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More Pruning to the CARICOM Secretariat’s Budget

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The CARICOM Secretariat met again last week to look at cuts in its administrative budget before it takes the pruned document to the Council next week. The Secretariat had indicated that there is no basis in fact that it was going to cut staff but Capitol News has learnt that the percentage cuts being proposed in the Secretariat’s budget would result is some critical cost cutting. 

The Secretariat has been hobbling along without an approved budget for this year because some member states believe that the first one presented needed to be trimmed of its fat.

At the last Community Council Meeting when the budget was presented, the member states told the Secretariat officials that based on the percentages that states where required to contribute, they were not ready to approve the budget. The Secretariat officials have been revising the figures and will present the revised figures again to the Community Council in Grenada.

Some of the proposed cost-cutting measures are: that no individuals employed at the Secretariat close to or near the retirement age of 60 will be kept on staff other than for exceptional cases where institutional memory needs to be preserved; a cut back on travel using more video conferencing instead; trimmed recruitment and overheads including ground transportation, electricity and telecommunication charges. CARICOM may also give up the lease on an annex opposite the Secretariat.

Both the Prime Ministers of Jamaica Bruce Golding and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamla Persad Bissessar voiced their displeasure at the costs of running Caricom and the use of some Funds like the Petroleum fund granted by Trinidad and Tobago. So much so that Persad Bissessar indicated that TT is not the region’s ATM.

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