By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] –While defending their salaries as Parliamentarians, the Alliance for Change (AFC) MPs say they are willing to give it up, but only if government Parliamentarians are willing to do the same.
This is the assertion of AFC’s Executive Member and Parliamentarian, Cathy Hughes. An opinion article published in Thursday’s edition of a local newspaper suggested that Parliamentarians are being paid millions every month “for doing nothing,” making reference to the current prorogation of Parliament.
At a news conference held at the Georgetown Club, Mrs Hughes dismissed the suggestion that the role of a Parliamentarian is purely when they sit in the National Assembly.
She explained that despite Parliament being prorogued, a Parliamentarian’s work continues.
“As recent as last Saturday and this afternoon [Thursday, January 15], a team is going to an interior location; at the weekend we will be in Den Amstel. We as Parliamentarians represent the people. We have individuals off the street into our offices every minute of the day and we have outreaches and visits to several places in Guyana on a regular basis, three to four times a week so it’s not as if our work has stopped. We are not walking in the halls of Parliament, regrettably but our work continues,” Mrs Hughes explained.
She further noted, “If the PPP is willing to publicly state that they will refuse their salaries and payments as Members of Parliament, I am sure, I can speak for myself at this point in time, I will be more than happy to follow them and I have a feeling that most of the members of the AFC will be willing to do that too.”
Additionally, AFC’s Executive Member and Parliamentarian, Moses Nagamootoo called on government Parliamentarians to donate their salaries to the less fortunate.
“It should also apply to those Ministers who receive million dollar packages; Nandlall and all the rest; I think these brave people should now come forward and put their million dollar salary and entitlement and donate it to some poor institution,” Nagamootoo said.
He pointed out that the prorogation of Parliament is not the AFC’s doing but that of President Donald Ramotar.
“The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, the Executive President of this country chose to have a dispensation, where members of a crippled Parliament, members of a dysfunctional Parliament ought to receive their salaries because you cannot change one fact that they were elected by the people.
“It is not a moral issue. It is a political issue. The burden of any moral infraction should be placed at the feet of Mr Ramotar,” Nagamootoo said.
President Ramotar prorogued Parliament on November 10, 2014 in order to prevent the AFC from passing a No Confidence Motion against his government.
The President has since decided to call general and regional elections this year; he is still to announce a date.