Government rejects motion over MLA pay cut

| 23/06/2010

(CNS): Members of the government benches have rejected an opposition motion to take a bigger pay cut in MLA salaries. Following the premier’s retreat on a proposed 20% cut for members and 30% cut for himself to one in line with the civil service cuts, the opposition PPM announced recently that it would be moving a motion for a Finance Committee stage amendment for all members to take the 20 percent. Kurt Tibbetts read the motion, which he said was a party position, on Tuesday afternoon. The premier and other UDP members accused the opposition leader of political opportunism and suggested it was not a genuine gesture. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Tibbetts said the motion spoke for itself and asked all members of the House to take the original cut proposed by the premier in March rather than the 3.2 percent for MLAs and 10 percent for the premier and Leader of the Opposition’s salary, which had been more recently decided. The opposition leader had pointed out that at the time of the announcement Bush had said all of the government MLAs had agreed, so he hoped that they could agree to the more substantial cut again.
However, the premier said because the wider civil service had rejected the cuts he had originally posed for their salaries, the MLAs could no longer be expected to take such major cuts in isolation. Bush told the Finance Committee members that the 20% reduction was meant to offer a lead to the cuts he was seeking in civil servants’ salaries, starting at 5% for those earning over $3,000 per calendar month and rising to at least 15% cuts for senior officers.  
Following the civil service rejection of pay and benefit cuts, however, Bush said the minsters could no longer be expect to take such major salary reductions as it would mean they were earning less than their senior ministerial staff. “We couldn’t expect ministers in government would take a 20% cut when their CEOs and middle managers were earning more,” Bush said.
Government backbencher Cline Glidden said everyone recognised the move by the leader of the opposition for what it was but if it was a genuine gesture why didn’t the opposition take the reduction on their own salaries.
The premier said the move was a political ploy and admitted it was a good one as it would get the attention of the press, the blogs and the radio shows, and said the opposition was going to have a good time with it. But Bush maintained that the people knew what he was trying to do. “No matter how you spin this, people are not stupid; they know it’s a ploy … You don’t want this any more than a crown of thorns,” Bush told Tibbetts.
The leader of the opposition said the motion was a position taken by the party but it was not meant to be a unilateral position. He reiterated the point that everyone on the government bench in March had agreed and the opposition had accepted it as a forgone conclusion, something which the members needed to do in order to make a sacrifice as the premier had asked.
Bush said cutting MLA salaries by more than 3.2% was no longer required to balance the budget so there was no point and he was not going to cut his pay by 30% as he paid three mortgages of constituents as well as his own from his salary, and while everyone criticised him for the benefits he now got as a premier, that was not his salary, most of which he gave to other people. “I know all members here are bombarded with requests from constituents and I pay out half my salary,” he added.
The motion to increase the members’ salary cut was denied, leaving members pay reduction in line with that given to civil servants of 3.2 percent, while the premier and leader of the opposition’s pay was cut by 10 percent. MLA pensions and health benefits were also left untouched.
In the CNS online poll "Should MLAs take a pay cut?" only 3% of the voters believed the legislators should not take a pay cut, while more than 86% wanted to see a cut of at least 10% in all members salaries.
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  1. Anonymous says:

     I did not expect any better from Big Mac, Miss Julie and the rest of the useless UDP bunch. XXXX it is all about greed. Unfortunately, the West Bay zombies will continue to elect this incapable man.

  2. vocal local says:

    And this raising ones pay (politicians) with the peoples money to afford to pay some of it back out to constituents (buying of votes) is likely done by many if not most of our politicians…and they justify this with a straight face as doing the right, and/or christian thing.

    The right (professionally ethical) and/or chrstian thing to do in such circumstances is to direct such persons (who are genuinely in need) to Social Services (DCFS) or the churches.

    What’s so sad though is that they ALL know this…surely…but they all (including the Governor with his speeches of "good governance") allow it to continue with no one truly being held "accountable" (another word often touted in political and the Governor’s speeches).

    And yet we are surprised with the current social decay…even with all the many greedy examples allowed to flourish.



  3. Jab-Jab says:

    I guess this explains the answer my civil service friends gave me when I would say they should cut their pay for the good of the country: Why? Where’s the money going to go? To reduce the budget or extend it? I suspect they knew where the money was really going to end up ‘not being cut’. There’s no point in ‘leading by example’ if all your example does is shaft’s you and pays someone else’s mortgage.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I bet someone can hardly wait until the economy picks up again.

    Transfer some funds over to the Development Bank, and get rid of those three non-performing loans. lol.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is seriously shocking. But as long as we have an electoral roll of such limited numbers and multirepresentative districts, we are not going to get MLA’s with the necessary maturity and understanding to be a credit to these Islands. It is a good question what these expensive individuals add to the running of the Islands.

  6. The Truth is Out There says:

     “I know all members here are bombarded with requests from constituents and I pay out half my salary,”

    Buying votes costs a lot of money so he can’t take a cut in salary.

    Why are the alarm bells not ringing when the premier admits to something like this? 

    It’s time for a change.




  7. Anonymous says:

    If any member of the LA really wants to give up a higher percentage of their salary to help the country out during this financial strain they would still do so regardless of what others votes for.

    But I highly doubt this will happen, everyone has mouth but no one really wants to reduce their salary.

  8. Macman says:

    Is anyone supprised at this outcome?

    You are??…

    Where have you been living???

  9. genetic mutation says:

    It really sums up this society, the Premier is quoted openly as saying:

    1. " I pay 3 mortgages of constituents from my salary"

    2. " I pay out half my salary"

    XXXXXXX I am not holding Cayman to the standards of other countries, but our politicians should be held to a basic standard that upholds democratic institutions. These guys fall short of those basic standards pretty much on a weekly basis.

    Sad thing to me is, this is such a small island, with so few people, that if they really wanted, they could clean it up and be real gem and model to the world. We are certainly not going in that direction today.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that this Country can be cleaned up with the right people in  charge. The right people means people that have their Country first at heart and not the pay check at heart. First we need to have the right people at Immigration doing what they need to do there, second drafting some strenious laws and carrying them out, thirdly paying politicians a salary thats on par with the middle class civil servants and not allowing every puss and dog to run in our elections. I mentain that we need good business people as politicians.

  10. Billy says:

    When you look at a comparable island to Cayman say the Isle of Man, which also survives on is Financial Industry, but has a porpulation 30% larger.

    The Chief Miinister there earns less than the ten highest paid Civil servants.

    He is paid 65,000 pounds, or CI$80,000 (and that is still taxed) and he gets 3,000 pounds of reimbursable expenses a year.

    When Cayman is so small why is the Premier probably the highest paid elected leader in the world when perks, no taxes and pensions come into play?

    And why are we paying his utility bills when he is so rarely at his residence?

    • Seriously real says:

      Greed shows itself when self respect flees.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great comparison – very well done. Now lets see Big Mac explain this one. I read or heard someshere that Obama makes less than US500K that he pays taxes on…… so how does that compare to the leader of a 2×4 country?

  11. Single Mom says:

    was not going to cut his pay by 30% as he paid three mortgages of constituents as well as his own from his salary “.

    Well Mr. Bush I am a single mom with 4 kids, barely making ends meet monthly. How about helping me out with one of those low income homes and if you could also help me with a course at UCCI I would greatly appreciate it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why is this XXXXXXX paying for 3 other people mortgages?

    I can’t afford a mortgage so get nailed for rent every month. Wish I could find a rich benefactor to pay my mortgage.

    I am very unhappy knowing that I am paying 3 other people mortgages indirectly through my taxes (sorry I mean fees) every month.

    That’s like me telling my employer they can’t fire me because I need to buy  a new sports car.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Opposition members are obliged to request that the UDP remove their leader and appoint someone else.  I fear his actions and ideology are not backed by the people (even those that voted for him) and are setting us on a course towards physical conflicts and civil unrest.  Pitchforks and placards are not good for business.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is shameful. However, good Caymanian people, there is a saying, "A country will get the leaders it deserves". I suppose that is quite true in this instance – you the people voted this bunch in and people like me who refused to vote for either of these so called parties must suffer along with you for your ignorance. Next election I pray that everyone will put aside small minded ignorance and look at the long term needs, including protection, of this country before making a choice for inept politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      There was not much choice , as the Independents was not the answer.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Government/MLAs are responsible for the debt Cayman is in and so they can take at least a 20% cut in salary….stop putting this on the people and residents of Cayman and step up to the plate already!

  16. Anonymous says:

    If there’s anyone there who is actually serious, they can just hand back a check for 20% of their salary. They could even invite the media to watch and make sure everyone knows about it.

  17. Rorschach says:

    "was not going to cut his pay by 30% as he paid three mortgages of constituents as well as his own from his salary ".


    Really, Mr. Bush???  If, I, as a member of the public who is paying your salary by way of fees and duties, am also, vicariously paying the mortgages of three of your constiutuants, then I DEMAND to know who these people are and what their circumstances are that force you to pay their personal bills…

    Am I the only person to whom this whole mess stinks, and couldn’t this be seen as a conflict of interest?? 


  18. Anonymous says:

    "he was not going to cut his pay by 30% as he paid three mortgages of constituents as well as his own from his salary, and while everyone criticised him for the benefits he now got as a premier, that was not his salary, most of which he gave to other people. “I know all members here are bombarded with requests from constituents and I pay out half my salary,” he added."

    Really? I can’t believe he used this as a valid point. How about how about helping his constituents (more than likely family) find the right means of covering their own expenses, or making wise decisions that help lower cost of living and not raise it. This is why he gets voted in he spend half his salary monthly buying his West Bay supporters.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Warnig all Caymanians                          .

    You will get what you deserve if you continue to let this group do whatever they wish.

    It is time to stand up to your leaders.  They are there to serve you and not themselves.


  20. Anonymous says:

    Actions speak louder than words!!!!

  21. wonderment says:

     A pay cut for a good cause would be nice. I can’t see why with all the monies they got, how a 20 or 30% pay cut would do them harm. So what if the cuts reduce them below the level of certain CEO’s and managers. The pay cut would be a noble gesture and would hush the opposition. I can’t understand why the MLA’s can’t show such a leadership role for the country

    • Anonymous says:

      Whether it is a political opportunist or not it is the right thing to do. Just look at those civil servants those working in Post Offices etc that is making alittle over $1300 per month, can you imagine having to cut something like $40 odd dollars from that little bit of money. Shame on you all, self righteous bunch dont your Bibles tell you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? This is a down right shame, only thinking of yourselves. There will be a day of reckoning for this three years is just down the road. What if Jesus comes before then I know he will deal with it fair.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry to dissappoint you and ruin your delusions but Jesus is notgonna come down and sort out Cayman’s finances, the same way he’s not going to stop Caymanian criminals ruining the island either.

        Real problems need real solutions not some half witted statements about how Jesus will come and save us and make the required spending cuts fair. Don’tbe so stupid and naive.

        Pull your head out of your behind.

        The whole civil service is overpaid compared to their private sector counterparts. They should carry out an external benchmarking exercise to find equivilent private sector roles and adjust the pay and benefits for each government role to the benchmarked private sector role. The  they’ll wish they took the 10% flat pay cut when they realise they are 30% better off than somebody doing the equivilent job in commerce.

        Government and civil service needs to swallow some serious cuts, whether that be salary and/or benefits. All us private sector workers have already had years of pay freezes, pay cuts, redundancies etc as our employers cut back. We cannot afford to keep paying for inflated civil service salaries when our own incomes are shrinking.

        • Anonymous says:

          I can read that you are not Caymanian as the worst of Caymanian are God fearing . However there will be an election in three years from now and even though you might not be able to vote but we Caymanians will make a change. But being a believer in the Bible with all the present happenings its no doubt that His coming is near, and whether its not near I DO BELIEVE THAT THAT HE WILL PUT AN END TO ALL THIS WRONG IN cAYMAN VERY SOON.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes we know Mack that senior positions in Government is up to par with Politicians, but the public has long talked about that too. For what are they earning so much for such as spouses of politicians. It is unbelievable that some of these folks earn as much as $15000 per month. One of the best run GovernmentDepartments the Fire service the Chief didnt and the most recent dont make half as much, and that job is considered dangerous. I cant understand how we went so wrong.  THERE NEED TO BE A RESTRUCTURE ON ALL CIVIL SERVANTS PAY AND THE POLITICIANS. Those that are making under $2000 should be given a raise. Those with those thousands should come down. THAT WOULD BE FAIR.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I like the statement, "Bush said cutting MLA salaries by more than 3.2% was no longer required to balance the budget".  It truly shows why Mac had been in the LA for 25+ years and did nothing to stop Cayman from getting to where it is today.

    It seems like, "Hey they extended credit to us, so there is no need to cut back now, let’s spend like we have it."

    That high school diploma should have served him better!  LOL

  23. Anonymous says:

    So there it is, folks, Mr. Bush and his UDP colleagues have left us in no doubt as to where they stand on the need for austerity when it comes to themselves.  

    "Bush said cutting MLA salaries by more than 3.2% was no longer required to balance the budget so there was no point and he was not going to cut his pay by 30% as he paid three mortgages of constituents as well as his own from his salary"

    It is ridiculous to say that it was no longer required to balance the budget. Didn’t he say he was pressing for more cuts in govt. expenditure? Doesn’t the budget provide for new LOANS of over $150m? Doesn’t he understand that "balanced budget" means that REVENUES are as great or greater than expenditures and that you therefore can’t balance a budget with loans? Does our Minister of Finance not know the difference between deficit spending and balanced budget?

    As for the second part, if that is indeed true, as far as I am concerned that is tantamount to an admission to buying the votes of his constituents. But didn’t he know that when he originally offered the 30% pay cut?

    The truth is that Mr. Bush does not need his salary at all because his expenses are paid as Premier plus he also has a $10,000 per month pension from the govt. in addition to any income from his real estate company.  

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       I’m little slow on the up take…..If I read this correctly no MLA/CIG salary adjustments down because the budget is balanced meaning that the CIG is borrowing more and more money that the country is responsible so the MLA’s and the CIG can continue to have large fat salaries at our expense and around and around and around we go…..

  24. Anonymous says:

    This just goes from BAD to WORSE! After the shocking revelations of the premiers ‘perks’ concerning his residence’s & other needless bills being paid for by the people of Cayman, & after the proposed 25 cents per gallon increase on fuel by the premier (who does not care because he does not pay his electrical & gas bills), we now hear that he & his UDP colleagues have rejected a motion over MLA pay cut.

    What power do we, the people have that can remove this bunch of selfish, selfserving & egotistical politicians? We simply cannot allow this shame to go on any longer! They have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are more concerned about themselves & their well being than the good of the Cayman people.

    I do not care if it is by referendum, a petition or a massive march but something must now be done. This is not why we elected them. The UDP government has made things worse for Caymanians, not better as they promised ("a better way forward" my aXX), & it is now time to put a stop to it BEFORE it gets any worse!

    • Anonymous says:

      WHY should the MLAs compare salaries to the civil servants who have to work 40 years to get their pension when you get yours  in 4 short years.  You should therefore get less pay YES! LESS!

      • Anonymous says:

        Furthermore, most of these people in Government earning top salaries earned it by investing in a propper education and matching that with appropriate skills and experience.

        These politicians won a popularity contest by virtue of them being deemed the lesser of 2 evils in May of last year.

        With their current academic levels and lack of professional qualifications, who would have ever compensated Elio, Dwayne or even the Captain at some $120,000 plus per year?

        I therefore do not understand where you get off comparing yourselves to Chief Officers and CEOs.

        You ought to be ashamed of yourselves if that is the best excuse you can come up with.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone from either bench defend their 20% raise at a time when the country is broke?  Man-up and put it to a vote.  Those from any party that vote to keep their raise are morally bankrupt and should be removed from candidacy in the next election. 

    • Anonymous says:

      In fairness, it is not a 20% raise, but the failure to take a 20% pay cut (30% for the Premier) that they committed to in March but now saying that the country doesn’t need it. 



      • Anonymous says:

        If the UDP dont know how unpopular they are then I suggest that they start reading CNS. Whilst everyone writes Mack this is meant for the entire group as he cant do all this without your support.

        • Jab-Jab says:

          Actually yes, yes he can. He doesn’t need ‘your’ support until the next election. And then he doesn’t need ‘your’ support unless you supported his party last time. Remember, party politics means that neither ‘the average’ nor ‘every’ voter counts. Just the party members.