Mac: Make salaries public

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush has vowed to make the salaries of government ministers and elected members of the Legislative Assembly public.

He made the surprise announcement during Thursday’s Cabinet press briefing.

‘I intended to bring the salaries with me, but I’m going to get that and pass it out,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘The salaries of all of us here (referring to elected officials) beginning from what they were in 2005 and…how they got increased and what they are today.’

Mr. Bush also said he would be inclined to release the salaries of board members appointed by government, if there are any members that receive pay.

‘I don’t know what they are, but I have no problem with making that possible,’ he said.

Mr. Bush’s announcement came as a surprise because previous requests made by the Caymanian Compass for the salaries of elected officials had been denied by both information managers and high ranking officials within the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.

Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks had said earlier this year that he considered releasing the specific salaries of elected members an ‘unreasonable disclosure of personal information.’

‘I intend to make that (salary) public,’ Mr. Bush said Thursday.

The Compass request for the salaries of LA members is being appealed to Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert.

The salary range paid to members of the Legislative Assembly was published previously in the Compass.

According to the pay scales, members of the Legislative Assembly make between CI$109,080 and CI$129,672.

Elected ministers are paid between CI$157,188 and CI$177,816. The specific salaries of the financial secretary and the attorney general, although not specifically requested by the Compass, are available in government budget documents released each year in the Legislative Assembly.

Personal emoluments to the attorney general were budgeted at $187,000 during the 2008/09 budget year. Emoluments for the financial secretary were budgeted at $179,292.

The remaining salaries for the Cayman Islands governor, chief secretary, speaker of the Legislative Assembly and elected members are lumped into one budget category. The cost of those combined emoluments during the current budget year was just more than $2.6 million.