The PLP's layoffs at Berkeley are being justified with the over-used rhetoric of doing more with less, but are a direct consequence of the PLP spending 10 years doing less with more. Ironically the centrepiece of less with more is the new Berkeley school building itself.
The project was budgeted at about $70M, and was built for $128M. There was also a loss of the $5M or $6M construction bond from the BIU which the Government forgave in exchange for no more wildcat strikes (which of course never happened).
So, let's call the overspend to build the new Berkeley $60M with the building opening 3 years late in 2006.
If that $60M hadn't been blown, how many teachers or maintenance staff could it have paid for at every school on the island?
Or, looking at it differently, if that $60M had been set aside to earn say 3% interest compounding since 2003, it would today be worth $76M. That's bigger than most Ministries annual budgets.
The interest alone on the $60M overspend would easily have kept those 8 laid off staff employed and a whole lot more.
The PLP always got a free pass on the overspending because the UBP's robust economy paid for it, so they just blew off as no big deal - as did much of the electorate.
Well, it's a big deal now. Particularly to those whose livelihoods are being lost because of Paula Cox's inability to manage the public's finances.