Tuesday, 23 May 2023 11:42

PNP calls for independent panel to review salaries of MPs, Cabinet ministers

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - The People's National Party (PNP) is reiterating that, given the disproportionate remuneration awarded to Jamaican politicians compared to their regional counterparts, along with the relative underperformance of the Jamaican economy and the lack of equity in the compensation awarded across the public sector, the announced salaries for ministers and members of parliament (MP) should immediately be withdrawn.

In a statement on Tuesday the PNP said “To look at the matter afresh and with objectivity, an independent panel should be appointed to review the salaries of ministers and members of parliament.”

This approach, the Opposition said, would ensure greater equity and a more proportionate and reasonable outcome, which the Jamaican people are demanding.

“We take note of the prime minister's recent attempt to address the controversy surrounding the inflated salary package for himself and his Cabinet ministers. His belated response appears quite insincere and contrived,” the statement read.

The PNP also pointed out several important questions remain unanswered, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness' salary level. ..."If the Office of Prime Minister has been unilaterally removed from the list of salary increases, will Holness now be compensated at the $23 million ministerial level, as Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation?" the PNP asked.

“Accountability measures for cabinet and MPs: The prime minister's proposed measures to hold his Cabinet and Members of Parliament accountable fall considerably short of the promises he made during the JLP’s 2016 election campaign for office. The proposed actions fail to include the early passage of the Impeachment Bill, performance evaluation, and term limits he had promised to implement within the first 100 days of his government coming to office,” the PNP said.

“The prime minister's authority: We question the prime minister's authority to direct the use of government funds to "remove the prime minister" from the salary roll. Were the salary increases announced by the Minister of Finance not a Cabinet decision? The prime minister’s action appears quite disingenuous, as the public has been told by the minister for information that the ministry of finance had already administratively implemented the new salary rates from May 15, 2023, even before Minister Nigel Clarke announced the increase on May 16, 2023,” the PNP continued.

The PNP added that it is emphasising once again that we were never consulted by the government regarding the new salary arrangements for parliamentarians.

“PNP MPs became aware of the changes last Tuesday when Minister Clarke announced them in Parliament. The lack of consultation with the Opposition is an egregious and arrogant omission by the JLP government,” the PNP stated.

“We continue to lobby for equity in the arrangements for all public sector groups, in particular our teachers, security forces, nurses, doctors, firefighters etc.”