Jan 17, 2015 News
Opposition Parliamentarian, Basil Williams, deemed his Parliamentary payment of approximately $200,000, plus allowances, as a pittance.
The Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs for the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) was recently asked for his take on the perception that Members of Parliament (MP), are being paid millions to do nothing during the state of prorogation.
He said, “Who you blaming for that? It is not an accurate statement but who you blaming for it? We aren’t paid. First thing they can’t pay me. I don’t even know how much they paying me.”
“I am working all the time. I have a matter in the High Court right now which seeks to stop the government from spending monies we didn’t approve of in the National Assembly and I am not being paid for that. That is Parliamentary work not Party work.
Party work is done by non-parliamentary people but when you become an MP the lines end up getting blurred so there really isn’t a difference.
We have to go on the ground, get a proper understanding of the problems and see if we can mediate but eventually we take it to Parliament. So that is also parliamentary work.”
Reminded of his ‘$200,000 payment’ as Deputy Speaker, he promptly responded, “I would assure you that whatever I get paid the same amount comes from GPL.
I don’t know how they work it out. One time I receive $100,000 and it was the same on the GPL bill. We don’t get salaries. I do work for the people. So if they giving a stipend…Look I don’t even know what you call it. But that is not a salary or stipend.”
Asked if he wants more, the lawyer retorted, “Obviously, because $100,000 to $200,000 can’t maintain anybody. What can that do for me?”
Would the politician join members of the Alliance For Change (AFC) who said that they would willingly reject their parliamentary salaries if government MPs refused their own first?
The Opposition member said, “I don’t have to take that road. I am working. I worked Christmas and even Boxing Day.
But that money can’t pay for me. But you should also question the government MPs too. Nobody can’t live off that pittance. The work we do is not adequately compensated and maybe we need to start looking at having full time MPs.”
As of the start of this New Year, MPs such as those in the political opposition will be taking home gross earnings of $166,000 or more. The AFC at its last press conference was quick to deem this, as being far from the truth.
The pay slips willingly provided by AFC member Valerie Garrido-Lowe showed that her gross earnings were $180, 040 and after taxes are deducted, the take home was $140,992, while Cathy Hughes’s gross salary is $282,000. After deductions her take home is $212,000.
This newspaper subsequently apologized for the understatement.
The salaries of Parliamentarians, including the Speaker’s, add up to $22.8 million monthly. If you multiply that by six, it means that in the time since the last sitting of the House, Parliamentarians have been paid $136 million to do nothing.
If you add up the allowances over that time, you might want to put in a few million dollars more.
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