Westford rubbishes claims that Budget 2020 has “nothing” for public servants

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Government Member of Parliament Jennifer Westford

Public servants are Guyanese, and like everyone else, they will benefit equally from the many reliefs in Budget 2020.

This is the view expressed by Government Member of Parliament, Jennifer Westford during her contribution to the budget debates which are currently ongoing in the National Assembly.

Westford, who served as Minister of Public Service under the previous PPP/C administration was at the time responding to claims by some Opposition Members that Budget 2020 is “private sector friendly” did not cater for ordinary workers such as those employed in the public service.

“It makes me wonder Sir, are the public servants a new class of aliens that have arrived in this country?” she asked.

Westford pointed to the presentation by the current Public Service Minister, Sonia Parag, whom she said detailed several measures in the budget that are aimed at providing a higher quality of life for all citizens, including those who are employed as public servants.

“The Public servants are Guyanese like every other single Guyanese who will benefit from this Budget,” Westford asserted, adding: “they are members of our community, they are not a separate kettle of fish.”

“They will benefit from the tax reliefs, they will benefit from training, from scholarships like every other Guyanese,” she argued.

During her maiden speech in support of the $329.5B budget, Minister Parag had said an increase in salary for public servants is not included in a budget since a process of collective bargaining must first be conducted before such increases are announced.

She highlighted that it is an obligation of every Government to take care of its public servants, and the PPP/C will ensure that this obligation is honoured.

“Let us get our facts straight before we come and criticise something that the majority of the Guyanese see as beneficial to them for the next five years,” Minister Parag told Opposition Members.

The Minister had revealed that the Public Service Ministry has a total allocation of $1.8 billion. Of this amount, slightly over $1 billion has been allocated to training and scholarships.