“There will be no increases in salaries for Government Ministers and Members of Parliament at this time. However, there is an ongoing review of current salaries being conducted by Professor Lutchman, to bring them in line with legal requirements. Numbers quoted in the press were grossly inflated.” Trotman Wednesday August 5
This is as near a perfect response to the rumours of 100% increases generated by the Times as one can get. An open ended denial….clear and concise. Trouble is it is about five days late and a lot of damage has already been done.
From the opening comment on August 1 by Minister Jordan who failed to appreciate that this was an inquiry from the Times of all papers on what is a universally hot button topic. “The increase in Ministers salary is under consideration. All people that concern the House of Assembly, so that will include Chief Whip, the Opposition, Ministers, and Vice Presidents and so on,” he told them without knowing the figures the paper would go on to write, thus making it look like those were the increases under consideration.
The next day Granger steps in but was too vague, only telling “iNews during a very brief comment on Sunday August 02 that the considerations being made to the salary increases are meant to establish a pay grade. The President explained that this will “differentiate” between Presidential Advisors, Ministers, Junior Ministers, Members of Parliament, and other persons who will be affected. The President would not speak further on the issue.” And crucially he did not deny the numbers being spouted by the Times whose story “The 100 per cent pay hike which is being considered…could see the country’s treasury being depleted by $245 million annually..” was now looking increasingly credible.
Onto Monday and Nagamootoo’s attempt to defuse the situation only made it worse:”…he said that there would be an increase because of the fact that “there has been a reduction in the number of ministries, and also it would be used as a method of preventing ministers from putting their hands into the cookie jars.” Firstly it matters not about the number of ministries because there are far more ministers. He also did not deny the increases as enumerated in the media. They must be true!
So to this morning and Trotman who obviously read something prepared which settles the matter for now but also leaves the impression in many minds that the delay was because the government was intending to make the same increases but has now backed down. People power! This is another press relations botch and one has to wonder if the politicians understand the concepts of managing information, of setting and controlling the political narrative and how vital it is to their being able to actually run the country.That is what public relations professionals are for and sometimes the politicians need to take their advice or let Rohee and the Times decide what is news.