Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he plans to meet with the country’s union representatives in the New Year to discuss and share with them the framework which his government is looking to utilize and solicit from them their ideas regarding the reclassification of public officers.
The prime minister was speaking to State-Owned Radio DBS following the first cabinet meeting of the new DLP government on Thursday.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had said while addressing a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) rally in Delices before the election, that the reclassification of jobs would be a better route to take than salary increases for public officers.
“I am the first person in Dominica who will admit that salaries should be higher in Dominica. I accept that; I agree with that. There is no argument about this but what would a two per cent increase in your salary of two thousand dollars mean to you?” he asked.
He proposed instead, a reclassification exercise that would enable public officers to elevate themselves to a higher position and, as a result, get a higher salary.
“I am hoping to convene a meeting very early in the New Year with all the union representatives, so we can have a discussion from the onset and so I can share with them the framework which we are looking to utilize and solicit from them any ideas or suggestions which they have in so far as the reclassification is concerned,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
The idea, he said, is to have participation from the beginning to the end of the process.
Skerrit said this is also the thinking of the government as a whole and many other people, that “this is the way to go if we are to address, in a structured systematic manner, the issue of terms and conditions of employment within the public service.”
He said his government will use external expertise to assist with the professional technical work that is required.
“But it is my intention to bring in our local task force that will be made up of both public sector people, the unions and also non-governmental organizations and individuals who will serve as an oversight committee to ensure that there is transparency in the process,” the prime minister stated.
Meanwhile, Skerrit said the first meeting with the new cabinet of ministers went “very well.”
“Well, we had a first full cabinet today. I believe that it went very well,” he said. “There is a great focus on determination on the part of all the members of cabinet who discussed broadly and specifically some of the things we have to focus on in the next weeks and months in respect to projects and programmes,” he stated.
Prime Minister Skerrit mentioned also, that his government is looking at the whole restructuring of the various ministries.
“There are some things that we have to do differently and there are some things that we have to do better…,” he said. “One of the areas we need to look at is the whole restructuring of the ministries to ensure that we can give greater attention to things like project implementation, project follow-up and project management, so that we can have greater efficiency, the implementation of the public sector investment programme and of course, improve on our coordination with our external partners where project financing is concerned.”
Skerrit went on to say that he hopes the cabinet of ministers understands what is expected them and they are prepared to put in the time, energy and effort in fulfilling those commitments.