal, but on ah salary of $120. 00 ah month dat was only $36. 00 or $48.00. On de other hand top level officers got ah lower percentage raise, say 10 %; on ah $1200. 00 ah month pay dat was $120. 00 increase. De technical people doctors, engineers, nurses, science and math teachers, police and some others got good increases even though their salary might ah been considered good.

But we got rid ah de British and our local Polly-to-shun tek over and dey saw no “method in de white man madness, dey figure dat since every body feeling de same pressure, dat everybody will get de same percentage increase. But hold on, dat’s not equal increase yuh know. Five per cent across de board is not ah fair allocation. Ah simple example is Bro Lickle wid ah wife and two children, who making $ 1,200 ah month, ah 5% raise means $60 more foh his wife to go shopping; while Bro Big wid de same wife and two kids (not really de same, same wife eh) who gets $3,000 ah month will get $150 more foh his wife to go shopping. Surely if dis increase is to come-bat high cost ah living, not cast ah high living, den ah better distribution ah de cake would be foh Bro Lickle to get 10%, that would amount to $120 more and Bro Big de 5% ah $150.00 increase. So dat when de Misses go shopping dey will both have de same extra cash to spend.

But dis Christmas, wukers will be on ah all time high wid $250 bonus, ah 5% back pay foh de year 2007; another 5% to come in January. No Guv-ah-mint wuker is excluded, dey’s bonus and increases foh daily paid and pensioners plus more, dis is ah package wid good intentions from de Guv-ah-mint. Lie-Za calls it de Wages Revolution following de heels ah de Revenue Revolution, VAT!

GET READY TO VOTE EAST KINGSTOWN

But yuh see dis Wages Revolution, as excited as some people are, ah feel dat after ah few short months, by March next year, we will be back to square one. Dem wukers in de lower salary income bracket will soon find dat de big increase that amounted to millions ah dollars in December, de 10% dey now getting ain’t saying much in dey pocket, at least not enough to cover de groceries, de Vinlec bill dat is out ah control, not to mention de small increase in water. And don’t forget any increase in public servants salary is automatically or rightfully accompanied by increases in private sector wukers, and bet yuh last dollar, prices in de shelves will go up. Sounds negative but it’s true.

Wukers hope therefore rests on VAT. Ah have to repeat dat de Opposition is on target when dey say dat de number ah zero rated items on de VAT list needs to be increased significantly. So we will wait foh de budget to see de addition of more zero rated items. Ah hearing too much ah negative comments on dat Reclassification Exercise, it sounds like bad news foh ah large number ah lower salaried wukers whose salaries will be literally frozen, again. If dat is de case den de PM will be well advised to reject dat Report.

One thing dat bothers me is dat successive Guv-ah-mints continue to show disregard or is it disrespect foh pensioners, retired public servants. All dem ole warriors, de Charles Hercules, de Egbert Samuels, Frankie Thomas’, Saville Cummings, Dillinger Douglas, Jus Edward to name ah few, D’s good and faithful stalwarts of dey day, some ah dem retired over 35 years, at one time were senior public servants but compare dey pension wid de counterparts of today, it could hardly pay dey utilitiy bills. One great scholar wrote : “Ah will judge ah country by de way it treats its ole people”.

Salary increases sometimes set de scene foh an election weapon, dis package is no ordinary pay increase, it is colourful, Red as in Red-E foh elections, but we just had general elections, so expect ah Buy Election early next year, Say-yes foh sure, and Walters maybe, if he chooses to mis-speak and disclose any more of his “sudden acts of childish behave-yah”. Ah buy-election is on de cards and more goodies to come, so Central Kingstown prepare foh de big boom or is it de big boom-ah-wrong!

Is ah long time ah ain’t predict Tri Tri foh Care-not John; tell him to go market next Monday, mek sure he celebrate Guy Fox eating Tri Tri cake. And wid dat ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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