KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition Senators are raising “strong objection” to the increase in the stipend paid to senators from $53,000 to $148,000 per meeting.
In a letter dated September 25, 2023, from Senator Peter Bunting, leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, to Valrie Curtis, Clerk of the Houses of Parliament, the Senators called for a review of the increase.
Bunting said the Opposition’s concerns revolve around the “size of this increase, its timing, and its obvious insensitivity to the current national context”.
“We firmly believe that such a significant increase in stipend for Senators is neither justifiable nor appropriate, particularly at a time when crucial issues affecting essential public servants –such as police officers, healthcare workers, and teachers - remain unresolved. The nation is closely observing the government's approach to addressing these critical matters, and such a substantial increase for Senators appears out of touch with the realities faced by the rest of Jamaica,” the letter read.
Bunting proposed that the funds be reallocated to where they can immediately impact citizens.
“In the interest of preserving public trust and confidence, we urgently request a reconsideration of this decision. We propose that these funds be reallocated to areas where they can make a more immediate and positive impact on the lives of the citizens we all serve. We kindly ask you to convey our position to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service,” Bunting said.