Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:57 AM
Oct 07, 2015 News
Following news of over 50 per cent salary increases for Ministers of Government, Minister of State Joseph Harmon has stated that these increases are justifiable considering the quality of Cabinet members and thus the Government has no apologies to make.
During an interview with the media yesterday Harmon, himself a Minister, noted that the $560,000 paid to a Government Minister previously was on par with what he, as a lawyer, paid his lawyers in private practice.
The Minister also stated that there could not be a situation such as in the past administration, when Ministers were prepared to accept “lowly” salaries, but would engage in corrupt practices.
“We are not going to do that. Our ministers will have to sign to a code of service which requires them to act at a different level. And so we have to pay people well if we want them to perform,” he said, adding that he has no apologies to make in this regard.
“And if you look at the Cabinet, you will find people of quality working there. I believe the increases are justifiable,” he said.
The rumours of the increases were floating since August, with media reports even producing detailed figures of the projected increases. When questioned at a press conference in August, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman had stated that the proposed increases were in an effort to adjust salary scales to better distinguish the categories of Government Officers including Ministers and Junior Ministers, Vice Presidents and Presidential Advisors. He had stated that adjustments have not been made in the last 20 years.
Noting that the increases were subject to a review under the purview of Harold Lutchman, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, he also mentioned that the adjustments were on hold.
Following the laying of the budget 2015, the basic minimum wage was increased from $39,540 to $50,000 effective July 1.
Also effective July 1, 2015 all other public servants received a five percent salary increase, in addition to $5,000 monthly. Minister of Finance Winston Jordan had stated that this was to allow a greater increase in the lower income brackets.
Jordan had also revealed that pensions were to be increased from $13,125 to $17,000. This was done, though the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) later leveled the accusation that the Government had taken away the subsidies for water and electricity from senior citizens.
It had also been announced that workers currently earning $50,000 will have a monthly increase of $7,500, or 15 percent, while a person currently receiving a salary of $100,000 would get a 10 percent increase.
The Official Gazette of September 25 announced the increases subject to the Ministers, Member of the National Assembly and Special Offices (Emoluments) Act. It also went on to state that the amendments were retroactive to July 1, 2015.
The gazette report listed the Prime Minister’s salary as $20,580,000 per annum, while the salary of every Vice-President was listed as $11,135,064 per annum.
For the Cabinet Ministers, their salary was listed as $10,439,124 per annum while the Junior Ministers were listed as receiving $8,346,492 per annum.
The Attorney General is listed as having the same salary as the Chancellor and the Speaker of the National Assembly is listed as receiving $10,439,124 per annum.
The Leader of the Opposition will receive $10,439,124 per annum while the Parliamentary Secretary is listed as receiving $3,753,984.
The Deputy Speaker will be getting $2,702,880 while the Chief Whip is getting 2,682,360. Every other member of the National Assembly, according to the gazette, will be getting $2,402,532 per annum.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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