PAY INCREASES – commentary

PAY INCREASES – August 9, 2015 | BY  – Editorial

There has been much talk about pay increases for Ministers and Members of Parliament. The most noise came from the political opposition. Rohee said that the Granger-led administration (and he no longer calls it a de facto government) is seeking to feast on caviar while the ordinary man must eat little or nothing.

When the People’s Progressive Party came into office a senior Minister was earning $28,000 per month. The Attorney General was earning $76,000 a month. That was 23 years ago. When it left office a senior Minister was earning $579,000 a month as a basic salary. The Attorney General was earning $1.6 million a month.   (G$1M = app $5,000US)

It is a waste of time calculating the extent of the increase. Suffice it to say that the increase was astronomical. Members of Parliament also enjoyed whopping increases. The head of state got the biggest increase, earning nearly $2 million a month— in tax-free dollars. But there was so much more.

For one, the government bypassed the standard public service pay scale to pay contract workers humongous salaries. An examination of some of these salaries would leave the ordinary person goggle-eyed. And for good reason, these salaries were never made known to the general public.

How can one explain that the head of the Guyana Revenue Authority was being paid US$10,000 a month in tax-free dollars? The head of the Guyana Power and Light earns a salary of US$25,000 per month. Nearly all the contract employees were paid more than a senior Minister and they still receive such monies in addition to a gratuity every six months.

Gail Teixeira, who was not a Minister, was earning in excess of $1 million per month. One should not talk about what many others were earning. There was a vast anomaly in salary scales. Many of these enjoyed tax concessions, while the ordinary public servant and even Government Ministers could not contemplate such earnings.

The government opted to look at these salary scales and at the same time, is seeking to avoid Ministers paying themselves and becoming filthy rich. There is need for a salary adjustment in view of the vast differential between the Attorney General and the rest of the Ministers. The report that there is to be a 100 per cent increase for Ministers is not accurate.

There would be an attempt to reduce the differential between the Attorney General and the other Ministers. In every country, national leaders are properly paid to avoid acts of corruption. The opposition may argue about the possible pay increase, but it must also explain how so many of them, on their Ministerial salary, could afford the mansions and palaces that they have.

What is even more, these people had expense accounts that would boggle the mind. None can deny that there were Ministers who went out, created entertainment accounts, and had the bill forwarded to the Ministry. If these bills were to be added to the entertainment allowance, one would be surprised at what the real salary would be.

The public servant needs a proper pay, as do the old age pensioners. At the same time, the economy must be able to support these increases. The opposition made a big noise about Granger supporting pay increases for the military. The fact is that the police must also not be ignored. A lowly police constable is paid just above the minimum wage. Yet he is expected to put his life on the line to protect the society.

The police must be properly paid if the force is to attract qualified people. The quality of the police leaves a lot to be desired. Further, better pay would stop the complaint of policemen stopping motorists and demanding a raise.

Teachers also deserve better pay. In Malaysia and South Korea teachers are the third highest paid professionals. And the development of these countries is testimony to the benefit to be derived from paying teachers well.

We say, pay people properly and enjoy the results. Corruption in the public service would be curtailed and people would give an honest day’s work because of an honest day’s pay.

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  • de castro  On 08/10/2015 at 3:37 am

    David Cameron is paid £158.000 PA as PM of UKPLC.
    POLULATION UK almost 70million.
    What is OBAMA paid as president of USA
    Population USA almost 400m + illegals.
    What is Granger or Nagamootoo paid as president PM of Guyana
    Population of Guyana less than 1m.

    Demographics not economics should determine Size and salaries of parliament
    and MPs.

    UKPLC taxpayers are burdened with 600+ MP another 600+ House of lords
    (Non elected) ……some are lobbying for a reduction in both …even making
    Lords an elected body not appointed/selected.

    Government as in business must give “value for money” with numbers to reflect that…..MPs the employees of taxpayers….PUBLIC SERVANTS.
    people who chose a political career must respect that principle.
    One does not go into politics to get rich……as per USA.

    NOW TO GOOGLE for the info on politicians “renumerations” rewards.

    As a taxpayer like to know my taxes are not “squandered” !

  • Joanne  On 08/10/2015 at 1:04 pm

    I agree that certain people definitely need a much needed increase in their paycheques but it’s very difficult for a government to implement when it has empty coffers. Rohee need a good catanine whipping with salt water poured into the wounds after. I’m so glad that he’s now on the outside looking in and hopefully, he’ll soon be inside a jail cell looking out.

  • Gigi  On 08/11/2015 at 10:08 am

    @Joanne, what empty coffers do you speak of? The empty coffers that has enough money to may for the MASSIVE increase in the number of ministers in the new de facto govt IN ADDITION to MASSIVE increases to their already MASSIVE salaries. WOW! Well, bless your heart.

    Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but did not the opposition campaigned to REDUCE salaries for these very “fat cat” ministers? Now the citizens are being told that these “fat cats” were not “earning” enough under the previous govt so there is a drastic need for increases even with the empty coffers the PPP left behind. Pray tell, where IS the money going to come from? From the vat taxes that did not get reduced as promised? From diverting the increases promised to police officers, teachers and other ordinary civil servants? From the school vouchers to children that were rescinded ? I’m hoping you are one of the “fat cat” ministers or a close associate of one who will benefit. Because, for the life of me I cannot fathom why else you would be defending this public rape and humiliation of the Guyanese people.

    • albert  On 08/11/2015 at 11:14 am

      Okay Gigi I will give you a logical reason for the increase.
      First of all no one in his right mind would take on the “goadie” job of trying to restore some semblance of respectibility to a country like Guyana after the destruction by Jagdeo, Ramoutar et al. So these guys should be complemented for doing the best they can.

      The reason why the PPP ministers could take such low salaries was because of the fat dollars under the table. Easy money on the side and no tax. Many who controlled government funds transfer funds to their private accounts….they call it here misappropriation of public funds which carries years in jail.
      If the Granger government is to work with some degree of “honesty” on wages alone, and not be corrupted, members have to be paid reasonable salaries.

      If they see Rohee, Jagdeo and others getting away with the bribes and loot they stole from taxpayers govt. members will be hard press to not do the same things.

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