It appears that most Jamaicans are upset over the government voting itself hefty increases in salaries ranging from 100% to 200% and more.
The reaction can be understood as there are no means of accountability or performance assessment for politicians, except, of course, through elections.
However, with almost 25% of our constituencies being garrisons, you see our dilemma!
The timing of the announcement of the salary increases is interesting and significant.
For it came after the public servants’ unions had signed off on increases of approximately 20% for their members, (teachers, government workers, nurses, etc) in light of the claim from the Government that it couldn’t pay more, based on the economic realities in the country.
Apparently, the Minister of Finance Dr. Nigel Clarke thought he was being smart with the timing. But the unions are not stupid, so are already decrying their measly increases in comparison to what politicians have given themselves.
In a country where pensioners haven’t received an increase in years and the minimum wage cannot even cover the minimum standard of living for any individual, much less his/her family, the unconscionable increases in one fell swoop for politicians is, therefore, not only absolute madness but totally unacceptable.
|I suspect there will be prolonged upset and maybe even turmoil over the anomalies during the ensuing weeks.|
The salary increase which hit me for six, though, is the Governor General’s which moved from $12 million to $34 million.
According to the Government, this is because the salary of the Governor General is tied to that of the Chief Justice.
I cannot believe we have been living with this nonsense for decades, considering the important role and duties of the judiciary when compared to that of someone representing a foreign monarchy, with few and insignificant duties to boot!
This really explains the significance of the Governor General’s insignia; for it shows a white angel with his foot on the neck of a black man! For decades I have felt somewhat lonely in raising the issue of the over $400 million we pay annually to keep that inconsequential office going.
But let’s look ahead now.
Since we now have a Constitutional Reform Committee in place, it’s time everyone pays close attention to the type of head of state we replace the monarchy with (hopefully it will happen in my lifetime).
For we simply cannot replace a virtually useless governor general with a useless ceremonial president.
If we do, the entire process will have been a colossal waste of time.
So, while they are at it, hopefully, the new president will have useful oversight and real responsibilities.
And wouldn’t it be great if we, the voters, could choose the president, rather than having some political hack imposed on us, compliments of collusion between the PNP and JLP?
Not holding my breath at all.