Salaries not ‘vulgar’

There is nothing vulgar in the salaries ministers and parliamentary secretaries in Barbados receive.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate Senator Maxine McClean offered this defence of the emoluments paid to ministers and parliamentary secretaries today while introducing a resolution to approve the Ministers And Parliamentary Secretaries (Remuneration and Allowances) Order 2014 and a resolution to approve the Senate And House Of Assembly) (Remuneration and Allowances Of Members) Order, 2014 in the Senate.

In debunking claims that ministers’ pay is “vulgar”, McClean said: “I happened to have worked in places where the bonus payments were higher than the salaries reflected in this debate. That was the case years ago. I am talking about facts, this is not fiction.

“I have not sat in one place, I have sat in multiple places where this happened. I want people to understand that there is nothing vulgar or exorbitant about the salaries we earn. Contrary to the opinions expressed I certainly did not come here for the salary. There are other things beyond salaries.

“We recognize that in the context where people have lost their jobs, we are only giving up a percentage of our salary. I have heard members on this side say that it hurt in the early 1990s, it hurts doubly now. It hurts doubly now because we are forced to take action not in the best of times, but in very hard times,” McClean added.

The senator argued that it takes commitment to battle the criticism, the abuse and threats to recognize that unless the administration takes action at this time the whole country could be in jeopardy.

She further argued that the Barbados Labour Party did the country a disservice when they had the resources to effect change, but did nothing.

Stressing that action has to be taken at this time, McClean said: “As we seek to reduce the size of the government wage bill, which Prime Minister Stuart said constituted more than half of government expenditure in the public sector, we have to ask ourselves: is this something that can be continued? It is not sustainable.

“We do not do this with any sense of joy. We do this restructuring of the public sector to save the majority. We will facilitate what is happening in the private sector. I have heard a lot of talk that this government would not cut staff. The Government coming into office in 2008 at the beginning of the crisis, saw the challenge it faced and sought as far as possible to ensure that it carried the numbers in the public sector. It supplied support to the private sector to ensure that the private sector themselves could continue to employ as many people as possible,” Mc Clean added.

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