Members of Parliament have voted to increase their salaries and constituency allowances, which were originally approved by the Cabinet of the Progressives government earlier this year, at a meeting of the Finance Committee on Monday.
Premier Wayne Panton said Cabinet, under the previous Progressives administration, had given approval in February for the increases to be brought before the Finance Committee. As Monday was the first Finance Committee meeting that has been held since then, it was included at the last minute in that session’s schedule of supplemental appropriations, which considers additional expenditure in the government’s annual budget.
The MPs voted to increase the “personal emoluments” – salaries and benefits – of the premier, deputy premier, speaker of the house, and members of Cabinet and Parliament at the meeting.
The payments were not broken down by individual position, but add up to $141,667. The total amount originally budgeted for the salaries and benefits of Cayman’s government members in 2021 was $3,375,000.
MPs will also be getting, between them, an increase of $93,330 to run their constituency offices, which had been budgeted for $1,086,000 a year. With 19 MPs in Parliament, this means they will be receiving almost $5,000 more each a year to operate offices within their political districts.
The MPs also approved an increase of $116,667 for the servicing of Parliament and Members of Parliament. The amount originally budgeted for 2021 for this purpose was $1,881,427.
At the meeting, the lawmakers also voted for an increase of $175,574 for administrative and advisory support of MPs, which was originally budgeted at $130,000.
Asked by West Bay West MP McKeeva Bush to explain the additional costs for support staff for Parliament, Clerk of the Parliament Zena Merren-Chin, who is also the chief officer of the Parliament Management Commission, said the increases related to pay rises for the chief officer and deputy clerk, as well as costs relating to the positions of a chief parliamentary advisor and deputy chief officer.