Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Clarendon PNP councillor says pay hike for politicians exorbitant

Published:Monday | May 22, 2023 | 2:33 PM
Councillor for the May Pen West division in Clarendon, Carla Watt, speaking at a People's National Party Toll Gate Divisional Conference on May 21. - Nathaniel Stewart photo.

People's National Party (PNP) Councillor for the May Pen West division in Clarendon Central Carla Watt says while she welcomes the pay increase given to the political directorate, she believes the hike is exorbitant.

Under the new compensation review, the salaries of councillors surged from $1.6 million per annum to $5 million as at April 1.

Watt, speaking at a PNP Toll Gate Divisional Conference at the Toll Gate Primary and Infant School on Sunday, said the increase came at a time when many taxpayers are facing hardships.

"Yes, mi deh a parish council and mi glad fi di raise, but it too much...too much! Yuh ah fi set and uplift life for the masses and poorer class in a Jamaica fi Jamaica better off," said Watt, who blasted the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

She continued: "Any Government weh in a power and nuh uplift wi life -- whether PNP, my party weh mi love, or JLP -- and yuh nuh uplift di life of di poorer class even after two and a half year, weh yah guh? Weh yah do? Who yuh can help? Andrew Holness memba weh yah come from. Memba the poorer class."

She criticised the prime minister for asking citizens to hold strain "while Andrew Holness just drive come in and get triple time pay. Nutten nuh guh suh. Him need fi roll it back," she said.

The prime minister's salary 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 will get $25.3 million annually.

Watt accused the Government of being heavy-handed regarding civil servants who she said are reluctant to speak out against decisions taken by the administration.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Scean Barnswell, who heads the Hayes division in Clarendon South Eastern.

Barnswell accused Holness of being arrogant towards the electorate.

"If [Hugh] Shearer could rise from the grave, I know he would be so upset with him right now as a trade unionist. When [Andrew Holness] was at the floral tribute for [Shearer], the former prime minister and BITU [Bustamante Industrial Trade Union] president, laying the wreath, [he] had the audacity to be cussing people who were quarreling about this massive increase in salary," said Barnswell.

Speaking at the event, which was held last Friday, Holness charged that the political class in Jamaica has been treated with “schizophrenia and disdain” for many years, as he pushed back at critics of the massive wage hike across the political directorate.

Holness said successive administrations have been afraid to address the issue of compensation for the political class because “people are going to say you no deserve it”.

Meanwhile, Barnswell criticised the leadership of May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh, claiming that the parish's development has suffered.

He appealed to PNP supporters to rally behind Godfrey Knight to win back the Toll Gate division.  

Knight lost the seat by one vote in the last local government election.

- Olivia Brown 

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at or