Friday 15 November, 2019

Imbert slams article: All CEPEP workers to get wage increase

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has slammed what he has described as a “ridiculous” front page story mired in “fraudulent” analysis in today’s Sunday Guardian.

In the article, senior lecturer Dr. Bishu Ragoonath claimed that the announcement of an increase in CEPEP workers’ salaries in the budget was an “election ploy” and a “trick”.

Dr. Ragoonath went on to say that because of what he perceives to be a reduced allocation for CEPEP in 2019, either the number of hours that CEPEP workers work will be reduced or their numbers will be reduced, resulting in less pay.

However, the Finance Minister says this not the case.

He is assuring all CEPEP workers that they will get their increased salaries in December 2019, if not before, and their numbers and working hours will not be reduced.

“Simply put, Dr. Ragoonath is wrong, and it is inexcusable and irresponsible for a Senior Lecturer at UWI, who is also ironically the Chairman of the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour, to make these baseless and scandalous statements, without any facts.

While it is a challenge for some persons to understand the process of annual budgetary allocations, this kind of reckless commentary is not expected from the Head of the Department of Political Science at the UWI.”

Imbert added that a glance at the estimates over the years will reveal that the budgetary allocations for all projects and programmes are routinely revised during the year and supplemented, as and where required.

He said at the end of any fiscal year, the record will show that the final expenditure in any programme is always revised upwards or downwards, based on circumstances and need.

“Any analyst worth his salt would also be familiar with the routine processes of virement and transfers and supplementary appropriations.

Any analyst worth his salt will also know that in any programme of the Government there are extraordinary or one-off items of expenditure, such as capital projects, procurement of goods and services and settlement of legal matters, in any given year, that do not carry forward into the next year,” he said.

The Minister added that under the current administration, CEPEP’s annual expenditure is now $200 million less than it was in 2015.

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