3 August 2021
On Friday, 30 July 2021, Legislative Council voted against the Independent Body’s remuneration recommendations for Elected Members under the new Ministerial system. The remuneration levels recommended represent a substantial increase over the present amounts received by Councillors.
The proposals for remuneration included the following increases:
- Non-Ministerial councillors would receive £20,000 per year – a 42% increase over current Legislative Council remuneration
- Ministers would receive £35,000 per year – a 94% increase over current Executive Council Member remuneration
- The Chief Minister would receive £50,000 per year – a 177% increase over current Executive Council Member remuneration.
The Independent Body’s review and recommendations of the remuneration, benefits and allowances for Elected Members was published in July and can be found at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/46-2021-Annex-A-Report-of-the-Independent-Body-Remuneration-and-Allowances-Elected-Members-1.pdf
Legislative Council had the authority to either accept the recommended remuneration levels and various other benefits and allowances or to accept lower amounts than those recommended.
The public is advised, including those who may be considering to stand for elected office, that the same recommended levels of remuneration, benefits and allowances will be presented for approval at the start of the first Legislative Council meeting following the General Election. With the commencement of the ministerial system of government, the opportunity exists for a wide range of candidates to stand for election and to take St Helena forward towards a more prosperous future.
The Independent Body undertook an excellent piece of work in accordance with the intent enshrined in the 2009 Constitution. That is, the level of remuneration, benefits and allowances for Elected Members, Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be set independently of elected government or the Governor’s Office by Islanders drawn from the community of St Helena. The four members of the Independent Body undertook their role with diligence, careful consideration and impartiality and should be congratulated for their efforts. It should also be noted the Independent Body was not given a ceiling figure for any recommendations. They were proactive in seeking views and information from councillors, public officials, the private sector and within the community, as well as assessing the expected work demands on councillors, ministers and the chief minister. The members of the Independent Body demonstrated an impressive public spirit and received no payment for their work.
The Governor has reflected on the debate during the 30 July Legislative Council meeting and is satisfied the Independent Body acted in accordance with its remit and within the Constitution. The Governor is also satisfied the remuneration levels recommended are both appropriate and sufficiently generous to attract councillors to serve St Helena. There is absolutely no intention to repeat the work of the Independent Body, as has been suggested by some councillors. Consequently, the remuneration levels recommended by the Independent Body will remain the amounts to be presented for agreement to the first Legislative Council after the General Election.
Governor’s Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
3 August 2021