LA salaries up 23 per cent

Cayman Islands elected lawmakers’ salaries increased 23 per cent on average over the last four years, according to figures released by the government Wednesday evening.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush read out the monthly pay of every elected Legislative Assembly member, as well as the Speaker of the House, between 2005 and 2009.

‘The press has been asking me about these,’ Mr. Bush said before reading the figures.

‘You got the governor’s salary in there?’ Opposition MLA Arden McLean asked.

‘You had four years to ask for it, why didn’t you ask for it?’ Mr. Bush retorted.

The positions that saw the two largest salary increases percentage-wise between June 2005 and June 2009 were those for the leader of government business (32.2 per cent) and the opposition leader (35.5 per cent).

The speaker of the Legislative Assembly’s monthly pay went up nearly 23 per cent in that period; while the deputy speaker’s job saw a 29 per cent pay increase.

Elected minister positions saw between a 17 per cent and 20 per cent pay increase depending on whether a particular member had served in the house before.

Government backbenchers and opposition members, aside from the leader, also saw between a 17 per cent to 20 per cent increase in pay.

Mr. Bush said salary increases were given commensurate with pay rises provided to civil servants over those periods.

Cayman Islands government workers have been given three pay raises within the last four years, once in mid 2006, again in early 2007 and a third time in 2008.

But it appears Legislative Assembly members’ pay increases did not always match with civil servants’ salary hikes.

For instance, most civil servants’ pay went up by some eight per cent between mid-2006 and January of 2007. However, the leader of government business’ pay jumped about 25 per cent in that same period, going from $11,205 a month ($134,460 annually) to $14,010 a month ($168,210 annually).

The opposition leader’s pay also went from $7,776 per month ($93,312 annually) to $9,964 per month ($119,568 annually), a 28 per cent increase.

Some elected assembly members also saw a slight pay rise between April 2009, prior to government’s general elections, and June 2009, just after the elections.

The small pay hikes given in June only went to returning members of the assembly. New members’ salaries stayed the same as their predecessors. Most of those pay increases hovered around 2.5 per cent.

All pay increases given to legislators between January 2007 and April 2009 appeared to coincide with the 3.2 per cent cost of living increase given to government workers in mid-2008.

The Caymanian Compass first filed an open records request for the salaries of elected Legislative Assembly members in March 2009, after the country’s Freedom of Information Law came into effect.

Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks initially refused to release the salaries, stating he considered them personal information.

Mr. Bush later announced at a press conference that both elected members’ salaries and appointed board members’ pay would be given to the public. Board members pay, if they receive any, has not been released as yet.

Cayman’s information commissioner is expected to rule in August on a Compass request for the salaries of Government Information Services employees. The government has argued in the case that civil servants pay should be considered separately from elected members of the LA and appointed board members.

The following are the current monthly salaries of all elected Legislative Assembly members. All amounts are in KYD:

*Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush – $14,818

*Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence – $14,106

*Cabinet Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly – $13,425

*Cabinet Minister Mark Scotland – $13,099

*Cabinet Minister Rolston Anglin – $13,099

*Cabinet Minister Mike Adam – $13,099

*Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts – $10,541

*Deputy Speaker Cline Glidden, Jr. – $10,033

*Opposition MLA Moses Kirkconnell – $9,316

*Backbench MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks – $9,316

*Opposition MLA Alden McLaughlin – $9,316

*Opposition MLA Arden McLean – $9,316

*Opposition MLA Anthony Eden – $9,316

*Backbench MLA Ellio Solomon – $9,090

*Backbench MLA Dwayne Seymour – $9,090

*Independent MLA Ezzard Miller – $9,316

The following were the monthly salaries paid to members of the former government as of April 2009:

*Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts – $14,459

*Speaker of the House Edna Moyle – $14,106

*Cabinet Minister Charles Clifford – $13,099

*Cabinet Minister Anthony Eden – $13,099

*Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin – $13,099

*Cabinet Minister Arden McLean – $13,099

*Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush – $10,283

*Deputy Speaker Cline Glidden, Jr – $9,788

*Backbench MLA Moses Kirkconnell – $9,090

*Opposition MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks – $9,090

*Opposition MLA Juliana O’Connor-Connolly – $9,090

*Opposition MLA Rolston Anglin – $9,090

*Backbench MLA Lucille Seymour – $9,090

*Backbench MLA Osbourne Bodden – $9,090

*Backbench MLA Alfonso Wright – $9,090

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