– teachers , police there earn more
By Abena Rockcliffe
Trinidad and Tobago (TT), which has an economy eight times that of Guyana’s, pays its Prime Minister less than what is now given to Guyana’s new Prime Minister. Also, the salaries given to other TT Ministers are relatively in the same ball park of that which is given to those in Guyana.
On the other hand, the Caricom member state pays its teachers, police and nurses far more than what is being offered to Guyanese workers even after the recent five per cent increase by the new administration.
Further, Trinidad has an economy of US$24.6B while Guyana is struggling with a US $3.2B economy.
While public servants received a five per cent salary increase, in addition to $5,000 monthly, the government granted its senior ministers a huge increase.
The five percent increase for public servants was announced when the budget was laid, however, the public only found out about the increase for ministers and MPs after checks were made in the Official Gazette of September. Minister Joseph Harmon has since said that it has no apologies to make to the public.
During the election campaign, the government had promised to give public servants more than the five percent increase they had grown accustomed to under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration. However, after assuming office the government announced that economic constraints prevented a significant raise for the masses.
Nevertheless, economic constraints did not prevent the hike in the salaries of government ministers.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has benefitted the most. The Gazette report listed the Prime Minister’s salary as $20,580,000 per annum. This amounts to a few dollars more than $1.7M a month. Nagamootoo is now the highest paid Prime Minister in Guyana’s history.
Despite presiding over a slowed economy that is said to be buckling under the stain of immense corruption which characterized PPP’s governance in the last few years, Nagamootoo, the head of government, accepted his increase with open arms.
Incidentally, Nagamootoo is one who had said during the election campaign that he is not in politics for the money. Some years ago he had condemned the “PPP fat cats”.
Guyana is now paying its politicians on par with what a richer country is paying theirs.
Trinidad’s Prime Minister is earning TT$48,000 which works out to just over G$1.5M.
Nagamootoo is being paid over GY$200,000 (TT$6,129) more despite the fact that the Prime Ministerial responsibilities of a Trinidadian weigh more than Guyana as Trinidad’s President is only ceremonial.
Other than Nagamootoo, who is both Prime Minister and a Vice President, Guyana has three other Vice Presidents.
Those are Carl Greenidge, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khemraj Ramjattan, who is also Minister of Public Security, and Sydney Allicock, Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
While there are no known added responsibilities for a Vice President, they are being given $11,135,064 per annum—$927,992 monthly.
For the Cabinet Ministers, their salary was listed in the gazette as $10,439,124 per annum and this works out to $896,927 a month while the Junior Ministers were listed as receiving $8,346,492 per annum, equivalent to $695,541.
In Trinidad, Cabinet Ministers are given TT $33,000 just over GYD $1M and non Cabinet Ministers are given TT$27,000, equivalent to $879,121.
After news of the increase entered the public domain, Minister of State Joseph Harmon told the media that it was justifiable considering the quality of Cabinet members and thus the Government has no apologies to make.
Harmon said 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 said that his government is trying to avoid the temptation of corruption such which existed under the past administration, when Ministers were prepared to accept “lowly” salaries, but would engage in corrupt practices.
Harmon described $560,000 as “lowly” even though the majority of public servants, including qualified teachers, University Lecturers and even some doctors, work for less than that.
A Temporary Qualified Master or Mistress (TQM) in Guyana takes home $35,000 and a trained teacher takes home just about $60,000.
But a trained teacher in Trinidad gets TT $8000, equivalent to $261,145 and more qualification earns a teacher a higher salary.
A Police Constable in Trinidad gets about TT$7,000 and that works out to about GYD $ 228,388; but a police constable in Guyana gets a little over GYD $ 50,000.
The rumors of the increases were floating since August, but the government had denied it.
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.
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