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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

Stuart administration.

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

restructuring plan.

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

the jobs.”

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

getting worse”.

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.

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