Trade Unions call on Govt. to reveal data about pay to consultants
Members of the trade union movement have joined other groups in calling for the government to break its silence regarding reports that it is forking out millions of dollars to pay consultants and assistants.
The concerns are being raised, following a Gleaner expose, indicating that at least 8 ministries are paying 40 consultants and assistants nearly a $100 m annually.
The Jamaica Civil Service Association and the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO) are demanding answers in light of the country's economic challenges, reflected in recent wage freezes and the austerity budget presented last month.
The unions want the government to give details of the consultants and assistants hired so persons can find out if those contracts are indeed necessary.
President of the Civil Service Association O'neill Grant, says his groups has been expressing concern for years now as too many consultants are usually hired unnecessarily.
He says the government already has enough people to do the very work they are employing consultants and advisors to perform.
His views are shared by General Secretary of JALGO Helene Davis-Whyte.
Mrs. Davis-Whyte is not buying the usual explanation that the government consultants and assistants are necessary as they are offering value for money.
Meantime, the government remains mum regarding reports that it's paying out millions to several consultants, despite the economic challenges gripping the country.
Irie FM News has been trying to get a response from the government but up to news time, none of the relevant ministers was available for a comment, as their phones rang without an answer.
A Gleaner report revealed yesterday (July 8) that 8 ministries were reviewed of the complement of 16 and were found to be forking out nearly $100 m each year, to pay 40 consultants and several assistants.
The report indicates that the amounts of money could grow, considering the gratuity clause, written into the contracts which from between one and three years.
The Dr. Peter Phillips-led Ministry of Finance and Planning is said to have hired nine contract officers, reflecting the largest number in any of the 8 ministries listed.
Those 9 finance ministry advisors are being paid $22.6 m/ year.
The Ministry of Education, with 4 advisors, is paying out the second largest amount of $14.7 m annually.
The other ministries include the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Justice.
Irie FM News has been trying to reach the Finance Minister for an explanation, but his phone has been ringing without an answer.
Information Minister Sandrea Falconer said she was not able to speak with our newsroom, as she was in a Cabinet meeting.