Take A Pay Cut? Not So Sure

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | December 07, 2017 4:52 am MST
Photo Credit: Sherine Williams/BVI Platinum News
Taking a pay cut from his salary as a Government Minister is not a question Hon. Mark Vanterpool is prepared to directly address at this time.

Since the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Government Ministers have been challenged to take a salary reduction to match that of backbenchers and opposition members. This was proposed as one measure to help put much needed money towards the rebuilding process.

However, Hon. Vanterpool, who is the Minister for Communications and Works, believes that the issue cannot be dealt with in isolation.

“I don’t like to discuss matters like that in a context like that, but in terms of our economy and trying to get it back, I think we all want to work hard. If it means coming to that we will, but our effort is to build the economy back so that we can continue doing what we did before,” he said yesterday, December 6.

The Minister was responding to BVI Platinum News’ direct question on whether he is willing to take a pay cut.

When further asked, “does that mean yes?” the Works Minister clarified, “I didn’t say that.”

He continued, “I said I think we have to look at it in a broader overall context and I am not just going to go around saying that we want to cut our salaries or cut people’s salaries without looking at the overall context as to what we are trying to do.”

The Minister reiterated that government is focused on working towards rebuilding the economy.

The conversation started when Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Fahie, called on Cabinet Ministers to take a pay cut which would match that of backbenchers and the Opposition.

Deputy Premier and Natural Resources and Labour Minister, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering was also asked about the possibility of Ministers taking a pay cut and he told residents in East End/Long Look, "Nothing is wrong with that, whatever has to happen to make this country function, it will happen.”

Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith has also shrugged off the question.

The only Minister who has answered the question directly thus far is Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister of Education and Culture. However, he went a little further where he called on all Members of the House of Assembly, including his Government colleagues and the Opposition, to take a 50 percent pay cut.

He said that if there is to be an impact, then all legislators need to take a pay cut.

“I am prepared to cut mine by 50 percent and I want anybody in the House of Assembly to step up and say the same thing,” he previously told BVI Platinum News.
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