Dunkley wants OBA to promise cuts to Ministerial salaries
Opposition Senator Michael Dunkley has said he will push for drastic cuts to Ministerial salaries to be included in the One Bermuda Alliance’s platform in the next election.
The Shadow National Security Minister told followers of the party’s Facebook page that reducing public expenditure should be a “top priority” for the next Government, adding that he would support a 20 percent cut to existing Ministerial salaries.
“There’s a number of reasons why I think it’s appropriate. Many people are hurting at this present time and people in leadership positions need to lead by example,” said Senator Dunkley last night, expanding on his earlier comments. The people want to know that their politicians have some skin in the game.”
Senator Dunkley said his proposed pay cuts would not be reversed until Ministers could prove to the public that “certain things were achieved”.
He added that he also favoured reducing the number of Ministerial portfolios by two, and believes that the public could still get value for money from a smaller Cabinet.
The debate over Ministerial pay was brought to the fore in April when Premier Paula Cox said she would resist the “politics of appeasement” by refusing a symbolic pay cut.
She has since indicated that she would consider a reduction in pay, providing senior civil servants follow suit, but last night said she had nothing to add on the subject.
“I have no further comment on the ministerial salary issue, as I am already on record,” said Ms Cox.
“What Michael Dunkley proposes to do as leader of the Opposition is very low on my list of concerns. The Government’s focus is on job creation, reducing criminal activity, maintaining Bermuda’s attractiveness as a premier jurisdiction for financial services, enhancing the quality of the service that the public receive from Government departments, and generally ensuring that the public are getting what they need during this extended period of slow economic growth globally. Internal Opposition party electioneering and publicity courting activities are of no interest to me when matters of far more importance require my attention.”
Meanwhile, Government MP and former UBP leader Wayne Furbert last night dismissed Senator Dunkley’s proposal as a political ploy.
“I think Michael is electioneering, particularly if he’s trying to become leader of the OBA,” said Mr Furbert, who accused former UBP colleagues of voting against past parliamentary and ministerial pay increases while privately supporting them.
“What they’re trying to do is have their cake and eat it too. The majority of [the OBA’s] members are significantly wealthier than those in the PLP.
“Many own their own companies like Michael [Dunkley] and Grant [Gibbons] and can afford to cut 20 percent … they can afford to play those types of games.”
“It’s a political ploy laid down by them, it sounds nice but we need to get back to the real work to get the economy going”.