Categorized | National News

McCartney: MPs Pay Raise Recommendations Insensitive

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney yesterday called it insensitive that a Parliamentary select committee has recommended that the salaries of Members of Parliament (MPs) be increased and a new building be erected to house the upper and lower legislative bodies.

“This is an embarrassment to our country yet again,” Mr. McCartney said at a press conference at his Halsbury Chambers offices Thursday. “Persons are looking in from the outside and saying they are truly third world.”

Mr. McCartney’s comments came in response to the recommendations report submitted by the seven-member bi-partisan committee tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

The committee suggested among other things, that salaries of MPs be reviewed on the same principle as judges and other judicial officers and that this principle be established in law.
MPs currently earn $28,000 per year while Cabinet ministers with portfolio and state ministers earn $65,000 and $60,000 respectively.

It was also recommended that the insurance coverage for members be reviewed as the committee determined that the current plan is inadequate.

Additionally, the committee suggested that a new building be constructed to house both chambers of Parliament.
However, the DNA leader cried shame on both the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM) whose members made up the committee, stressing that at a time when so many Bahamians are struggling and in need of financial assistance, it seems amazing that those elected to serve would use this time to put self-interest ahead of the country’s needs.

“We in the DNA question how, during the worst economic recession in recent memory can our elected officials be more concerned about securing higher pay cheques for themselves when the rights of those they took an oath to protect continue to be violated,” Mr. McCartney said. “The government and Opposition continue to operate as two sides of the same corrupt coin with no regard for the needs of this developing nation.”

Mr. McCartney scoffed at the idea of MPs being given pay raises while there are thousands of civil servants who have been waiting for years to see increases in their salaries.

He added that if he were prime minister, he would insist that all members of the House of Assembly take a pay cut. Mr. McCartney said further, the country needs to assess whether it is getting its money’s worth from the men and women elected to serve in Parliament.

He claimed that many of these constituency offices are not opened and he alleged that some members may even be pocketing the monthly allowance given to them for those offices.

“We are living in a climate today that if you want to be in Parliament, if you want to be in government, if you want to be a MP or a minister…that’s a sacrifice,” Mr. McCartney said. “That’s not your job, that’s not your career – that’s a service.

“And that is what these members of parliament should be doing rather than wasting time talking about salaries.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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