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It’s better to freeze salaries than send home workers

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Fri Nov 28, 2014

Editor: Austerity measures are attempts to significantly curtail government’s spending in an effort to control public sector debt. I am not an economist nor an accountant nor any brilliant mind when it comes to finances. However, I would like to add my two cents to this debate, having heard many comments, including that of the IMF.{{more}}

It is felt that the salary bill is too high and should be cut as an austerity measure. In doing so, it would mean that many persons would be sent home. This will increase the unemployment rate. Of course we know that those politicians and civil servants whose concern is balancing the books would take on board this recommendation.

Sending home workers and civil servants as a cost cutting means would have a negative effect on the economy. For there would be less amount of money circulating, which would mean that more businesses would close. There would be more poverty and hunger, which eventually would give rise to more crimes, such as robbery, theft and even homicide, just to name a few.

This measure can give rise to more suicide, since there would be an increase in frustration, depression and even mental illness, due to the lack of finances that are available to pay bills and put food on the table while taking care of the children’s education. Even prostitution will increase as a means of survival.

This measure can cause a brain drain where many educated, qualified persons and professionals would seek to migrate in order to survive. It would mean that there would eventually be a cut back on many essential services, such as health care and education.

Of course, those who argue for this measure would claim that after the books have been balanced, which would take at least five years, then they can take loans to increase jobs and essential services. However, for those five years or so, many negative things would have already taken place.

The question is, “Can we afford as a people to have this austerity measure?” I would rather that we put a freeze on salaries in terms of an increase or even a salary cut than send home workers. Also, the devaluing of the EC dollar across the OECS states is another option. As harsh as this may seem, it would increase the trade amongst other islands and thus the business sector would grow. More can be said, but that is for another time.

Let us think carefully as to the way forward in these hard economic times.

Let us, as a people, be mature in our thinking and not party political thinking, but rather what is good for us all. Thank you.

Kennard King

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