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Golding blasts Gov't over judges' salary issue

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Opposition Spokesperson on Justice Senator Mark Golding has said that he is "dismayed" at the reports of serious disquiet among judges resulting from the delayed completion of the statutory process for an independent review of their salaries.

Under the Judiciary Act, the justice minister is to establish an independent commission to review the compensation of the judiciary every three years. Within three months, a report must go to the minister, who is duty-bound to table it in Parliament.

The Sunday Gleaner reported that the island's judges are upset over four years of outstanding money and have threatened to report the matter to the United Nations whose convention, to which Jamaica is a signatory, states that judges must be protected and their remuneration secured in law.

In a release, Golding, who was justice minister from January 2012 to February 2016, said that the commission's review was delivered to the ministry "at the beginning of 2016 and (as is customary) was promptly forwarded to the finance ministry for their necessary action".

"It is unacceptable," he said, "that one year later, the Government has not implemented the adjustments resulting from that review, and the commission's report has not even been tabled in Parliament."

Golding said that he was "urging the Government to avoid an unseemly and dangerous impasse with the judiciary by bringing an immediate end to the protracted delay in completing the statutory process".

According to Gleaner sources, the judges are angry that the last time they were paid an increase in salary was in 2014, and that was for the period 2009 to 2012.

A commission was appointed in 2015 to deal with salary increases for 2014 to 2016 and make recommendations.

Last week, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said that finance minister Audley Shaw was to take the report to the Cabinet "very soon".