(Caribbeannewsservice) – Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) continues to forgo his full salary and benefits, in a show of solidarity with persons who are affected financially by the economic shutdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his monthly press conference on September 22, 2020, Mr. Brantley confirmed that he has gone without pay for several months, since the shutdown and intends to continue until such time as the Nevis economy improves.
“My foregoing of my salary has continued to date, so I’ve now gone seven months foregoing whatever salary obligations and commitments.
“I did say until the end of this pandemic, but I don’t know whether this pandemic is going to end, so I have no idea when again I will be able to collect a salary,” he said.
Premier Brantley, in April 2020, announced that he would forgo his salary package until the COVID-19 pandemic had passed.
Cabinet Ministers in the NIA had also taken a 10 per cent pay cut starting May 2020, for three months.
The Premier said the Ministers’ salaries have likely been restored, noting the personal sacrifice the Cabinet had made in a time of crisis.
“When one is in a leadership position one has to try to demonstrate that in difficult times we try to understand what people are dealing with, and it was a gesture we thought would indicate and send the right message to our people, in that very small symbolic way, show that we are part of that struggle with them.
“We hope that soon we will be able to resume some sense of normalcy,” he said.
In addition to the salary cuts, Cabinet members collectively contributed $13,500 each month for three months that was used to provide food vouchers of $150 each for the most vulnerable across the island, to ensure families did not go hungry.
The food vouchers, which were redeemable at leading supermarkets on the island, were distributed in June, July and August. Private individuals also contributed to the Cabinet’s initiative for a total value of financial input of over $93,000.