Norton dubs 8% pay hike for public servants a political gimmick, accuses President Irfaan Ali of failing to keep his word

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President Irfaan Ali(left), Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton

While President Irfaan Ali has maintained that his administration has done a great deal to provide disposable income to public sector employees and Guyanese at large, Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton has accused the Head of State of failing “to keep his word” to increase the salaries of public servants by far more than 20%. 

Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton on Friday during a video statement reminded of President Irfaan Ali’s proclamation in the National Assembly years ago where he committed that his government will make available salary increases of more than 20% to public servants. 

He criticized the Head of State for failing to follow through with this commitment even with the power that has been bestowed on him. 

Norton claims that the Ali-led administration is anti-working class and that it is more focused on enriching its elites while the “small man” receives the crumbs. His comments come in wake of President Ali’s announcement of an all-embracing 8% salary increase starting next month. 

“National budgets are about priorities and the nation’s first oil budget has shown us clearly that people are not the Government’s priority. This year’s budget is 44% larger, yet, your salary increase is only 8%,” he said.  

President Ali while announcing the increase on Thursday said that Government has taken several steps to make disposable income available to all Guyanese. 

The measures he referenced include but are not limited to the restoration of the one-month tax-free year-end bonuses to the disciplined services totaling more than $1 billion per annum, an increase of about 40% in the monthly old-age pension from $20,500 to $28,000, and the restoration of the cash grants to the parents of school-aged children.

He informed that Government is mindful of the impact experienced by many Guyanese as a result of the cost of living and has also implemented measures to reduce that impact. 

The Government of Guyana is also exploring options for the adjustment to salaries paid to specific categories of public sector employees. These include, in the first instance, ranks of the Police Force, Prison Service, and Fire Service. A similar exercise is currently being conducted and recommendations are being made in relation to employees in the public healthcare system, including nurses, interns, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. President Ali is expected to update the nation on these adjustments next week.

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