JAM | May 18, 2023

Salary increases for political directorate part of revised public-sector compensation – Morgan

/ Our Today

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Robert Morgan, minister with responsibility for information, addressing a post-Cabinet press briefing.

Minister without Portfolio with Responsibility for Information in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Morgan, says the salary increases for Parliamentarians and Cabinet Ministers form part of the revised public-sector-compensation structure.

The announcement of the salary increases was met with harsh criticism from the public and some members of the Opposition. The citizens were outraged that some Government officials would see a 200 per cent increase in their salary, while ordinary citizens are struggling to make ends meet.

Morgan was responding to a question during yesterday’s (May 17) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

“The increase comes as part of [the] public-sector-transformation process. The question that we have to also ask ourselves is… where should… Members of Parliament be… on the scale?” he questioned.

Jamaican parliamentarians in Gordon House. (Photo: JIS)

He noted that the structure that was outlined many decades ago indicated that Ministers of Cabinet should be $53 above permanent secretaries who, he pointed out, got a significant increase, which reached “a particular level”.

“We did not interfere with the structure that was operating for the last 20 years. So, it’s not a case where the Government got up and said, ‘okay, we’re going to just give the Ministers a massive increase,” Minister Morgan informed.

He said the increase is predicated on a formula that has been accepted and used for the last 20 years in government.

“So, if Permanent Secretaries are at X, are we saying then that, a minister should be paid below the level of the Permanent Secretary? Because that is the implication in many cases,” the Minister pointed out.

“Now the question that we need to ask ourselves is, if it is that you don’t believe that parliamentarians and cabinet ministers should be almost on par with permanent secretaries, where the permanent secretary is in charge of the execution of government policy, and the Minister is almost a little bit above, almost parallel, is in charge of determining policy, should the policymaker be paid below the person who is executing the policy.”

Minister without Portfolio with Responsibility for Information in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Morgan.

“So I do appreciate persons in the public raising significant questions, and those questions are appropriate. But I think where we need to move from is asking ourselves the question, ‘if not this, then where should you put them?’,” he maintained.

Other public sector workers also got major salary increases

Morgan said the salary scales for several other professions in the public sector have been significantly increased under the compensation review process.

The increases range from approximately 100 and 200 to 250 per cent. Among the beneficiary groups are medical doctors, teachers, social workers, legal officers, and office attendants.

Minister Morgan pointed out that the dynamics of engagements for Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers have changed, noting that the public has valid concerns about accountability, corruption, and the work of MPs.

“If they were doing 100 per cent before, they now have to do 150 per cent; it means that Ministers have to step up their game. If they weren’t stepping it up and [the] Prime Minister had a conversation with us, because I think he recognises, as well, the position that we have been placed [in is] not by our own actions but by the public-sector-transformation process,” he said.

Morgan added that MPs and Ministers now have a responsibility to demonstrate to the people of Jamaica “even more than we were doing before, that we are working for them”.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, yesterday announced salary increases totalling $1.7 billion for members of the political directorate under the revised public-sector-compensation structure.

The adjustments will cover the three-year period from 2022/23 to 2024/25, consistent with the timeline for the wider civil service under the new regime.


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