By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Ending weeks of speculation on whether President David Granger received an increase in his salary along with that of Ministers, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Wednesday, October 21 confirmed that the President did receive a remuneration boost.
Nagamootoo at a post cabinet media briefing acknowledged that the Government did a bad job in packaging the salary increases offered to officials but maintained that it was necessary.
“We know that this was not going to be a popular decision…but that does not justify why we didn’t go out to the grassroots and bottom houses,” said Nagamootoo.
He stated that while the figures may have been exaggerated in some quarters of the media, he would like to set the record straight on the issue. In this regard he indicated that Junior Ministers still earn less than Permanent Secretaries.
Further, he emphasized that he received a 10% increase, revealing that the President himself got a 5% increase in his salary.
“This is not about greed…it is not a love of money that has motivated these salary increases…we did not walk away with the cookie jar,” he stated.
Nagamootoo was emphatic that a person coming into public office should not expect to earn less because they are now serving the public.
“I don’t believe that those who are saying that we have come into public office with an expectation that we will earn less ought not to seek office. If that is what happens in every sector, no one would want to be a judge because you will tell the lawyer when you become a judge you will get far less than perhaps what you dream of getting as a lawyer,” he argued.
“Seeking elected office anywhere in the world carries a salary. It could be more or it could be less but nowhere in the world do you see someone walk into an office and not expecting to be remunerated because they still have to live,” he added.
Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in a release to the media stated that several Members of Parliament on Tuesday night received by hand, their pay slips from the Parliament Office for the month of October 2015 reflective of their 19% increases.
“The Government, by hastily paying these increases in salaries to themselves, is clearly subverting the role of the National Assembly, violating the Standing Orders and contravening the law. All of this is designed to defeat the PPP/C’s efforts to challenge these unconscionable salary increases in the National Assembly,” the statement noted.
According to the Party, the decision to pay themselves these salary increases was made in similarly clandestine circumstances with no public announcement made at any Cabinet Press Briefings or anywhere else although the decision was made some time ago.
“We are again witnessing similar trickery and deception. But this will not stop us from proceeding with our Motion in the National Assembly and from pursuing every other available avenue to annul and reverse these reprehensible salary increases which we now realize have been paid in violation of the law and Parliamentary norms and practices,” said the PPP.