Despite mounting criticism even from many of its supporters, the David Granger led administration is continuing to defend its decision to give increases of 10% to 50% in salaries to Ministers and all Members of Parliament.
Minister of State, Joe Harmon who last week declared that the Government had no apologies for the move, was absent from the post-cabinet press briefing on Wednesday morning. Instead, it was Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman who faced the media.
Trotman said the people of Guyana offered their support and trust to the APNU+AFC when it was running for office, and he now looks forward to that same trust from the nation with the salary increases issue.
“We say to the people of Guyana to trust us. You have trusted us with government on May 11 and we ask you to continue to trust and believe in us. I think that if you were to do a comparative study of all of the salaries of government and judicial officers across the region, you will find that these are no way above or above the norm”, Trotman said.
He disclosed that the decision to increase the salaries received unanimous support from cabinet.
According to Mr. Trotman, the government had received two proposals for salary increases and both of those proposals that were turned down, were higher than what the administration eventually settled on.
Trotman said salary increases for government officials have never been popular in any part of the world and it was not an issue of timing, although when one reflects, there could be the argument that the timing was not best.
The Minister of Governance further disclosed that public servants could expect adjustments to their salaries that would be based on recommendations that will be put to government by the Public Service Commission of Inquiry.
Several trade unions and civil society groups have expressed outrage over the decision by the 5-month -old government to increase the salaries of government ministers and Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister has gotten a 10% increase to his salary while the senior Ministers in the government received a 50% increase along with the Opposition Leader.
Junior Ministers and other Members of Parliament have been given a 19% increase in their salaries.
Earlier this year the government announced a 5% salary increase for public servants with an additional $5000 on their salaries. However, not all public servants received the $5000 salary top up.