Saturday 5 December, 2020

TCI Premier pledges return of terminal benefits to civil servants

Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Sharlene Cartwright Robinson.

Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Sharlene Cartwright Robinson.

Turks and Caicos Islands Premier and Finance Minister Sharlene Cartwright Robinson has told the Civil Service Association (CSA) she remains committed to the return of terminal benefits for the public service. 

She made the commitment in a statement Friday.

She recalled on coming into office she met with the then CSA president and executive members. Following that meeting, she also spoke with the Deputy Governor who advised that the committee appointed in 2015 had been able to progress the work further due to other pressing commitments. 

"We agreed that a consultant can carry out the task and I offered to fund it. This offer was accepted and the consultant was retained."

Robinson said since receiving the report, Cabinet has discussed it and has asked for the options to be costed. 

"This matter has not yet been concluded before Cabinet. Until these costs are assessed, TCIG cannot and has not taken a decision."

She added the matter of the pandemic and the resultant economic crisis has been time-consuming and "has certainly been a priority but our commitment has not wavered."

"We are asking the President and the CSA family to rest assured that this remains a commitment but also to note as I publicly stated that the Budget for 2021 will be late and will come within a new administration."

She said it is premature or to state that TCIG cannot commit to this initiative and added this has been "mischaracterised' following a release from the CSA president. 

"I believe it is important to clarify by saying that the state of finances in this country and the uncertainty around the finances that exists has seen TCIG seek to borrow to stabilise its cash flow to meet existing commitments including high fixed costs like salaries and will honour commitments made. We remain committed to the public service and have over the years demonstrated this. 

She pointed out that since coming to office, civil services have seen the return of increments, the first-ever Hurricane Advance, the return of Christmas Advances, new resources in terms of manpower, new and renovated office spaces (through purchase, existing-owned and rented premises), and new vehicles. She added that TCIG has also committed the seed monies for a Credit Union for Civil Service. 

"Despite overtures to cut salaries, on rising to bring the budget this year, I assured the CSA that TCIG will not take a look at cutting salaries as a response to carry TCI’s finances through what has been a troubling year for the country but will do as economists advise. TCIG continues to see how it can continue to support the Civil Service while in active service and continue to look to restore benefits for civil service as they leave.

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