More than two years after vowing as a matter of principle not to accept a salary increase, there is new evidence that more than half of the Opposition parliamentarians did not keep their word.
The monies were supposed to be deposited into a Demerara Bank account of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Four months after taking up office, the Coalition Government set about to increase the salaries of Parliamentarians by as much as 50 percent in some instances.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, stated publicly that his colleagues will not be accepting the increase in their salaries.
The Parliament Office had made it clear that it could not withhold the payments and would have to make the monies payable. The PPP later indicated that the funds will then be donated to charity.
In fact, Jagdeo last Wednesday had this to say: “It’s a requirement that I know our MPs are deducting the money and sending it to that bank account.”
However, Teixeira maintained that MPs deductions are made through the Parliament Office and are deposited directly to the bank.
Asked if she could recall the accumulative amount of the account, Teixeira noted that she could not recall and that they haven’t touched the money.
Kaieteur News was told that the monies deposited are more than $2.5M.
Essentially, the monies were supposed to be deducted and transferred via a standing order made by the individual MPs to the Parliament Office.
However, records are indicating that 17 of the PPP parliamentarians collected their entire salary, inclusive of the increase.
And the names that broke their word would be surprising.
According to records, the names who do not contribute include former General Secretary and Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee; former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall; former Education Minister, Priya Manickchand; former Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony; Union Leader, Komal Chand; and former Housing Minister, Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
Among those who kept their word are MPs Indranie Chandarpal, Collin Croal, Harry Gill, Dr. Vindhya Persaud and Chief Whip of the Opposition, Gail Teixeira.
Recently there were indications that not all the 32 Opposition MPs were complying with an internal party directive to transfer the salary to the bank which would then be donated to charity.
The increases were made available to all parliamentarians by the Coalition Government in September 2015.
Two years on, the party’s Parliamentary Chief Whip, Teixeira, was pressed by Kaieteur News for details about the fund and whether all the MPs were actually donating their increases.
“Our MPs are complying,” Teixeira initially told Kaieteur News.
She added, “Each MP has a standing order and so the money is automatically deducted from our salaries and deposited into the bank account.”
Asked specifically if all the MPs were complying, Teixeira replied, “I can’t say all, but I am saying that we have a fund and our MPs are contributing towards that.”
Rohee, the party’s former General Secretary, had initially contributed, but from June opted to collect his entire amount.
“We are waiting for the money to accumulate,” Teixeira stated last week.
The PPP/C is still to decide which charity it will donate the funds to.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan had, in explaining the rationale behind the increases, spoke to resolving the anomalies that existed, catering for the increased ministerial workload and catering to the posts of Vice Presidents.
The Finance Minister insisted that the salary increases were necessary and justifiable.
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