MLA’s only taking 3.2 per cent pay cut

Despite an
announcement in Legislative
Assembly in March that legislators would take significant pay-cuts, those
salary reductions have not happened and when they do, they will be much less
than originally stated.

On
1 March, Premier McKeeva Bush announced in the House that members of the
Legislative Assembly would take 20 per cent pay cuts and that he would take a
30 per cent decrease in salary as a way of leading by example in the government’s
effort to reduce operating costs.

On
Wednesday, however, Mr. Bush said legislators would only take a 3.2 per cent
pay cut – the same as civil servants – beginning 1 July, the start of the next
financial year. He said he would take a 5 per cent pay cut at the same time.

In
a statement issued by Press Secretary Charles Glidden to queries from the
Caymanian Compass, the proposed MLA salary cuts were linked to proposed salary
cuts for the civil service.

“The
premier had proposed graduated salary cuts for the civil service of up to 5 per
cent; up to 10 per cent and up to 15 per cent, depending on the salary level,”
the statement said. “The premier had also proposed salary cuts for MLAs of 20
per cent and a salary cut of 30 per cent for the premier.

“The
proposed civil service salary cuts were not agreed to.”

The
pay cut issue caused a ruckus on the Cayman Crosstalk radio talk show Wednesday
morning when Arden McLean, who was a guest on the show, angrily reacted to
comments from Mr. Bush, who had called in to explain why the higher pay cuts
were not implemented.

“He
said MLAs had rejected his position,” Mr. McLean said afterwards. “It must have
been his backbench supporters because I checked with other MLAs and they said
they hadn’t rejected anything.”

However,
it was when Mr. Bush suggested that Mr. McLean had himself rejected the pay cut
that the fireworks began.

“I
called him a liar on public radio,” Mr. McLean said. “I called him a coward. I
called him a liar and I will do that again any day he encroaches on my integrity.
I have said many times you can question my ability, but not my integrity.”

Mr.
McLean adamantly restated he had never had a discussion with Mr. Bush on the
subject of the pay cuts.

Opposition
MLA Alden McLaughlin agreed.

“The
government has never discussed this with us; never, never, never,” he said.

Mr.
McLaughlin said the opposition didn’t say it wouldn’t take a 20 per cent pay
cut.

“We
will do whatever is reasonable and fair and share whatever pain there is,” he
said, adding, however, that the opposition members would only agree to the same
pay cut that the government members agreed to.

However,
Mr. Bush said he discussed the issue with Mr. McLean and other members of the
opposition in the Legislative Assembly lunchroom the day he made the
announcement.

“I
saw them being upset that day and I gauged their feelings,” he said. “I took a
gauge from them twice and they grumbled about it both times.”

Mr.
Bush said government backbench MLAs agreed to have their salaries cut by the
same amount as the civil servants.

“In
the end, the salary cuts for the civil service came to a 3.2 per cent reduction
and this is the same amount that MLA salaries will be reduced by with the
exception of the premier,” Wednesday’s statement said. “The premier’s salary
will be cut by 5 per cent.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. It’s good to see the Fat Cats are still looking after themselves when expecting all those on lesser salaries to take the same percentage cut !

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  2. The last time I saw such a horrendous knee jerk approach to anything, I was at the Doctors office where reflexes were being tested. Is there an original idea out there or is it "shoot from the hip and I will eventually hit the target."

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  3. Civil Servants: "We will take the 3.2 pay cuts"

    LA members: "We will take the same 3.2 pay cuts – although we make more!"

    Emmmm… (choke on my tea)

    "Question to the LA members and the Premier: What has happened to your COMMITMENT on the 30-20 percent pay cuts you spoke about some months ago??? And why do you allow your civil servants making below 2800 per month to feel the pinch more than you???"

    TALK ABOUT FAIRNESS…

    And what is even more enlightening – we did not hear not one PPM member supporting the 20 percent cut openly – they were silent all along… NOW NOT EVEN KURT TIBBETTS IS COMPLAINING WITH THE 3.2 cut!

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  4. Dispicable, Disgusting, Dishonourable.
    3.2% of $3000 a month = $96 or at least a week’s food shopping
    3.2% of $10000 a month = $320 or one trip to the bar or the restaurant
    Let everyone say it how it is:Booooooooo! Shame on this government!

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