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An address to the nation delivered by Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony on Tuesday night has ended weeks of speculation and debate on how government’s plant to arrest the slide in the local economy.

In his statement Dr. Anthony highlighted the gravity of Saint Lucia's economic position and disclosed Government's proposal to the public sector unions.

The thirty two minutes address stressed that the unsustainable cost of operations, which is mainly due to a high fiscal deficit, must be addressed to avoid any further deterioration of economy.

Despite the significant cuts proposed in this year's budget, Government has the challenge of financing a gap of $205 million.  Dr. Anthony presented the options that have been put forward by the Ministry of Finance, to cut Government's largest area of expenditure, which currently stands at 53% of total current spending.

According to Dr Anthony, the harsh truth is that the growth in Wages and Salaries in the Public Service over the last ten years has not only been completely disconnected to the growth in the economy. He added that between 1997 and 2013, a span of sixteen years, public officers would have received an overall increase of 39.5% in salaries and wages.

He stressed that unfortunately, the only way in which government can get the reduction in current expenditure that is needed to address the fiscal situation, is to make cuts in public sector salaries and wages across the board.

The Prime Minister outlined three different scenarios that have been developed.

The Prime Minister has called on public officers and public sector unions to do what is in the best interest of the country.

Meanwhile, he also address suggestions about cuts in the salaries of government Ministers and the call for them to lead by example.
 
Feedback from the membership of public sector unions is expected to be tabled when Union leaders meet with the Prime Minister on Friday this week.
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