Morgan: No damage control
Information minister rejects claims that accountability plan announced by prime minister is response to salaries backlash
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke addressing Wednesday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House. At left is minister without portfolio with responsibility for information in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Morgan. (Photo: JIS)

THE Government's point man on information, Robert Morgan, has scoffed at claims that the Administration is introducing accountability measures only now because of the backlash it has received over the hefty salary increases to members of the political directorate.

"There is this misconception that Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, are not held accountable. That is patently not true," Morgan told a post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday.

"The first level of accountability that I, as a Member of Parliament, have to acquiesce to is accountability to the people who vote for us, and even those who didn't vote for us, in our constituencies. There have been many cases where MPs who did not perform in strongholds of political parties were voted out," said Morgan.

"So this narrative that we see emerging that we were never held accountable for anything is not correct," added Morgan.

He argued that there are numerous mechanisms in Government which hold politicians accountable.

"You have the Integrity Commission which holds us accountable financially in terms of assets and liabilities; you have the FID [Financial Investigations Division]; you have MOCA [Major Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Agency, which has been strengthened by this Administration.

"You also have parliamentary committees where ministers have to attend on occasions and give explanations as to what it is we have done in our ministries," added Morgan, as he pointed to the sittings of the Standing Financial Committee of Parliament which examines the expenditure plans of ministries.

Morgan also pointed to international agreements which Jamaica has signed, including the Open Government Process which was launched in January 2021 and requires the Administration to deliver a national action plan developed with public consultation with civil society.

"In the whole conversation that we are having there seems to be lots of miscommunication and disinformation essentially trying to say that Jamaica politicians are the only people in Government who are not accountable to anything," added Morgan.

He reiterated the Government's claim that members of the political directorate did not have a say in the level of salary increases they were granted as this was based on a formula which has been in place for decades.

That was a point underscored by Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke who told the post-Cabinet media briefing that the framework of the compensation package for members of the political directorate has not changed in some 50 years, and his ministry only applies the existing framework to a new compensation spine.

"I would encourage members of the media, members of the public, not to see this reform in isolation. First of all, you reform for compensation of the public service overall. Secondly, it comes with other reforms that are taking place at the same time," said Clarke at the Wednesday morning media briefing which came in the wake of fresh public scepticism over claims by Holness that new accountability measures are to be implemented for members of the political directorate.

An under-pressure Holness told the nation on Monday that written job descriptions for ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs), which he said were already in place, and will be tabled in Parliament shortly.

Holness also announced that a code of ethics to govern the conduct and duties of MPs, which was already developed under the PJ Patterson Administration, has been enhanced and presented to him.

He said it will be reviewed at the next Cabinet meeting and turned over to Parliament for review and eventual implementation.

According to Holness, also to be implemented are financial penalties for unexcused absences from sittings of Parliament and committee meetings. At the same time, each MP will be required to provide a written accountability report to Parliament detailing activities undertaken and achievements. These will be reviewed by a special committee.

Additionally, special training courses for MPs are to be designed and they must complete a certain number of hours and become certified in the parliamentary procedures.

BY ARTHUR HALL Editor-at-Large

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?