Constitutional office holders get salary increases

All holders of constitutional offices, including judges and members of commissions such at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), are being given salary increases in line with those which were granted to public servants.

According to an Order published yesterday in the Official Gazette but dated December 3rd, 2019, the schedule of the Constitutional Offices (Remuneration of Holders) Act is amended to that as of January 1, 2019 and the new minimum wage of $70,000 will apply to those officers who received $64,220 or less. Additionally, those previously receiving more than $64,000 but less than $100,000 will receive a 9% salary increase, while those earning between $100,000 and $1 million will receive an 8.5% increase.

Finally, according to the Order, those earning more than $1 million will receive a 3% increase. This aspect of the increase was not included in the public announcement of the increases made by Presi-dent David Granger on November 13th, 2019.

The Act lists officers who hold constitutional offices, such as Supreme Court Judges, the Auditor General, and the Chair and members of GECOM, the Public Service Commission, and the Police Service Commission.

Also listed is the President of Guyana. A source knowledgeable about the increases told this newspaper that the salary increase does not relate to President Granger’s remuneration

“It’s for judges, chairpersons of the various commission, members of those commissions, the Auditor General…persons such as those. Not ministers and the President and them,” the source explained.

While at least one opposition activist has attempted to link the Order to a further increase of the salaries of ministers and parliamentarians, those officers are paid under a separate act.

In 2015, the Ministers, Members of the National Assembly and Special Offices Emoluments Act was controversially amended to grant an increase of approximately 50% to all office holders.

Following the 2015 Order, Cabinet ministers received $10,439,124 annually, a 50% increase from what was previously stated in the Principal Act. Junior ministers received $8,346,492, an over 16% increase from the annual salary of a Cabinet minister under the former administration, which was $6,959,412 annually.

The Prime Minister received $20,580,000 annually, an over $2 million increase from what was previously stipulated in the Principal Act, taking his monthly salary to over $1.7 million.

Vice-Presidents, other than the Prime Minister, are being paid $11,135,064 per annum.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, as well as the Leader of the Opposition also received a 50% increase, keeping their salaries on par with Cabinet ministers.

In the midst of the controversy both President Granger and Minister of Finance Winston Jordan declared that the 2015 increase would be the only increases received by Minister for the duration of the APNU+AFC’s tenure.