By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Incoming Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo says he will not be accepting any salaries as the Leader of the Opposition but will be taking his Presidential pension.
Jagdeo made the comment at a press conference on Tuesday, August 11 where he stated that he would rather take his pension. On ascension to office, the APNU+AFC had made it their priority to slash the benefits for Former Presidents.
With the slashing of the benefits, Jagdeo’s pension will be $1.4M coupled with a slew of other allowances, including expenses incurred for utilities such as telephone, water and electricity at $25,000 each per month.
As Opposition Leader, Jagdeo would be entitled to office accommodation, paid for and furnished by the State and staffed with one Research Officer, one Executive Assistant and one Clerical/Office Assistant.
The Opposition Leader is also entitled to one chauffeur, one gardener, two household assistants or domestic servants and 24-hour personal security as well as for his office and official place of residence.
The Leader of the Opposition earns than just over $500,000 per month.
With the amendment to the Former President’s Bill, Jagdeo would be disqualified for the benefits outlined in the amended law if he is actively employed and receiving a salary.
The Bill states “A former President shall cease to be entitled to the benefits and other facilities provided under section 3, if the former President engages in business, trade or paid employment or is convicted of a criminal offence for which a term of imprisonment is imposed.”
Jagdeo at the press conference boldly proclaimed “I will not be accepting any salary as Opposition Leader.”
When he was further probed on the issue by iNews, the Former President was pellucid that he would rather receive his pension and forego the salary as Opposition Leader.
When asked about vacating this year’s budgetary allocation of $15M to the Office of the Opposition Leader, Jagdeo stated that he has not made any considerations in that regard given that the monies would not go to him but rather would fund the operations of his office.