Saint Lucia credit unions could soon buy government bonds, it has been announced.
“We’ve been meeting with the credit unions and we’ve come to – from my understanding with the Ministry of Finance, a verbal agreement in terms of them purchasing some of the government bonds and that certainly is going to be sufficient to solve the short term problem that we have,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told reporters Friday.
He explained that given the development, his administration will not be pursuing a deferment of salaries for public servants.
“We’re able to substitute it through the credit unions,” Chastanet, who is also Minister of Finance disclosed.
The government had proposed a part bonds payment to public servants, a proposal that has been rejected by their unions.
He told reporters that at no point was the government trying to force the measure.
The PM indicated to reporters that the measure was proposed as a result of the situation brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“We are seeing that other countries around the world are doing the same thing. I mean in the case of Barbados they have a Central Bank that has the ability to have purchased those bonds,”he noted.
“We weren’t in that position,” Chastanet stated.
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“I think that the government always respected the rights of the workers and the unions to try to find an amicable solution,” Chastanet asserted.
“I am sorry that we have not raised our standards in seeing the difference between what we are attempting to do and collective bargaining agreement – two very different things, so I am hoping that maybe in time that if needed, we can always sit down with the unions and include them in part of the economic development of this country,” he explained.
The Prime Minister said once the Ministry of Finance has confirmed that the arrangements with the credit unions have been formalised, which is close to being done, his administration will not be pursuing the issue of salary deferments with the workers.