Mark Golding, president of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), says he will donate 80 per cent (or around J$18.19 million) of his now-updated salary amid outrage directed at the political directorate following the public sector compensation review.
The Opposition Leader would effectively retain the remaining 20 per cent (J$4.54 million).
Golding, bemoaning how the Andrew Holness-led administration has failed the people, said he did not enter politics to “make money”.
At this morning’s (May 19) press conference, he maintained that pay increases for elected officials should be suspended until “outstanding grievances affecting public sector workers are satisfactorily addressed”.
“I did not come into politics to enrich myself but to serve the people of Jamaica. 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 contribute [it] to persons in need and other worthy causes,” said Golding.
“I intend to do this until the outstanding grouses affecting public sector workers arising out of the have been satisfactorily addressed. I am mindful that the Leader of the Opposition is the only parliamentarian on our side whose [compensation] package is in the senior executive leadership category and our other parliamentarians continue to have discussions among themselves as to how best to deal with their situation,” the Opposition Leader added.
He further slammed the Government for not adhering to the “principles of equity” as many civil servants “were left out in the cold”.
“In this context, the massive award to the political class further offends that principle of equity. It is a principle that the People’s National Party believes in and has consistently advocated for from the outset of the restructuring process,” mused the PNP president.
Golding mused that by virtue of now having the highest-paid elected leaders anywhere in the Caribbean, the salary increase for the political directorate is “hard to justify” as Jamaica has one of the lowest GDP per capita rates regionally.
According to the compensation scales, as announced by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke in the House of Representatives on May 16, Golding would be the second-highest paid parliamentarian alongside the deputy prime minister.
Golding’s salary, which jumps from J$8.03 million at the existing April 2021 threshold to J$22.74 million effective April 1, 2023, is expected to further rise to J$25.729 million as at April 1, 2024.