Cayman Free Press was delighted to hear Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush tell fellow countrymen and women last week that he wants the salaries of elected members of the Legislative Assembly to be made public.
We wholeheartedly agree.
But Mr. Bush went a step further. He is also leaning toward releasing the salaries of board members appointed by the government if any of them are, in fact, getting paid for the service.
Spot on, Mr. Bush; spot on.
Loyal readers to the Caymanian Compass will know that we have asked for the salaries of elected officials through the relatively new Freedom of Information Law.
The request was denied and we are now in the process of appealing that decision because we think that the people who put money into our government should know how their cash is being spent.
In Jamaica, Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s salary is common knowledge – $5 million in Jamaica dollars; that’s less than CI$50,000. He’s even had his salary cut by 15 per cent to show the people of Jamaica that he knows they are hurting in these difficult economic times.
In the United States, President Barack Obama makes US$400,000 a year. That’s CI327,996.
Here in Cayman, we know that elected 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.
We back Mr. Bush’s proposal to reveal the salaries of elected members, going back to 2005. He also said he’s going to make it public just how the salaries grew and why.
We wrote in Tuesday’s paper that change is afoot under the leadership of the United Democratic Party and we’re seeing evidence of it almost daily.
For that change to happen, all of us in the Cayman Islands needs to be informed about what our government is doing and what it costs.
We can start by taking a look at the salaries of government employees, starting at the top.
As we go through this exercise, we hope Mr. Bush and users of the Freedom of Information law take the matter of government spending a bit further and take a good hard look at other salaries and expenditures.
Something has to be done to bring down our country’s deficit. We need to know how our money is spent before we can start to make the hard decisions of where and how to cut back.