Gov’t aborts plans to hike senators’ pay
Plans to increase the fees paid to senators have been put on ice following a call by the parliamentary Opposition for a suspension in the hike.
Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Peter Bunting said the staggering $148,000 per meeting, up $53,000, was "neither justifiable nor appropriate".
"Our concerns revolve around the size of this increase, its timing, and its obvious insensitivity to the current national context," Bunting said in a metter to Valrie Curtis, clerk of the Houses of Parliament.
However, hours after Bunting issued a media release on the issue, Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke said the "increases will not be implemented".
The stipend paid to senators in 2016 was $17,000. It was then increased to $53,000 in 2020. Clark said the stipend paid to senators was indexed to the highest fee paid for service as a board director on a public body board.
He said the Government's position is that the stipend paid to senators will remain unchanged, even with further upward adjustments of board fees, while a new basis for determining Senate stipend adjustments is finalised.
Clarke said that prior to a 2008 Cabinet decision that pegged the salaries of senators to board members, the senators were being paid $1,000 per meeting, while the highest public body board fee was $6,000 per meeting.
Jamaica's Constitution allows for 21 persons to be nominated to the Senate, where they serve as legislators. There are 13 government senators and eight opposition senators.