The government has now clarified what began last week as a political game. Certain political activists sounded off against Deputy Governor Anya Williams and Premier Rufus Ewing, saying on a weblog that Williams and Ewing had conspired in secret to give only the permanent secretaries a 15% pay raise.
It appears that Williams has become a target of known activists connected to the former Michael Misick administration. Ewing is also being targeted by the same activists for being too close to British advisers.
A press release from the government has confirmed there was a pay raise but the raise is only a restoration of the 10% cut in salary imposed early in the interim administration. In fact, this restoration was promised by the interim government, which made the cut and restoration promise long before elected government returned to the islands.
The statement has, however, caused some confusion on the restoration issue, indicating that most civil servants have had the pay cut restored because it was part of the newly approved budget. However, there is some indication that certain civil servants, whose responsibilities do not appear to require a restoration of the pay-cut, may have been passed over.
The government release says: “A salary pay and grade review exercise was conducted last year [obviously long before the election] and it is the intention of the government to implement these new salary scales with adjustments where necessary.”
This, coupled with a further government statement, seems to indicate that there may be a possibility of larger raises in some jobs. This conclusion comes from the following government statement: “This will have the effect of raising the salaries of those civil servants working in posts for which the salary is not in keeping with skill and responsibility level required for the job.”
This also follows pre-election promises by the Interim administration and now may be responsible for the allegations that the premier and the British are acting in concert.
Meanwhile, two other events seem to have added to the fray. Ewing, when campaigning for an election, attempted in vain to organise a protest by civil servants for restoration of the cut. In fact, this attempt seemed to generate additional civil service layoffs. More recently, the acting governor, Attorney General Huw Shepheard, described the claim of a 15% raise for the permanent secretaries as part of what he called the “silly season”.
According to a statement sent on behalf of the governor’s spokesman Neil Smith in response to questions asking about the alleged 15% pay rise given to permanent secretaries, acting governor Huw Shepheard said, "This story appears to be the result of ‘silly season’ -- it is simply not true."
This statement prompted a number of behind the scenes exchanges as to the “silly season” and when it will end, including a list of pointed questions posed by another weblog:
When will one PNP politician or political hack ever admit that Michael Misick did anything wrong?
When will one PNP politician or political hack ever admit that the hospital contract has left us all bankrupt?
When will one PNP politician or political hack ever admit that cronyism led to the stevedoring contract?
When will one PNP politician or political hack ever admit that billions of dollars of the people's land was stolen?