Cuts a must
Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, former Prime Minister of
Barbados, says there is no escaping the job cuts in the
public sector, given the fiscal problems facing the Freundel
Stressing that Government must bring its current
expenditure in line with its revenues if it was to come
out of the economic doldrums, Sir Lloyd told Barbados
TODAY: “The biggest expenditure of any Government in
Barbados to date goes to wages and salaries.
“And if you have to bring how much you spend [in
line] to how much you earn, that is a critical statistic that
has to be taken into consideration, and that is what the
Government, through its Ministry of Finance, is seeking to
deal with,” he said.
On December 13 Minister of Finance Christopher
Sinckler announced that over 3,000 public sector
jobs would be lost this year as part of Government’s
Sir Lloyd said: “There is no running away from it. And
in addition to that, if you are stopped by a constitutional
amendment to reduce [expenditure] through pay cuts you
are saying people have to go home, if you have to deal with
such a situation. If you can’t cut the salary you have to cut
Sir Lloyd Sandiford, who lost a no confidence motion
in 1994 when he was Prime Minister, was faced with a
similar economic situation in the early 1990s. He took the
decision then to cut wages in the public sector by eight per
cent, for which he received lots of criticism.
When the Barbados Labour Party administration came
into office, it got approved in Parliament a constitutional
amendment prohibiting the altering of salaries and
allowances of public officers to their disadvantage.
Sir Lloyd said that action to amend the law was
“shortsighted and purely for political gain”.
Asked if he was in office today if he would have taken
the same decision as the current administration to send
home workers, Sir Lloyd said: “I am not venturing into
that. I was faced with a situation and I dealt with that
He added that the measures he implemented during his
time in office “turned out to be successful in restoring the
conditions in Barbados to growth and development”.
Sir Lloyd said he believed the current administration
was “seeking to address” its revenue and expenditure
problems while seeking to increase the foreign exchange
“I believe the Government is seeking to address those
issues and other related issues and I wish them all the
best in that regard,” he said.
He however said the signs were clear where the
Barbados economy was “drifting”, adding that incremental
corrective action should have been taken “to stop it from
He told Barbados TODAY he still spends some of
his days asking “how did we get ourself, as a country, into
this position?”, adding that there is now “no escape from
it and no one wanted it to happen”.
Sir Lloyd said while he has had no discussions with
the current administration on the current economic
conditions or outlined measures, he was always willing
to share his opinion, adding that it was critical for the
private sector and the trade unions to work closely with
Government in finding a solution.