The eight percent increase in public servant’s salaries will have no effect on ceasing the mass exodus of trained Guyanese state employees, the country’s main opposition party has warned. In fact, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) has argued that the “measly” increase will only serve as motivation for skilled Guyanese employees to seek greener pastures abroad.
Already, the state is saddled with a high migration rate of nurses and other healthcare service providers to the United Kingdom. It was Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, on February 10 of this year, who bemoaned the state of affairs during the 2022 budget debates.
The minister was keen to note that retention efforts were being stymied by Guyana’s inability to compete with salaries and benefits offered by other jurisdictions.
“To compete with the salaries that are being paid in the UK – that’s a very tall order,” the minister had informed the House. He added that opportunities abroad are even more alluring because nurses are allowed to take family members along on their deployment.
According to the Opposition, the government squandered a unique opportunity to anchor these professionals when it offered only an eight percent increase in their salaries. It added that this movement can have adverse effects on Guyanese citizens who are entitled to quality healthcare here.
“When midwives, nursing assistants, and nurses continue to leave the country for more respect and more pay in the UK and elsewhere, it is the people of Guyana who are harmed by the decline of our health services. When teachers pack up and fly out, our schools and school children pay the price. When our qualified university graduates migrate in droves, the people pay the price. The PPP does not get this—and never will. The PPP therefore by its treatment of public service workers is promoting the migration of Guyanese,” the party said in a statement earlier today.
The party noted that with Guyana’s upgrade to an oil-producing nation, there should be no “working poor” in the country. It added that the State now has the financial means to lift all Guyanese well over the poverty line.