Dec 25, 2015 News
While most public servants are rejoicing, enjoying the Christmas season, thanks to the tax-free $50,000 bonus, members of the Joint Services are fuming at not receiving the extra month salary they had grown accustomed to under the arrangement with the previous government.
Since the beginning of the 2002 crime wave, ranks of the Joint Services, namely the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Fire Service, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service, have been gifted a tax-free one month salary bonus, and this year they expected no less.
But with a new administration in place that arrangement came to a screeching halt, leaving some ranks in a quandary. This is despite them receiving a small retroactive salary increase earlier this year and the recently paid out $50,000 bonus.
The first hint that something was amiss was at the Guyana Police Force breakfast, when some of the officers tried to ‘pick President David Granger’s mouth’ on the payout. But the President gave nothing away.
They waited anxiously for the Commander-in-Chief, President Granger, to make the announcement at the annual Christmas Luncheon for Officers of the Guyana Defence Force. But the President not only did not make the announcement, he did not show up, choosing to go to Bartica instead.
“Many ranks, maybe foolishly, had made plans for the one-month salary bonus, since they had grown accustomed to it over the years. So when they did not get it, it was obviously disappointing,” a senior police officer stated.
But many are questioning why the Joint Services should benefit more than the other Public Servants, including teachers and nurses. The answer from the ranks is that, “we have to make more sacrifices, like risking our lives and being far away from our families.”
The biggest losers though are the senior officers, with their “big salaries”.
But that is not lost on the junior ranks, who feel that poetic justice has been served.
“It’s time for the officers to holler now. I want them to see how we the junior ranks feel when we have to make do with the pittance we are paid,” a Lance Corporal of Police told this newspaper.
His sentiments were echoed by several other junior ranks who felt that President Granger did the right thing.
“They (officers) shouldn’t cry; the $50,000 share equal. They should just enjoy what we the small man does enjoy. Maybe then they will see how we survive on our salaries. But then again they does collect they own in ‘envelopes’,” another Constable stated.
Some ranks are of the opinion that President Granger, being a former military man, would have been able to relate to the plight of the members of the armed forces. But while he might have disappointed them this Christmas, he did promise betterment in the coming years.
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