Grenada Gov’t Clarifies Leaked Internal Circular On Allowances

PR – The Government of Grenada advises that the leaked internal  circular on the temporary suspension of some allowances, which was circulated to  Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments, does not apply to public officers who  are currently receiving such allowances. 

Providing clarity on the matter, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Right  Honourable Keith Mitchell, said the temporary suspension of payment of the  Responsibility Allowance, Duty Allowance and Honorarium, as indicated in the circular  dated September 16, pertains to future hires. The temporary suspension will also apply  to new requests by ministries for officers who are already in the system but are not  currently receiving such allowances. 

Dr. Mitchell confirmed that Government continues to meet its monthly payroll obligation,  despite the reduction in revenue brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He further  stated that Government’s September payroll reflects that the allowances in question, have  in fact been paid. 

He said, “Government’s wage bill averages $26 million monthly and through our prudent  fiscal management over the last few years, we have been able to honour this obligation  to public officers, in a timely manner, despite the sizeable drop in revenue caused by the  pandemic.” 

The circular was issued by the Department of Public Administration, against the backdrop  of the need for continued fiscal prudence in the current environment, and Dr. Mitchell  cited a whole of Government approach to manage discretionary spending and ensure that Government can live within its means as we navigate the global crisis.  

The Prime Minister said it is concerning that an internal Government circular has become  the subject of local and regional news. 

Dr. Mitchell addressed the issue when he spoke at the start of the Government’s annual  budget retreat on Wednesday. He said, “To hear on regional news that the Government  of Grenada has cut allowances to public servants is quite frightening. It is unfortunate that 

the internal circular sent to permanent secretaries has reached the public domain and  that the information was misconstrued. We have a fundamental responsibility to treat  internal circulars as what they are meant to be, internal. If there is any doubt or need for  clarity, questions should be asked, but to have it reach external sources and its content  twisted to cause a stir, this is quite disturbing.” 

Dr. Mitchell further explained that the terms of a contract cannot be arbitrarily changed by  one party, therefore public officers should rest assured that this is not the case. 

The Prime Minister further assured teachers and police officers that this has nothing to  do with them, but rather with the bureaucratic system of the public service, as it relates to future appointments. 

Elaborating further on the need for Government’s cost cutting measures, Dr. Mitchell said,  “We are living in different times, we have to control expenditure in several areas. If we  are earning less, we cannot continue with the same level of expenditure. It cannot be  business as usual. At the same time, we cannot renege on our responsibilities to the  persons with whom we have signed contracts.”