May 08, 2009 News
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) has not yet considered whether the Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, should be entitled to benefits even after he demits office.
However, according to the party, “It has not escaped the attention of the PNCR that there are insidious intentions, by the Jagdeo Administration, for bringing the Leader of the Opposition (Benefits and Facilities) Bill 2009 at this time.
The intention of the move clearly suggest that there was some quid pro quo with regard to the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Bill 2009, the PNCR stated.
The party stated that it has taken the principled position that the entitlements and benefits, for all Constitutional Office Holders, be clearly spelt out in legislation.
This is essential since it will ensure that the officeholder and the public are not at the mercy of the capricious determination of who enjoys which benefits.
The party said that it is advocating transparency for all such matters.
“It should be evident to anyone who examines the two Bills, that there is no similarity of intention. The Leader of the Opposition (Benefits and Facilities) Bill 2009 is intended to set out the entitlements and benefits of the occupant of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and not the benefits which would apply after the occupant demits that Office. In contrast to this, the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Bill 2009 is intended to fix benefits for the President after he has demitted that Office.”
The leader of the opposition is a Constitutional Office and any entitlements and benefits applicable to that Office are not tailored for the particular person occupying the Office, the PNCR stated.
When the incumbent Leader of the Opposition demits office, those benefits would apply for the succeeding Leader of the Opposition thus there is no lifelong entitlement.
The PNCR, therefore, considers it a public duty to set out the entitlements and benefits, which have been agreed to, for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. The salary, allowances and other conditions, including a vacation travel allowance, equivalent to that of a Cabinet Minister, should be made known and clearly stated.
The benefits also include suitable office accommodation, paid for and furnished by the state, and staffed with a one Research Officer at the Public Service level of Band number 10, one Executive Assistant at the Public Service level of Band number six, one Clerical/Office Assistant at the Public Service level of Band number GS3.
The opposition leader should also be 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.
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