Temporary ministers paid $240 extra a day

  • Stepping up to job: David Burt with Lawrence Scott, who was temporary Minister of Tourism and Transport for ten days, and John Rankin, the Governor (Photograph provided)

    Stepping up to job: David Burt with Lawrence Scott, who was temporary Minister of Tourism and Transport for ten days, and John Rankin, the Governor (Photograph provided)

Backbenchers can earn about $240 extra a day as temporary government ministers.

Two MPs have taken on the roles of Cabinet members a total of four times since last August.

A government spokeswoman explained: “Primarily, this is an opportunity for our MPs to gain valuable experience. To learn, grow and get hands-on, first- hand knowledge of real issues and challenges.”

She added: “There is a slight salary adjustment.

“All salary adjustments are deducted from the minister and members’ cost centre — the Legislature budget.”

Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, was sworn in on January 10 as the temporary Minister for Tourism and Transport for ten days.

He acted in the role while Zane De Silva, the post holder, was travelling.

The spokeswoman explained that when MPs or senators served as temporary ministers, their salary was “prorated based on the minister’s salary per the Ministers and Members’ Resolution”.

She said that in Mr Scott’s case, the remuneration was calculated by dividing the minister’s portion of pay by 12 months, multiplied by the number of days the member acted, split by the number of days in that month.

She added: “Lawrence Scott’s gross daily pay amounts to $250.66 before taxes and $240.64 after taxes, for the period of his appointment.”

A government press release earlier this month said that Neville Tyrrell, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, was the only other temporary minister to have been appointed.

He acted for Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, from August 14 to September 1 last year, while Ms Wilson was off the island.

David Burt, the Premier, said then: “The Bermuda Constitution affords me the right to name members of the legislature, who do not sit in Cabinet, to act for minsters while they travel.

“This has happened in the past when the Junior Minister of Finance acted for various ministers while they were abroad.”

Mr Tyrrell was also acting health minister from November 20 to 29 in 2019 and took on ministerial responsibilities from January 2 to 12 this year.

A government spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the calculation for any temporary minister’s pay was the same.

Mr Burt explained earlier this month that the “constitutional provision” that allowed the premier to appoint a member of the House of Assembly or Senate as a temporary minister was not new.

He added: “However, given the size of our parliamentary majority, I’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to allow members of the legislature to develop professionally when a minister is travelling for a long term.”

The 2019-20 Budget Book listed MPs’ salaries as $56,023 and senators’ as $30,367.

The Budget Book added most full-time ministers would be paid an extra $100,841 on top of their basic pay.

The additional salary for the Attorney-General was listed at $147,022 and the Minister of Finance received an extra $121,010.

The present Cabinet has 12 members, including the Premier.

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Published Jan 24, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 24, 2020 at 7:57 am)

Temporary ministers paid $240 extra a day

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