Hill to pocket $17 mil­lion as Shaw’s chief ad­viser

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jo­van John­son Staff Re­porter jo­van.john­son@glean­erjm.com

Says gov’t posts taken out of ‘love for coun­try’

AUBYN HILL, who will pocket ap­prox­i­mately $17 mil­lion over three years as the chief tech­ni­cal ad­viser to Aud­ley Shaw, fi­nance and pub­lic ser­vice min­is­ter, has said, most of his work with the gov­ern­ment is vol­un­tary and be­ing done out of “love for coun­try”.

Along with his di­rect in­flu­ence over gov­ern­ment pol­icy, un­der­pinned by the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF) deal, Hill also serves as deputy pres­i­dent of the Se­nate.

He chairs the boards of the Na­tional Water Com­mis­sion and the Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­mis­sion and is a mem­ber of the board of the PetroCaribe De­vel­op­ment Fund.

The for­mer banker said he does not get a salary for his role as an am­bas­sador. For his Se­nate mem­ber­ship, he gets a stipend of $17,000 per sit­ting. The board mem­ber­ships also come with stipends.

Hill is one of eight con­tract of­fi­cers who were em­ployed to Shaw’s of­fice be­tween March and Septem­ber this year.

Ac­cord­ing to data re­ceived un­der the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act, salaries, which also cov­ered trav­el­ling, amounted to $20 mil­lion be­fore two spe­cial as­sis­tants were ter­mi­nated in July and Septem­ber.

JOB RE­QUIRE­MENTS

The chief ad­viser said his job is to of­fer tech­ni­cal ad­vice on fi­nance and re­lated is­sues to Shaw.

“I do lots of other pro bono work. The Min­istry of Fi­nance is the only thing that I get a salary for, and I do a lot of other stuff. We come to serve, and that’s what we’re do­ing,” he said.

“There’s a lit­tle stipend for a board fee, but that’s noth­ing at all com­pared to what one does in the pri­vate sec­tor. That’s not why you’re there. You’re there to serve.”

On why he ac­cepted the po­si­tions, he as­serted:

LATIBEAUDIERE

“At this stage of my life, what am I go­ing to do ex­cept try­ing to give back to my coun­try? I’ve been writ­ing in The Gleaner for over four, five years – much longer than that. That was also giv­ing back. I’m just chang­ing the lo­ca­tion. Rather than at The Gleaner, I now serve the Gov­ern­ment,” said the banker of 35 years.

The Har­vard Business School grad­u­ate added: “It is love for coun­try and I have chil­dren who are com­ing through. I have neph­ews and nieces who are com­ing through. I have friends who have chil­dren who I want to see live in a suc­cess­ful coun­try, and that’s why I’m do­ing it.”

Hill chaired the Eco­nomic Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil Hol­ness set up while in Op­po­si­tion. That coun­cil came up with the elec­tion-win­ning, but Peo­ple’s Na­tional party-mocked, 10-point plan, which in­cluded the pop­u­lar $1.5-mil­lion tax break prom­ise.

The prom­ise was var­ied – split into two, with the sec­ond phase to cost $16 bil­lion and to be im­ple­mented on April 1, 2017 – after Hol­ness got into of­fice.

The chief ad­viser said he could not re­veal much on how the Gov­ern­ment would find the money with­out im­pos­ing new taxes on Ja­maicans.

IMF doc­u­ments have sug­gested that the ad­di­tional funds could come from a re­vised prop­erty tax sys­tem.

“I’m not in a po­si­tion to com­ment on this. It’s a work in progress. Clearly, if the IMF says it, there have been dis­cus­sions with the IMF. So we will leave it at that un­til we do a lot more work,” he said.

Un­der the three-year con­tract signed on Au­gust 2, Hill will take home $4.5 mil­lion in ba­sic salary in ad­di­tion to $1.2 mil­lion for trav­el­ling, an­nu­ally.

For­mer Com­mis­sioner of Taxes Vi­ralee Latibeaudiere is the se­nior tech­ni­cal ad­viser to Shaw. Her ba­sic salary is $3.6 mil­lion and she re­ceives a trav­el­ling al­lowance of $1.2 mil­lion.

Latibeaudiere had lost a court bid to over­turn a de­ci­sion of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion to sack her in 2012 fol­low­ing her ap­point­ment in July 2011 un­der the Bruce Gold­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ge­orge Planto, a Ja­maica Labour Party mem­ber who failed in Mon­day’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion for the Pap­ine di­vi­sion, is also un­der a three-year con­tract worth $1.8 mil­lion per year.

Nine con­tract of­fi­cers were hired to as­sist the pre­vi­ous Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Dr Peter Phillips. They cost $22.6 mil­lion.

BA­SIC SALARY

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