NEWS IN BRIEF
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce supports phasing politicians’ big salary increases
The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) is urging the Government to phase in massive salary increases approved for politicians, putting further pressure on the Holness administration, which is facing calls for a rollback.
“We humbly suggest that the increases for the political leadership - including the HPM (Honourable Prime Minister) - be phased over a longer period than has been proposed, with a detailing of the benchmarks to be used in justifying suggested increases,” the JCC said.
The business group said the implementation “should be in line with the projected timing to move average public sector wages and to achieve specific economic targets”.
“Certainly, it should only be implemented after the finalisation of the accountability measures that the HPM has spoken about. The JCC also supports the establishment of an independent body to oversee future adjustments and systemic increases,” said JCC President Michael McMorris.
The JCC said it supports the compensation review for all public-sector workers, including politicians. But it said there should have been “an effective public education programme” implemented before the “dramatically varied readjustments and increases” to workers.
“Much greater transparency around matters such as this is almost as important as the solution itself as we have seen time and time again. Especially after the announcement of the increases to parliamentarians, questions abound about the reasonableness of those increases relative to our socioeconomic position versus other countries of comparable size and economic challenges. This is exacerbated by the longstanding unkept promises of accountability,” the group said.
“To implement such increases before deliverables have been defined and accountability measures established and communicated is not the message we want to send to our people,” the JCC added.
The JCC joins the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, the Jamaica Council of Churches, National Integrity Action, Advocates Network, and the Jamaica Civil Service Association, which have expressed concerns about the increases for the political directorate.
Former JLP Councillor Patrick Lee has died
The ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is mourning the passing of former Councillor Patrick Lee, who died at hospital yesterday after a prolonged illness.
Lee, who was also the party’s standard-bearer in the 2011 parliamentary elections, recently underwent triple bypass heart surgery.
The businessman is best remembered for his work in the Portland Eastern constituency.
He was elected to the Portland Municipal Corporation in 1981 when he took the Comfort Castle division in the Rio Grande Valley of Eastern Portland. He lost in the 2011 parliamentary polls to the People’s National Party candidate, the late Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.
At the time of his passing, Lee was senior justice of the peace in the parish of Portland.