'Roll it back'
PNP issues another call for salary increases for politicians be withdrawn
People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell (left) and Opposition Leader Mark Golding at Wednesday's press conference at the party's headquarters. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

OPPOSITION Leader Mark Golding is doubling down on his call for the reversal of the massive salary increases to the political directorate, noting that is irrational given Jamaica's economy and widespread disapproval.

Golding, who was addressing a People's National Party's (PNP) press conference on Wednesday, stressed that the pay hike is unconscionable in Jamaica and is out of whack with the political directorate in other countries.

"I repeat the call for this entire salary package for the political directorate to be rolled back, to be discontinued, and for the matter to be considered afresh by an independent panel," he said at the press conference held at the PNP headquarters.

He said the independent panel should be able to guarantee equity across the public sector, and ensure that the salaries determined are consistent with Jamaica's economic performance.

"This is a watershed moment for our country. Is the Government led by Andrew Holness going to retain this massive increase for the political directorate in the face of widespread dissatisfaction and opposition, given where Jamaica is now and how our people are suffering?" he asked.

In the meantime, Golding reiterated his pledge to give back 80 per cent of the salary increase he will receive as part of the Government's compensation review for the public sector, until the salary increases are rolled back.

"If it is not rolled back and I received the increase they have allocated to me, without any consultation with me or any other member of the Opposition about this matter, I would be retaining only the minimum increase that our public servants were rewarded of 20 per cent — and anything in excess of that I would be redirecting to worthy causes. I will stick by that until this matter is resolved," he said.

Added PNP General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell: "Looking at what the savings would be for next year, if they pegged the ministers' salary to where they have put all of [the] other public sector workers, and just for 2024 alone, the country would save $200 million. That's the difference that would happen if they adjust the salaries and not put it at the higher end," said Campbell.

"If it is that you intend to put accountability measures in place to judge your ministers, how can you start them at the highest point? It simply means that there was no plan in place to have performance-based pay for ministers because you already started them at the highest point," added Campbell.

On Monday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he will not accept the salary increase granted to him under the public sector compensation review, stating that as leader of the country he has a duty to show solidarity with Jamaicans who are experiencing economic hardships.

Since the announcement about pay hikes in Parliament last week there has been an upheaval about the adjustments, with several protests staged by Jamaicans who have been expressing disapproval.

BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com

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