Larger pay cut voted down

Cayman
Islands lawmakers rejected a proposal by a narrow 6-4 vote that would have
resulted in a 20 per cent pay cut for all elected members of the Legislative Assembly.

The
vote was taken in LA’s Finance Committee late Tuesday.

The
motion was brought by Opposition Leader Kurt Tibbetts, who stated that Premier
McKeeva Bush had earlier proposed the 20 per cent cut – as well as a 30 per
cent reduction for himself – and then had withdrawn the plan due to a lack of
support from his own government.

The
vote revealed that to be the case, as six members of the government’s bench
voted against the pay cut. Four members of the opposition bench voted for it.

Voting
against the measure were Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, ministers
Mike Adam and Mark Scotland, and MLAs Cline Glidden Jr., Ellio Solomon and
Dwayne Seymour. MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks, who was sitting in his chair for the
vote and muttered something inaudible, was apparently counted as having been
absent.

Voting
for the pay cut were Mr. Tibbetts and MLAs Arden McLean, Anthony Eden and Moses
Kirkconnell.

MLAs
Alden McLaughlin and Ezzard Miller and Minister Rolston Anglin were absent for
the vote. Mr. Bush, as chairman of the finance committee, apparently is only
allowed a vote to break a tie.

Mr.
Bush characterised the motion by Mr. Tibbetts as “pure politics”.

“They
don’t want this pay cut any more than they want a crown of thorns on the head,”
Mr. Bush said, referring to the opposition. “This is a political ploy and a
good one.”

Mr.
Bush said he had first proposed the 20 per cent pay reduction for lawmakers as
a conciliatory measure when his government had suggested a 5-15 per cent pay
cut for Cayman Islands civil servants.

“The
public service said 3.2 per cent they would accept and nothing more,” Mr. Bush
said. “I drew that to the attention of my (party’s) members, who said ‘look,
this is where we will go as well’.”

“I
could not accept and expect that the ministers in government at present…would
take a 20 per cent cut, which would make their salaries less than some of their
CO’s (chief officers) and managers in the civil service,” he said.

He
also asked Cayman residents to remember that the previous government had raised
salaries “quite a bit” between 2005 and 2008.

Mr.
Tibbetts said opposition lawmakers had already started to plan their lives
around the pay cut when it was withdrawn by Mr. Bush.

“I
was not suggesting…the MLAs were being overpaid by any means,” Mr. Tibbetts
said, adding that agreement with the 20 per cent pay cut was the position of
the opposition People’s Progressive Movement.

Mr.
Glidden Jr. suggested that opposition members – if they felt strongly about it
– should take the 20 per cent pay cut, while government members took the
smaller 3.2 per cent reduction.

Ultimately,
both Mr. Bush and Mr. Tibbetts said they would take a 10 per cent pay cut as
the leaders of their respective political parties.

“I’ll take my licks,”
Mr. Bush said. “I’ll take them up there laughing at me as they usually do.
But…they won’t have the last laugh.”

1 COMMENT

  1. We continue to read about the cuts to salaries to MLA’s, etc. Nobody wants a pay cut, but taking 3.2% from a person who is already not making a lot of money, can be significant and impact that persons life.

    The point I am leading to is that it would be nice to know the salries of the individuals headlined. With this information, I can then determine whether or not I should sympathesize with this group of people.

    I am sure it is public information, so help me please determine my level of sadness.

    Asking these people to vote for a larger decreease in salary is the equivalent of asking a fox if he wants to be in charge of the henhouse.

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