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Wasteful & Extravagant : Cabinet To Cost $100.000.000

“You would not have 18. I will not give the country a breakfront.” – Portia Simpson Miller (May 2011)

This was the response given by then Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, when asked whether she would appoint 18 members to a Cabinet, should she form the next government. Only a few months later, the Prime Minister has named a 19 member Cabinet (20 including her) with an accompanying price tag of $111, 349, 381; that does not include the salary of the Attorney General. This is according to figures released by The Sunday Gleaner.

Of particular importance is the allegation that the new Prime Minister will take home $7, 271, 283 per annum, this is a $3,000,000 increase in the last reported salary package for the Office of Prime Minister. This is certainly excessive and extravagant; Jamaicans should demand an answer as to why taxpayers are being made to pay the Prime Minister so much. Mrs. Simpson Miller had blasted then Prime Minister Golding about the size and cost of his 18 member Cabinet, calling on him to do “the honourable thing” and cut the size of the executive. I’m curious to know what happened to that honour Mrs. Simpson Miller promoted; why does she have such a costly Cabinet? Why has she done the dishonourable thing she was so very much against in Opposition?

In my last post, I criticised the over all size and pointed out that many of the appointments seemed to be nothing more than rewards. For instance, a Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Sport? This amounts to having a full Minister of Sport, nothing else, just Sport. I can find no justification for that whatsoever. A colleague of mine reminded me that the Summer Olympics will be held this year and so perhaps we need a Minister to focus on that. He went on to cite the fact that former British PM Gordon Brown had a Minister for the Olympics. My answer to this was simple. 1. London is HOSTING the Olympics and 2. Britain can afford such an appointment, Jamaica can’t.

In a country where there is chronic unemployment and poverty, the Government should lead by example and move to tighten it’s fiscal space. Many Jamaicans are struggling to make ends meet, many of these people have to make tough sacrifices and they have a government taking home a cool 100 million. It is unacceptable, especially from a Prime Minister who allegedly loves the poor. In the same way Mrs. Simpson Miller demanded a smaller, more cost effective Cabinet from Golding, we must demand the same of her. Do “the honourable thing” Madam Prime Minister, cut the size of your breakfront; the very breakfront you promised not to give the country. I loathe hypocrisy among politicians and this carries a strong stench of hypocrisy. It offends the concept of “people power” and amounts to the Prime Minister directly lying to the Jamaican people. Mrs. Simpson Miller gave a commitment and she must respect it, even more so now that the Cabinet cost has been revealed. This is not the first time Mrs. Simpson Miller has made suspect moves as it relates to salaries. Former Prime Minister Golding had called for parliamentarians to take a salary cut in largely symbolic show of solidarity with the poor. Mrs. Simpson Miller vehemently rejected this. Lest we forget.

BreakDown of Salary Package :

Prime Minister : $7, 271, 283.

Finance Minister : $5, 891, 212.

Other Cabinet Ministers : $98, 186, 886.

Total : $111, 349, 381.

Source : The Gleaner

In light of this, I have two (2) questions :

1. Has the Governor General received a raise? If yes, how much?

2. Are Messrs Seaga and Patterson receiving $7,000,000 in pensions?

I ask the second question being mindful of the fact that Mr. Patterson had made the pension of former Prime Ministers equal to the salary of the sitting Prime Minister. Golding had reversed this for himself and all subsequent Prime Ministers.

“Don’t come to us and ask for cooperation, Mr. Prime Minister, when you retain your mega-size Cabinet. I’m calling on the Prime Minister to do the honourable thing, cut the size of your Cabinet now!” – Portia Simpson Miller (September 2009)

Do the honourable thing Madam Prime Minister, cut the size of your Cabinet. It is far too early for you to be flip flopping.

Is this people power?


4 responses

  1. Heh… That’s what the people voted for.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

  2. Marc

    The question is, does Simpson-Miller need such a big Cabinet?

    The government of the United States of America has 15 Cabinet Members. Coca-Cola, an efficient global company, had revenues of US$35 Billion dollars. Coca-Cola has a board of directors with 16 people. Barbados, which attained first world status last year, has an 18 member Cabinet. The Government of Singapore, where prosperity is high and people have greater opportunities, has a 14 member Cabinet.

    Her Cabinet is made up of half of all the persons elected into Parliament for the PNP, all women elected to Parliament minus one, and two of Simpson-Miller’s cousins (Natalie Neita-Headley and Noel Arscott)

    We do not need a 20 member Cabinet. But what could that extra money do for Jamaica?

    The extra money spent on the over-sized Cabinet could buy:

    2 Homeless shelters to care for almost 300 homeless persons
    (At $65 million, based on sum donated by Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) for construction of a shelter on King Street in Downtown, Kingston)

    7 tins of Lasco Corned Beef from Empire Supermarket in Cross Roads for every single resident of the parish of Kingston and a tin of mackrel for every single Jamaican

    The extra money spent on the Cabinet could buy 295,125 packets of Nestle Lactogen Infant formula for our babies, or care for 430 homeless children in the places of safety and children’s homes for a year

    The extra money spent on Cabinet is almost 4 times what Shaggy and Friends donated in January 2010 to the Bustamente Children’s Hospital to help improve the medical care given to our children.

    The extra money spent on Cabinet could buy twenty eight 2-bedroom homes, including one for you and your family or for the 600,000 Jamaicans living in squatter communities based on NHT figures

    The extra money spent on Cabinet could top the recent donation by the World Free Wheel Chair Mission to Jamaica by buying 9,194 wheelchairs for the disabled in Jamaica.

    The extra money spent on Cabinet is the annual salary for 296 Jamaicans living on minimum wage.

    So should we sit back and let them get away with this? Should we let them use the system to bring us more suffering?

    Stand up for what is right. We, the People, have the power to say “no” and to fight the system.

    Be an Activist

    January 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    • Firstly, I hope this is Marc the attorney. I have immense respect for you, if it is indeed you.

      There’s not much more I can say really, your comment says it all. The Cabinet is really just wasteful and extravagant. Thanks for your thoughts. 🙂

      January 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    • romario

      I am a pnp supporter and future political analyst, and I am not byass if the pnp is wrong they are wrong. I think the cabinet is too big,some of the ministers are unnessacary,for example in the transport,works and housing ministry there are 3 ministers that is not needed,u just need a minister and a junior minister, dr.morais guy,they say he is the minister without portfolioin that ministry with responsibility for housing,but I see him speaking on transport and works matters. He is nt needed in that ministry. Another is luther buchanan, state minister in the OPM, what is he state minister for, at one time Mrs. Simpson -Miller made him minister with responsibility for apecial projects(hurricane sandy relieve projects) otherwise he is just their collecting taxpayers money. The others are Mrs. Neita-Headly and Ms. Falconer sports and information minister respectively,these portfolio should be joined together and have one minister overseeing them, cause they are nt much work. And why does the major ministry doesn’t have a junior minister??? That’s all for now

      March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am

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