Holness bows to public pressure

May 25, 2023

Despite bowing to public pressure over the massive salary hike his cabinet approved for politicians, Prime Minister Andrew Holness remains unflinching in his views that higher salaries will attract better quality of persons to the public service.

Holness and fellow cabinet members have given approval for massive increase in the salaries of members of the political directorate under a new compensation structure being implemented for the public service.

Approval was given for the prime minister's salary to increase from $9.16 million to $22.3 million, effective April 1, 2022; $25.2 million, effective April 1, 2023; and $28.5 million, effective April 1, 2024. However, amid the backlash, Holness said he will forego the pay hike.

He said that his compensation will remain at $9.16 million per year, and that no new or special allowance will apply. He also said that he will not be taking any retroactive payments.

"I remain firm in my belief that adjustments are necessary to attract, retain and motivate the personnel with the calibre and skills required to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government. However, considerations of the public sentiment towards politicians and concerns over equity cannot be overlooked," Holness said.

In the meantime, Holness has suggested that he will not be seeking an increase for the duration of his current term in office.

The Office of the Prime Minister, in a media release yesterday, noted the question has been asked about how long the compensation of the prime minister would be removed from the new salary scale.

"This has broader implications for not only the current holder of the Office of Prime Minister, but previous holders of the office, and possibly future holders. A prime minister with a new mandate could always review the position," he said.

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