Minister of National Insurance and Public Service Brensil Rolle said it was the government’s intention to pay all 22,000 public service employees, including those who are not permanent or pensionable, a lump sum payment of $1,400 this pay period (today).
The minister told The Nassau Guardian that while that did not happen, the government is in the process of determining exactly who was not paid in an effort to pay them.
However, he called back a short time later after he received an update from the Ministry of Finance as to who Cabinet agreed would be paid, and it is not all government workers.
He said the lump sum payments will be paid to members of the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU); teachers; permanent employees, who are paid weekly; members of the uniformed branches (police, customs, defense force, immigration, etc); Public Hospital Authority (PHA) staff, including doctors and nurses (does not include consultant doctors).
He also indicated who will not be paid: other government authorities and corporations; members of the Judicial Branch; contract workers hired outside the Public Service Commission; 52-week programme employees, air traffic controllers; ministers and members of Parliament.
Rolle added that the exercise cost $30 million.
Additionally, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows told The Nassau Guardian that the government has instructed that all junior doctors be paid the entire lump sum, which he said should happen over the coming days.
Burrows and Rolle addressed the matter after Burrows indicated in a December 19 letter addressed to Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) President Dr. Melisande Bassett, that the lump sum payment extended only to junior doctors on the payroll identified as permanent and pensionable.
The letter further indicated that, “due to the tight timeframes involved in completing this transaction, the PHA is unable to conduct a full assessment of each junior doctor to determine whether there is a need for prorating any of the gross amount awarded.
“As a result, it is the PHA’s intention to make full payments of $1,400 to each eligible staff, then conduct a review in early January 2020 with a view to [recoup] any overpayments in a one-time claw-back.”
Burrows also confirmed today that there is to be no “claw-back” for any doctor in this instance.
*This story has been updated to reflect which public servants will receive lump sum payments.