Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle announced yesterday that the government is preparing to make more than 1,000 individuals, who are enrolled in the 52-week jobs program, permanent.
In all, 1,102 people “will all be members of the permanent establishment this year,” said Rolle during the 2021/2022 budget debate.
“Seven hundred temporary staff at the Ministry of Education … they are security officers, teachers aides, nurses aides, all those persons who were just brought on, generally brought on, like some people say, in a political season. They are now, Mr. Speaker, they are now permanent in the establishment.
“This demonstrates, Mr. Speaker, that this Free National Movement government has a heart, a heart for workers. We have chosen to remain faithful and even those persons who are faithful to the party opposite, Mr. Speaker, they can now look forward to a public service career, a pension. They can go to the banks. They can own a home. They can start a business.
“They can buy a car because this Free National Movement government is determined that we are going to put them on permanent staff because they are doing their job.”
He said the government has also regularized more than 600 government workers.
Rolle described them as individuals who were “working faithfully for years on temporary month-to-month- contracts”.
But now, according to the minister, they are “on the permanent establishment of the government”.
Rolle also revealed that 1,600 individuals have been promoted.
“So we hired hundreds of individuals and we’re promoting them in the system,” he said.
“So 1,600 persons have been promoted, Mr. Speaker … and this does not include 471 pending matters for the Department of Immigration.”
Rolle said there are also 278 pending promotions at the Department of Customs and the “largest promotion ever” at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
He said 300 promotions are pending at the Ministry of Public Works.
Rolle noted that last year the prime minister announced that, as a result of the pandemic, the government will suspend increments, reclassifications and salary advances.
“But we made the commitment, Mr. Speaker, to public officers that in June and July of this year, this new budget year, we’re going to pay them and we’re going to make their pay retroactive to the date that they were supposed to be promoted, Mr. Speaker,” he said.
“We could’ve taken the easy way out, Mr. Speaker. We could’ve taken the easy way out and say, ‘Well, we just can’t do this this year. Don’t worry about it. The Ministry of Public Service, y’all working this thing out so that promotions don’t come into force until July and then we don’t have to pay.’ But we care about the Bahamian people.”
Rolle said public officers will not lose “a lick”.
He said the government has advanced $5 million to cover the cost.