National Assembly cuts benefits of former Presidents

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L-R: Former Presidents, Sam Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.

By Jomo Paul

L-R: Former Presidents, Sam Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.
L-R: Former Presidents, Sam Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Faciliites) Bill 2015 was on Thursday, July 09 passed by the APNU+AFC Parliamentarians in the absence of the People’s Progressive Party Opposition.

This is now the second piece of legislation passed by the government in the absence of the PPP/C. The Bill slashes several benefits for Guyana’s former Presidents – Samuel Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.

The Bill limits expenses incurred for utilities such as telephone, water and electricity to $25,000 each month. It also states that “services of personal and household staff, including a gardener, provided that the total number of such staff shall not exceed three persons, including any member of the staff who may be on earned vacation or sick leave.”

Further, the Former Presidents are subject to a financial limit of $200,000 per annum to cover medical expenses; however the reimbursement is only given if the said medical treatment is not available at local public health institutions.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who presented the Bill to the National Assembly stated that “we have a situation where a former President is enjoying a tax free pension equivalent to 7/8 of the salary of a sitting President.”

He pointed out that although the United States has a better economy than Guyana, the pension pales in comparison to the pension and benefits to the Former Presidents of the US.

He noted too that the Former President of the USA is paid a taxable pension; while under the previous legislation, the pension was not taxable.

He described the previous piece of legislation as “scandalous and vulgar,” as he made his presentation in the National Assembly.

“I don’t believe that taxpayers should be footing the bill for all these benefits when he is gainfully employed in economic activity,” Jordan stated.

Jordan also noted that former president Bharrat Jagdeo recently requested two first class tickets to the cost of some $7 million. The three former Presidents currently enjoy a pension of $1.4 million.

It should be noted that while the Bill does not make any changes to this, it places several caps on benefits enjoyed.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Wasn’t it vulgar,Minister Jordan, for you to receive a salary of THREE MILLION DOLLARS PER MONTH AS BUDGET CONSULTANT TO THE PPP/C GOVERNMENT? Shouldn’t you now do the decent thing and refund three quarters of that money? That will still leave you with a staggering seven hundred and fifty thousand in your pocket !!!! This is still sixty times my pension of thirteen thousand dollars per month .

  2. It should be noted that all former presidents i.e Auther Chung, Desmond Hoyte both of whom were of the PNC regime enjoyed such benefits. It was the PNC regime that established the pension benefit plan. I guess that since there are NO former president from the PNC regime that are still alive and all of the former presidents that ARE still alive are from the PPP regime the APNU regime decided to change the pension benefits. Now my fellow Guyanese if this is not a witch hunt and vindictiveness of the current APNU regimen what is it?

    In every other country in the world former presidents are treated in a respectful and dignified way so why are our former presidents any different. I would like to remind president Granger of his campaign promise which was to be fair and not be retaliatory should he be elected. Well Mr. President your regime has done exactly the opposite. Serve the people of Guyana and respect them regardless of their color or position – you want to make a change then do so honorably and not let the goons around you lead or advise you to do wrong. Be the people’s President and be fair and just to everyone.

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