Unperturbed by critics, govt introduces ‘Hamilton Green Pension Bill’

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parliament-building1In spite of the many criticisms from all quarters, Government earlier today in the National Assembly, officially introduced a legislative package to provide Former Mayor, Hamilton Green a pension package in keeping with the period in which he held office of the Prime Minister- from 1985 to 1992.

The Bill, identified as the “Hamilton Green Pension Bill” was introduced by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan and was read aloud for the first time by Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs.

In accordance with the memorandum accompanied, the Bill will “provide a pension, benefits and other facilities to Green in order to enable him to live in keeping with the High Office he once occupied.” Additionally, according to the proposed legislation, the Prime Minister Green Pension Act 2016 shall become operative from December 1, 2016.

The Bill essentially states that the pension that Green has been receiving since retirement shall be discontinued from November 30, 2016 in order to facilitate the larger package.

The proposed provisions in the Bill stated that “Notwithstanding anything in the Pensions (President, Parliamentary and Special Offices) Act, Prime Minster Hamilton Green shall be paid a pension in accordance with Section 4 of the said Act based on the salary paid to the Prime Minister, as though he actually earned the said salary, taking into consideration his record of service as a legislator.”

Additionally, another provision is the Bill noted that “the former President (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act 2015 shall, subject to such modifications as may be necessary, apply to Prime Minster Hamilton Green and for that purpose wherever the word “President” occurs it shall be substituted by the words “Prime Minister.”

The legislative package also asserted that Green will continue to receive other benefits provided to him in any other law.

The introduction of the Hamilton Green Bill has created mass controversy and has been the target for criticisms by many, including the current Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo who just recently voiced his disagreement with the name of the Bill.

Nagamootoo had told media operatives that he was puzzled as to why the Bill was named after Green when it should be implemented for all future Prime Ministers as well.

The most latest criticism however, came from Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI) who publicly stated that the country is simply too poor to bankroll politicians, party stalwarts.

(TIGI) in a strongly worded missive, contended that the Bill is “vulgar, politically partisan and reeks of cronyism” and has no basis for justification.

TIGI maintained that the sheer extravagance of the provisions of the Bill specifically for Green who is a longstanding PNC politician is an insult to all hardworking nurses, teachers, police, and public servants who are denied a substantial increase in their salaries.

The transparency body said since the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition assumed office, it has been “unashamed and apologetic about lining the pockets of politicians and friends of the party.”

It had demanded to no avail that government terminate the Bill, which it contends is blatantly repugnant since it is made in the name of a single individual rather than for all prime ministers, gives Green access to benefits of which he is not entitled based on the offices he held, provides him with a pension based on a salary that he never earned, gives special consideration to a man who is especially undeserving of such recognition given his historically divisive role in society, perpetuates the enrichment of politicians and friends of the government at the expense of the citizens, made possible only through the power entrusted to those in government and is rushed to the process without regards to transparency and good governance in general.     

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