Magistrates on stand-by to quit jobs over housing allowance, no response from Gov’t
By Alfred Sasako
GOVERNMENT lawyers in the Magistrates Court have threatened to resign en masse unless their housing allowance is increased to $7,500 a month immediately, sources told Island Sun.
The threat was contained in a letter sent to Secretary to Cabinet (STC), James Remobatu about a month ago. It is understood the Chief Justice was also copied in on the letter.
But to date there has been no response by the Government.
Mr Remobatu was sent an email yesterday afternoon about the matter but there was no response from him.
It is understood lawyers serving as Magistrates are receiving $5,000 in rentals per month.
However due to price increases in accommodation rentals, the lawyers now feel the current rental allowance is not sufficient.
As a result, they have asked the government to consider raising the rate to $7,500 a month. It is understood this week is the deadline.
Many are understood to have lined up outside jobs with better terms and conditions.
“They have threatened to resign en masse if their request is not approved. Should that happen it would be a huge blow to the courts, which in the 18 months has seen a huge increase in criminal cases,” one observer told Island Sun yesterday.
“Cases of rapes and other criminal activities have increased substantially in the last 18 months and no one seems to place a finger on the reason(s) for this.
“It could well be that policing has been effective or that individuals have become aware of their rights and report these to police,” the observer said.
The observer said should Magistrates resign en masse, there would a huge backlog in cases.