Hope it makes a difference in the performance of the public service.
I do believe that the salaries of the public service were behind the market in the private sector as well as the Statutory bodies and therefore a review of the pay and grading of the public service was well needed. My understanding is that the last time a review of the salaries was done was in 2014.
Based on the results of this exercise, more than $18m will be allocated to accommodate the increase in salaries for the public servants with an increase ranging from a minimum of 10% to 57%. In addition to the civil servants, the members of the House of Assembly will also be getting a pay increase.
Due to where the salaries of the public sector were in the marketplace and also due to the continuous increase in the cost of living, I think the salaries increase was a great initiative. However, I do hope that the salaries will be an incentive for the employees in the public sector to perform harder and smarter and to avoid any temptation for corruption.
There are like twenty different types of allowances, and they don’t seem to be consistent, so I like the fact that some of the allowances such as duty allowances and island allowances are absorbed in the basic salary. I hope the statutory bodies follow suit.
I always felt that teachers should be some of the highest paid in the country. Everybody went through a teacher and teachers deserved a better salary. The salary increases range from 12.8% to 57.1%. I am not convinced though that the consultants surveyed the private schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I recently did a survey among some private schools, and it does not appear that the private schools were consulted.
While I am happy for the teachers and principals with their significant increase, I hope that it also retains them in the schools, and we continue to get good quality teachers. The downside to this is that the private schools may lose some of their teachers to the public sector. Another downside is that the private schools may have to increase the compensation of their teachers and to do so, they may be forced to increase the school fees.
With that said, and I like I always have said, the Government should not be building any additional public schools but rather partner with the private schools and provide some sort of funding so that they can become more affordable. After all, many locals are in private schools.
Crime is a big issue in our country and the police have received increases while other sectors did not increase. This salary increases for the police ranges from 12.2% to 18.8%. Hopefully this will attract top police officers and they will not be tempted for any corruption since they are getting a good salary and then in so doing, they will be able to fight and solve crime effectively.
The salaries in the health sector increase ranged from 20.8% to 50.5%. Health practitioners are in high demand globally, so this is a great initiative to retain and recruit staff. However, this report does not mention anything about Interhealth Canada that covers majority of our health practitioners. Will the increase be applicable to staff of Interhealth Canada?
Core Public service
The core public service comprises of the cleaner, driver, clerical assistant, administrative assistant, customs officer, senior immigration officer, assistant collector customs, finance manager, district commissioner, crown counsel, directors, senior crown counsel, directors -PWID, DETI, BTU, Principal crown counsel, deputy secretary, permanent secretary and deputy governor and attorney general.
The salary increases in this category ranges from 13.8% to 40.4%. However, do the grades in the Core Public Service match the grades in the other sectors.
Members of House of Assembly
There has been a significant increase in salaries for the members of the House of Assembly. Quite frankly, I always wondered why the salaries of some of CEOs of the statutory bodies were significantly higher than the members of the House of Assembly particularly the Premier.
Some may argue this was an exercise for the members of the House of Assembly to get an increase. While I am surprised that the members are getting an increase as I did not know they were part of the exercise, I don’t believe the purpose of the exercise for them to get an increase. I honestly believe they were looking out for public servants.
With that said, I hope we can attract quality candidates in the House of Assembly, people that are passionate about the country, people that will work and not just talk.
I applaud the Government for this salary increase initiative. When the news came out about the salary increase, I was having a conversation with someone and asked him if he thinks we will see more productivity. The person replied and said the salary is not a motivator for performance. I do hope though that he is wrong, and the civil servants will be grateful for the salary increase and it will be an incentive for them to perform well in their roles because a shakeup in performance is needed at least that is how it appears from the outside looking in.
The private sector does not give increases in salary like what just took place I the public sector. It will be very interesting to know what private sector companies were used as a benchmark to determine some of these salaries.