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What value have public servants added to get pay raise?

Published:Saturday | June 3, 2023 | 12:07 AM


The Chartist movement was the first mass movement driven by the working classes in England. It grew following the failure of the 1832 Reform Act to extend the vote beyond those owning property. In 1838 a People’s Charter was drawn up for the London Working Men’s Association that included six demands, including, members of parliament (MPs) should be paid.

It was not until the 1911 Parliament Act was passed, that is, 112 years ago that payments for MPs were approved in England.

Here in Jamaica, we are currently debating the relevance of a 200 per cent increase for the political directorate/class, coming just after post COVID-19 pandemic. On the streets, some believe that these increases now allow elected politicians to be able to meet the approval of the Integrity Commission, as their salaries will meet/cover their secret declarations each year. The increase has also incite persons in mobilising a campaign to oust both major political parties in the next general elections. The fact that our politicians having mismanaged the economy for years, while over taxing the people and keeping increase in salaries within a three per cent margin, now give themselves a 200 per cent increase, jeopardises the movement towards republican status.

One of the discussions we need to have at this time is how has our MPs and councillors in their constituencies and divisions added value to the parish they were elected to serve. The presence of so many crime hot spot communities are the result of growing poverty, and the failure in the responsibilities of the municipalities, parish development committees and members of parliament along with the local chambers of commerce to implement meaningful employment, job creation and living wages, outside the annual debushing of roads.

Delroy Chuck’s claim that MPs will give away more of their salaries in assisting the needy, reflects the patronising and backwardness of political representation built on handouts, rather than employment opportunities for self-sufficiency. Only the rich often foregoes their salary, donating it to charity, in exchange for their service to the people. Former councillor and mayor of Mandeville, Cecil Charlton, had his salary sent to the Salvation Army. It was what people do who were satisfied with their own resources. He also sought to provide employment for people in need.


Mandeville, Manchester