It’s now official that the three government backbenchers – Tobias Clement, Yolande Bain-Horsford and Clifton Paul – are getting salaries in excess of EC$7000.00 a month.
The salaries of the three successful candidates in the February 2013 general elections who were left out of Ministerial appointments were released by government to the Senate following a question asked on the salaries of the trio.
According to the response from the Accountant-General in the Ministry of Finance, Clement, the Parliamentary Representative for St George North-East, as well as the Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew South-West, Bain-Horsford and Paul, the elected MP for St Patrick East, were getting $7, 215.98 each per month in salaries.
The breakdown is as follows -Salary, $1,224.98, Duty Allowance, $1,000.00, Entertainment Allowance, $400.00, Internet Allowance, $99.00, Telephone Allowance, $57.00 and a Personal Allowance of $4,435.00.
Of the three, Clement is raking in an additional sum believed to be in the vicinity of EC$13, 500.00 a month from St. George’s University (SGU) where he is employed on a full-time basis.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) which lost the seat of power a year ago to NNP has been raising concerns about the payment of salaries, perks and benefits to the three MP’s with no ministerial portfolios.
The Senate was also told that two Cabinet ministers have opted against making financial sacrifices like their other colleagues in reversing recent salary increases.
Accountant-General, Louis-Obike did not identify the two government ministers who refused to forego their 6% salary increases in the face of criticisms from the public who have been asked to make sacrifices in the wake of a series of austerity measures introduced by government as part of a self-styled home-grown Structural Adjustment Programme.
In a document submitted to the Senate, the African-born Obike informed members that “we got a conclusion to the effect that Ministers should be given increases at the same level given to public officers in May 2013”.
“These were effected in October 2013 for that month only. However we got a request that the Prime Minister does not want the increase and that others can opt out but must be (at) their own requests. So the increase in the Prime Minister’s October salary was reversed and recalled. Subsequently we have received requests that only two ministers would like to keep their own salary increases”, he said.
“Therefore on the strength of the foregoing it is only two ministers (who) got the said increases for October and November 2013. Salary increases paid to others (except the two) in October have been reversed/ recalled”, he added.
Several callers on local radio talk show programmes chided the Mitchell government on the salary increases.
However, during a post-Cabinet Press Briefing last year, Prime Minister Mitchell defended two Cabinet ministers who choose to hold onto their salary increases.