Count us out!
BLP to donate pay increase to charity
The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) wants no part in the proposed salary restoration for Members of Parliament and parliamentary secretaries.
In fact, BLP MPs have formally requested that the additional monies be forwarded to a charity.
Leading off debate in the House of Assembly this week on a no-confidence motion she brought against the Government, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley revealed that a resolution had been tabled by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to have the changes effected, retroactive to April 2016.
However, Mottley has cried shame on the move, saying the BLP was not prepared to accept any salary increase until laid off Government workers were given their outstanding pay.
Following a parliamentary caucus of BLP MPs and senators on Thursday, the party stated in a letter to the Treasury: “In event that such [the increase] takes place, we the undersigned request that any such increase be directed to such charitable institutions and/or organizations as shall be identified in writing by us, for application to the benefit of Barbadians in need.”
The BLP letter to Acting Accountant General Dane Coppin was copied to Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond and signed by its 12 elected MPs and
In defence of the move, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy argued in Parliament on Tuesday evening that Government was merely seeking to reinstate the ten per cent which was deducted in 2014 as part of a cost saving programme.
“We haven’t got any increases; we only restituted what was there before,” Sealy said at the time, while suggesting that members on the Government side of the House should be commended for having accepting the pay cut in the first place.
Based on Sinckler’s April 15 resolution, the Prime Minister salary moves to $203,175.60 this year while that of Government ministers move to $152,382 and parliamentary secretaries to $147,926.28.
The remuneration of the Leader of the Opposition and Speaker of the House are also to be restored to $129,026.76 while that of Deputy Speaker goes to $78,520.56 compared to $96,783.72 for the Chairman of Committees. MPs pay goes to $60,038.88 and the salary of the President of the Senate moves to $78,520.56 for the year.
During Tuesday’s debate, BLP Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds declared: “I want to wash my hands of that . . . count me out”.
He said, “when the 3,000 [Government workers] that get sent home have been dealt with appropriately in law; when you have had wage increases in Barbados, then you could come and talk to me about that”.
He further condemned the increases as “something cold-bloodedly reprehensible, when the country is
on its knees.
He said the new pay schedule “is the most unconscionable thing . . . when you have National Conservation Commission workers who cannot see financial closure to the agony that they’re enduring; when you have, as recently as December, young adults at the University of the West Indies turning up to do examinations and being turned back at the door on the morning of the exam because tuition fees have not been paid . . . and when people are going through that kind of agony because of the financial constraints facing the country”.