Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin said the country is not considering salary cuts for ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
He made the revelation while answering questions from the media at a coronavirus press briefing on Monday (May 25).
According to the Premier, pay cuts, particularly for members of the civil service – of which politicians are classified as members of, usually have disastrous effects.
“I am not sure why ministers and MLAs should be singled out for cuts, is there any reasons why,” asked McLaughlin with a quizzical look on his face.
“Okay, if it is going to have any real practical consequences, you are going to cut the whole civil service because that’s a huge bill.”Premier Alden McLaughlin
Cayman-based reporter Wendy Ledger, who posed the initial question, responded noting that other countries had implemented the measure.
Ledger went on to suggest that politicians were well-paid.
“You think that MLAs and minister are particularly well-paid in Cayman?” asked McLaughlin.
The Cayman News Service journalist responded, “Yeah”.
“Let me say this, my experience has been, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, if I may call it that of 2008, those sorts of measures were employed. Not just with respect to cutting the representatives’ salaries, most of whom were having to work much harder than before, given the circumstances. I wasn’t in Government at the time, I was in the Opposition- so, I am not trying to make a case for what I did. And they cut civil servant salaries as well – it had disastrous consequences,” said McLaughlin.
“I’ve never quite understood why making the public service or public servants poorer is somehow going to benefit the overall economy. All you do is destroy morale and, you reduce the amount of money that those – significant numbers of people – I am not talking about MLAs and Ministers-I am talking about the broader public service,” added McLaughlin.
“My question is confined to MLAs and ministers,” interjected Ledger, who noted that she wasn’t advocating for pay cuts for the broader civil service just politicians.
“Okay, if it is going to have any real practical consequences, you are going to cut the whole civil service because that’s a huge bill. You’ve got nineteen MLAs and in the grand scheme of an overall budget of more than $850 million – that is a minuscule sum,” added McLaughlin.
Bermuda recently reported that its politicians would take a 12.5 per cent pay cut.
Members of Parliament in Bermuda currently make BM$56,023, full-time ministers make BM$156,864, the Attorney General makes BM$203,045, the Premier makes BM$207,285 and the Opposition Leader makes BM$86,390.