NIA says politicians salary increase ‘remains improper’
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The National Integrity Action (NIA), in response to Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ address on Monday regarding “New equitable Rational Public Sector Compensation System,” is asserting that the timing of the implementation of salary increase for politicians “remains improper.”

The NIA’s position was made known in a press release on wednesday.

The statement added that, “[The NIA] believes that a responsive government helps citizens cope with uncertainty and builds trust… and we insist that the details of this system be disclosed to the public.”

The NIA stated that whilst the prime minister has decided not to accept his Prime Minister’s salary increase, the increase will still be applied to the other members of the cabinet and to existing members of Parliament.

READ: Holness giving up his salary increase

“This is still difficult to justify, given the absence of current job descriptions and accountability as well as an appraisal mechanism. We go further to say the recipients of the increased salaries, like their public service counterparts, should have been appraised before the increases were granted,” the NIA said.

“NIA reaffirms the call for timetables for completion and application -with public consultation where appropriate - of the Accountability Framework, in particular the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. Parliamentarians should be appraised upon the implementation of these mechanisms, so that the public can assess their performance. Accordingly, we propose that the 2024 increases for ministers will be suspended until the appraisals have been undertaken,” the statement continued.

The organisation added that they suggest that the prime minister be excluded from the proposed salary increases until the completion and institution of the Accountability Framework, including the performance indicators and the schematics for the institution of sanctions and penalties.

“Transparency demands that the Government should immediately disclose the criteria used by the consultants to evaluate and place cabinet ministers at the pinnacle of the public sector scale. We also wish to know the basis for rejecting the 2003 Clarke Committee recommendation to delink the salary of ministers from that of permanent secretaries,” the NIA said.

“NIA renewed its support for the recommendation of the Clarke Committee that an Independent Permanent Salaries Review Committee be appointed for periodic review of ministerial salaries along the lines of that applied to the review of compensation for judges,” it added.

However, the NIA also applauded the acknowledgement by the prime minister that – “at the end of the day I report to you” and urges all ministers and members of Parliament to remember that they too report to the people of Jamaica."

Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke on Wednesday told a post-Cabinet media briefing that the decision by Holness means the salary for the holder of the Office of the Prime Minister will not move from its roughly $9 million at present to almost $29 million by April 2024.

READ: Former prime ministers to miss out on big pension increases

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