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Estiamtes 2024

By Observer

Last year we presented two pieces on what we saw in the Estimates of 2023. Most of you are aware of what those things are that we raised last year. In this piece, we’ll ask a couple of questions on a few things that we observed in this year’s Estimates

How come the Ministry of Education has as one of its key actions for this year to “Re-employ 124 teachers deemed to have abandoned their jobs, by December 2024”? This is interesting. Why not reinstate them with all their full benefits like the NDP has promised to do? And why before December 2024, and not now? Are political elections being factored into the timing?

How come the salary allocation for staff nurse positions have been reduced for certain rural institutions while all the others have increased? Why Chateaubelair Smart Hospital, Union Island, and Levi Latham? Chateaubelair, for example, went from EC$180,288 to EC$173,208 for four staff nurses, combined. How come?

How do we speak about increasing minimum wage, but at the same seemingly decreasing the salary for some positions? Most people upon hearing “increasing minimum wage” probably are of the opinion that salaries in general are on an upward trajectory. What would cause a cook at the Georgetown hospital to go from making EC$20,580 per year to EC$16,248? That’s a decrease from EC$1,715 per month to EC$1,354, or roughly from EC$57 per day to EC$45 per day. If we are to take the numbers for what they are, that’s what it means.

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How does a “Senior Ambulance Driver” go from making EC$30,384 to EC$24,084?

Last year we wrote about the salary increase for the supervisor of elections. We recognised that some people challenged our interpretation of what the 2023 estimates presented. At the time, we stated that the numbers reflected a 30% salary increase. This year, the SOE will receive another 3.6% increase. The deputy will receive a 6.8% increase.

While we’re at it, how come the current commissioner of police is not receiving the same salary allocation as the previous holder of the position? Is it because he is acting? Even the deputy commissioner has a higher allocation this year, than the COP. This year, the COP will receive 13% less than the previous commissioner. It will go from EC$115,320 to EC$99,936. The deputy receives a 2% increase over last year’s salary, from EC$105,228 to EC$107,316. All the allowances for the police service remain the same for this year, though there is an EC$20,000 “acting allowance”, which is probably shared among all those who are acting. It’s the same amount as last year.

You are also probably already aware that there is an EC$75,000 allocated for refurbishing the Prime Minister’s residence, and another EC$150,000 for the office. The Ministry of Public Service, Consumer Affairs and Sports gets the same EC$75,000 for “Sports against crime”.

Why is there a EC$10 (10 dollars) allocation each, to go towards “reconstruction” of the Barrouallie Police Station and the Diamond Police station?

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