Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Golding declares MPs’ salary increases ‘none of my business’

Published:Thursday | May 25, 2023 | 1:36 AMAinsworth Morris/Staff Reporter

Bruce Golding, former prime minister of Jamaica, declined yesterday to give his opinion on Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ decision to reject a 214-per-cent salary increase and instead keep his $9-million pay.

The decision by Holness is expected to impact the pension Golding receives, as well as that received by other surviving former prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller and P. J. Patterson, as well as the widows of former prime ministers Michael Manley, Hugh Shearer and Edward Seaga.

On Monday, Holness announced his decision to reject the increase, while Robert Morgan, minister with responsibility for information, disclosed yesterday during a post-Cabinet at Jamaica House, that the decision would also affect all former and future heads of government.

Series of protests

Holness’ decision was made following a series of protests by Jamaicans over what they deemed unfair and unconscionable salary increases for politicians, which were announced by Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service in the House of Representatives on May 16.

For Clarke, as finance minister, his salary will move up by 232 per cent from $7.4 million in 2021 to $24.6 million as at April 1, 2024. He will now be receiving $21.7 million, effective April 1, 2023.

Cabinet ministers are to receive a 230-per-cent increase in salary up to April 1, 2024, with their pay moving from $6.9 million in 2021 to $22.9 million next year. As of April 1, 2023, Cabinet ministers will take home an annual salary of $20.2 million.

Holness’ salary would have jumped by 214 per cent, with his pay moving from $9.1 million in 2021 to $28.6 million on April 1, 2024. Effective April 1, 2023, the head of government would receive $25.3 million annually.

After Golding delivered his address as keynote speaker during the Jamaican Mathematical Olympiad Awards Ceremony 2022-2023, which was held at The University of the West Indies, Mona yesterday, he declined to answer questions posed by The Gleaner on what his thoughts were on Holness’ decision, as well as the general increases in salaries to be collected by members of the political directorate.

“I’ve left the government. That’s none of my business,” Golding, 75, simply said while walking to his vehicle and departing the campus.

Golding served as the eighth prime minister of Jamaica from September 11, 2007 to October 23, 2011.