Those were the words of Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) to government employees as it relates to their unpaid increments.
Premier Fahie said the government has to decide if it will pay its employees their increments as promised in light of the difficulties posed by the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic affecting the globe.
Increments for 2016 were first promised by the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government in November 2019, and while the majority have been paid, at least 250 or ten percent of employees who had not been paid were promised they would receive payments by February 28, 2020.
Six months later and affected by COVID-19, Premier Fahie said: “That is the question that I am asking public officers because that’s where we are right now.”
He continued: “So if persons want to bombard the minister for finance and say ‘we want our increments’ I can give you the increments tomorrow, but rest assured that once everybody gets their increments, I have to decide now, based on what’s coming in, and what we just did with the increments, what we are going to do and who’s gone in terms of employment and that’s the reality of it.”
Notably, 2,892 or 90 per cent of public officers have been paid their 2016 increments that had been due since the National Democratic Party (NDP) regime was in office.