BES president tells public workers ‘don’t despair’
AS BARBADIANS TRY TO GRAPPLE with massive job cuts in the public sector starting in another three weeks, an economist has urged citizens not to envelop themselves in despair.
The advice has come from Jeremy Stephen, president of the Barbados Economic Society (BES), in response to confirmation yesterday from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that more than 3 000 public officers were to be severed as part of Government’s plan to cut state expenditure.
Stephen warned that it was not in affected workers’ interest to rely on the island’s already pressured welfare system to support them.
“I want to encourage Barbadians to don’t just sit there and depend on welfare. See if you can get a second job or hustle a side job . . . we will still have our obligations and the economy still has to perform somehow and bill collectors will still be there.
“As much as possible do not despair and keep on working and hopefully we can all band together and pull through this thing,” the BES president told the SATURDAY SUN.
The economist said in the coming year Barbadians in the public and private sectors would have to learn to manage their debt obligations with extreme care.
Stephen reiterated an earlier comment that the measures taken by Government were necessary but would serve to slow down economic activity in the country because of the uncertainty created by job losses.
He advised public officers who might be losing their jobs: “If you are renting, pay a couple months ahead so that you can give yourself some breathing room and try to find a new job and cut back on expenses including credit card debt and if you have car loan payments and you are still in the early days you can try to renegotiate with the bank because the banking sector will be concerned about redundancy.”
Explaining that Government’s action would definitely reduce aggregate demand for goods and services in the country, the BES president said: “It could indirectly affect employment in the private sector and so now the private sector has to be innovative in order to continue to perform.”