Golding to donate significant portion of salary increase to needy causes
KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 19, CMC – Opposition Leader, Mark Golding Friday said he will provide 80 per cent of the salary increase announced for legislators and public servants to needy causes adding “I did not come into politics to enrich myself but to serve the people of Jamaica”.
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke told Parliament that annual adjustments have been made across the entire administrative leadership level of the public sector in order to attract and retain high-calibre leadership.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, speaking at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of former prime minister, Hugh Lawson Shearer, said the salary adjustments will allow for greater interest in the political field.
“Everyone who is occupying a political office ought to be thinking very carefully that I need to increase my political performance, because there are many young people out there now who have started to look at entering the political field with higher educational qualifications, higher skill level, and higher competencies,” he said.
As a result of the new salaries, Holness will receive J$28.6 million annually as of April 1, next year, while Golding will be paid $25.7 million.
Golding told reporters that he would be retaining 20 per cent of the salary increase, while giving the remainder to needy causes.
“As leader of the Opposition, I must lead by example at a time like this. I will therefore redirect the bulk of the 240 plus per cent increase in my pay and retain 20 per cent of that increase and contribute the rest to persons in need and other worthy causes.
“I intend to do this until the outstanding grouses affecting the public sector workers arising out of the restructuring have been satisfactorily addressed,” he added.
Golding, an attorney and investment banker, said he was also mindful that the Opposition Leader was the only parliamentarian on the Opposition benches whose salary package is in the senior executive leadership category.
He said the other 13 opposition legislators, whose salaries will move to J$14.2 million next April, are having discussions among themselves to determine how best to deal with their respective situation.
But he reiterated an earlier call by the opposition party for the increases to politicians to be suspended, until outstanding grievances affecting public sector workers are satisfactorily addressed.
Golding said that the principle of equity was not adhered to in the new public sector pay arrangements and that many public sector workers were left out in the cold.
“In this context, the massive award to the political class further offends that principle of equity,” Golding said, adding that the level of the increases will put the salaries of Jamaican politicians way above their counterparts in the region who are experiencing better and more sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
“That is a situation that is difficult to justify given that we have one of the lowest rates of GDP per capita among our regional peers and Jamaica has not managed to rise out of its chronic low economic growth pattern.
“This salary mechanism will need to be revisited under the next PNP government,” he said, dismissing Prime Minister Holness’s assertion that the increases would serve to attract the best people into politics.
“Nowhere in the world is monetary compensation the inducement to enter into politics and to give honest service to one’s nation. What our country needs at this time is to attract, motivate and to retain persons within our teaching profession, our nursing profession, our law enforcement professions and so on,” Holness told reporters.
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