Sun | Oct 1, 2023

What does the Constitution say about salaries?

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2023 | 12:17 AM


The scheduled protest organised for the rollback of parliamentarians’ salaries at Emancipation Park was peaceful, but there were questions about the whereabouts of teachers, nurses, doctors and security personnel on site.

Let it be clear, Joe Public is at work! In March when they were begging the public to join with them in protest, they were accused of being greedy, unaccountable, and cruel towards fellow Jamaicans. They were told to do their jobs and stop crying about money. They had minimal support and accepted a salary package that was totally not in their interest.

Teachers, nurses, doctors and security personnel have listened to Joe Public, so they are doing the work they were accused of not doing. When the public sector was protesting, the nation was quiet. Now that the Government has awarded itself in the high percentage in their salaries, Joe Public recognises that they, too, will be affected and have been decrying and disrespecting the leaders.

Teachers, nurses, doctors and security authorities will not be a part of that. We sought justice. We were respectful. We will continue to remain so. Justice cannot be sought just because you are affected. That is not justice.

Do not tie the public sector’s issues with this new agenda. We fought. We signed. We’re resigned to the injustice. We are living with the indignity. Do not use the public sector to push an agenda that we are not a part of.

Everyone knows government salaries are prepared by the 15th of the month for payout on the 25th. It has been pointed out that payments are not made on Fridays or Mondays, if the 25th falls on any of those days. On May 24, most government workers would have been paid. Unless parliamentarians are no longer government workers, they should have been paid already! How will the protest affect that?

What we should focus on is what the Constitution says about the issue. How are parliamentarians to be paid, according to the Constitution? What about other sectors?

It is important to focus on the Constitution now. The people need to be educated about the Constitution and the laws in place to govern us.

When the issue of salaries began, it may have been about the money, but now it is about the disrespect and disregard for the citizens of Jamaica.