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PM Assures CSA Today’s Meeting Will Take Place As Scheduled

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - The Office of the Prime Minister is surprised by the Press Release issued by the St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) yesterday accusing the Government of not taking the union seriously.

The Prime Minister was himself surprised by the release, because, as it duly acknowledged, his office had informed the union – in time -- that he was unable to attend the first meeting as scheduled on September 22, because on that date he would still be in France with his wife, who was undergoing surgery at the time, and would have been unable to return in time.

Regarding the meeting of Friday, October 14, the Prime Minister said he personally contacted the union’s General Secretary, Mr. David Demacque, and explained that he had to leave the island to attend the funeral of the mother of a close friend in Miami and would not have been back on time.

The Prime Minister said he was also amazed at the union’s press release because he had personally explained to the union’s General Secretary by telephone last Friday, that since the Cabinet of Ministers would be meeting on Monday, the meeting would be scheduled for Tuesday, October 18.

The Prime Minister said he was perplexed about the press release because, in it, the union itself acknowledged that the twice-postponed meeting had now been re-scheduled for today.

With regard to the claim that the Prime Minister or the government may not be giving the matter or the union the importance deserved, the Prime Minister said “the union’s leadership had arrived at an unfortunate conclusion, especially as the Government Negotiating Team was recently appointed by Cabinet to get the outstanding negotiations under way.”

In addition, the PM pointed out, “as promised, a committee has also been established to examine the parity of salaries of public officers between Grades One to Five and that of higher-paid public servants.”

The Prime Minister noted that “the history of the relationship between the CSA and this administration, since 1997, bears absolutely no resemblance to the experiences of Civil Servants and other Public Officers between 1964 and 1979 and between 1983 and 1996.”

Prime Minister Anthony said he was “quite aware of the anxiety of the leadership of the CSA to begin and end the next round of negotiations with the Government.”

But, he cautioned that “issuing outlandish and threatening statements on the eve of a scheduled meeting was potentially counterproductive to the creation and maintenance of an amicable environment for peaceful and positive negotiations.”

The Prime Minister assured the CSA, however, that today’s meeting will take place, as scheduled.

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