Former President and current Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo was flabbergasted that the very politicians who previously cried about the “raping of the Treasury” to fund pensions, salaries and benefits of past government officials are now moving to the Parliament to grant former Mayor Hamilton Green a Prime Minister’s pension package.
“Suddenly, from not being able to afford for Jagdeo, they cut our benefits and increase benefits for 27 Ministers, three Vice Presidents, a Prime Minister and a President when they got into Office,” he lashed out during a news conference on Wednesday at the PPP’s Freedom House headquarters in Robb Street, Georgetown.
Dr Jagdeo charged that Government must demonstrate what contributions Green has made to Guyana to deserve the pension and other benefits of a former Prime Minister.
Jagdeo pointed out that he has no problem with persons who have served the country enjoying certain benefits post-retirement, but he opined that the duplicity of the government is what bothers him.
He reminded that during the campaign trails, the A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) both made noise about the pension he was earning, which was seven-eighths of his salary.
He noted too that the then Opposition decried the Ministers’ salaries, complaining that it was too exorbitant.
In fact, it was Moses Nagamootoo who coined the term “fat cat salaries” and accused the then Government members of living a “Cadillac lifestyle in a donkey cart economy”.
But upon assumption to Office, Nagamootoo who is now Prime Minister, admitted to pushing for Government Ministers to earn a 50 per cent increase in salary.
This was subsequent to the Government moving to the National Assembly to slash the benefits enjoyed by past Presidents of Guyana.
Jagdeo pointed out that now Nagamootoo rakes up about $11.2 million from the coffers monthly and for someone who once frowned upon Government Ministers travelling first-class, has been doing an awful lot of first-rate travels.
“It’s just duplicitous,” the former President declared.
Asked whether he will support the Bill for Green to be granted the PM benefits, Jagdeo said he will first have to discuss the matter with his MPs.
However, he did promise an interesting debate when the Bill is presented at the next sitting on November 21.
The Finance Ministry is preparing to approve a legislative package to give to Hamilton Green the pension, benefits and other amenities afforded to a former Prime Minister.
Green already enjoys the luxury of a service security paid for by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council.
Green served as Guyana’s Prime Minister under the People’s National Congress (PNC) Desmond Hoyte’s Administration, from August 6, 1985, to October 9, 1992.
However in March 1993, Green sued the PNC for violation of his constitutional rights when that party at its Congress voted to expel him from the party.
Green was successfully re-admitted to the PNC during the mid-2000s after a successful petition by the party’s New York Branch.
He now serves at the helm of the Central Housing and Planning Authority – a position he was appointed to following the May 2015 elections.