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Govt could not afford to keep campaign promise to increase police salaries

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan Monday said government could not keep its election promise to pay members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) higher salaries because the coffers could not afford it.

“It is not a campaign promise wasn’t kept! Yes, on the surface it wasn’t kept but it was not because of bad-mind or whatever sake we didn’t keep it. The fact is we just didn’t have the resources to do,” he said.

Speaking with reporters at his Main and Urquhart Streets office in May 11, 2015, he said that on assuming office government had to find GYD$12 billion to prevent the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) from collapsing, more than GYD$3 billion to pay rice farmers after Venezuela did not pay for rice and paddy supplied and also the financing of a foreign policy campaign to counter Venezuela’s aggression over the Essequibo Region.

In the run-up to the May 11, 2015 general elections, the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition had promised to GPF members more, in particular those in the hinterland to reduce the temptation to take bribes.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.

Despite government’s failure to pay GPF members higher salaries, he noted that government was able to “scrape together” a GYD$50,000 year-end bonus that was “more or less well-received.” A number of soldiers and police have expressed concern that they were not paid a tax-free one month salary that was introduced by the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration.

Jordan could not say how soon members of the police force would be paid increased salaries, saying that much depended on increased tax collections. “We are going to be making good on our promises to pay people more when we are able to gather our revenues in the sufficiency that is required to not only pay more but make sure it is sustainable,” he said.

The Finance Minister said being able to pay more without fueling inflation or increasing taxation was key.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Minister Jordan,
    I have to admit, the coalition lost me when it gave itself big fat raises in the name of preventing ministers from stealing. And that fat raise was not even a campaign promise, like the promise made to pay public servants (including police officers) 20% pay hikes. It was one of the reasons public servants voted in large numbers for the coalition.
    I even recall overzealous coalition bloggers attacking me for being openly critical of the fat pay raises for ministers and MPS, even arguing that come 2016, public servants will get their massive pay hikes. Well? Clearly the balloon of expectation has popped, and public servants, but especially police officers, can now resume their corrupt ways to raise monies to pay bills.
    I cannot support a Jagdeo-led PPP as an alternative, because Jagdeo is the central reason why Guyana is in this quagmire of pervasive corruption, but the coalition is not helping its own cause with these ongoing calamitous steps that paint a picture of a confused leader with a confusing vision. As for the AFC, it appeared to have been subsumed.
    Local Government Elections are set for March and disciplined services will be voting March 8. Selah!
    Is it remotely possible that the only way to run the government is on the oils and grease of corruption, hence the coalition needs the Master of Corruption to form a unity government? Something is radically wrong with Guyana’s governance system!
    We will be celebrating 50 years of political independence from Britain, yet if there ever was a time we need the British, it is now! What exactly are we celebrating this year?