Presidential pension package up for Parliament debate Thursday
- APNU wants new package drafted
The major Parliamentary opposition party, APNU, would on Thursday pilot a motion calling for a repeal of the contentious Former President’s (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act 2000.
The Act dictates the pension package for former Presidents and was passed in the National Assembly in May, 2009 under the Bharrat Jagdeo administration.
Opposition parties and other interest groups have argued that while former Presidents deserve a comfortable pension, the benefits spelled out in the current Act are excessive.
Under the Act, a former President receives payment in respect of the expenses incurred in the provision and use of water; electricity and telephone services at the place of residence in Guyana; services of personal and household staff, including an attendant and a gardener; services of clerical and technical staff, if requested; free medical attendance and medical treatment or reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by him for the medical attendance or treatment of himself and the dependant members of his family; full-time personal security and services of the Presidential Guard Service at the place of residence; the provision of motor vehicles owned and maintained by the State; toll free road transportation in Guyana; an annual vacation allowance equivalent to the cost of two first class return airfares provided on the same basis as that granted to serving members of the Judiciary; and a tax exemption status identical to that enjoyed by a serving President.
In a motion tabled for discussion on Thursday, Carl Greenidge, of APNU, proposes that the National Assembly immediately take steps to have the legislation repealed without prejudice, however, to the payment of benefits.
He is calling for a Parliamentary Committee to be convened to examine the Pensions (President, Parliamentary and Special Offices) Act, Part II Section 4 (Rate of President and Calculation of Pension 7/8 Ceiling of Pension) and to make proposals for their revision.
Further, Greenidge has proposed that a Special Parliamentary Committee submit as a matter of urgency a revised superannuation benefit package for those persons to whom the Parliamentary and Holders of Special Offices Act applies and for those other categories of employees catered for by other government pensions and arrangement/plans.
Further, the motion calls for the revised superannuation package to be sent by the Special Parliamentary Committee for consideration and approval by the National Assembly.
In his motion, Greenidge says that the National Assembly should “make appropriate, adequate and reasonable provision for a President to enjoy a comfortable and dignified retirement.”
However, he posited that it should be in the national interest that such provision be made and be related to the capacity of Guyana to support it.