While Mr and Mrs Bermuda suffer under new taxes rising health care costs and with no signs of any economic stimulus, the Premier must set an example and cut the cost of his Cabinet and private entourage, according to the One Bermuda Alliance.
Shadow Finance Minister Nick Kempe said Ministerial salaries have increased to more than $1.36m with more Ministers – including one without a portfolio – despite fewer ministries and declarations of intent to streamline Government.
“This time last year when the Premier had a smaller Cabinet cost and was in charge of the Ministry of Finance his personal staff cost $413,000 a year. Why has more Cabinet support and is no longer the Minister of Finance?
“These are big increases at a time when the average Bermudian is already paying more in taxes, with many more taxes on the Premier’s agenda for next year. It would seem that only the political elites are benefiting in this declining economy.
“Whilst I fully appreciate that a Premier’s job is 24/7, a rise of more than $80,000 in the cost of personal staff is huge. I know many people who would like a job on a salary of $80,000 a year.
“This year the support staff consists of Chief of Staff, Owen Darrell, on $125,000 a year; a secondment from the Department of Child and Family Services, whose PS35 grade puts the salary at $112,000; a Special Advisor who is being paid $108,000; an admin assistant on $63,000; a housekeeper/cook who is paid the equivalent of $68,000 a year and a baby sitter on $1,900 a month.
“Economic observers are warning of a looming recession, there is no economic stimulus plan, Government is taxing at a time when the economy is on a downward spiral, our debt continues to grow and we face new external threats as the effect of Brexit and the EU substance legislation.
“It is unconscionable that in these times, the Premier should be acting in this very privileged fashion that is light years away from the lifestyles of most of the Bermudians who voted for him.”