Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister, became the laughing stock of the country on Thursday 2 November when he announced that he would be giving all MPs a raise in pay come next budget year. This was a significant climb down from the position that he took as leader of the FNM in 2014 when the Select Committee of the House reported on benefits and allowances for MPs. The report was a unanimous one chaired by Dr. Bernard Nottage.
The report did not make any recommendations on salaries save to say that the salaries were inadequate and were in need of adjustment. What it did indicate is that all the benefits and allowances of MPs should be increased to allow them to travel across the country and to allow them to better assist their constituents. It provided for a new House of Assembly. It said that there ought to be an allowance of 250,000 dollars to assist with the work of political parties in the House of Assembly.
Under Perry Christie only one of the recommendations was followed and that was the increase in the constituency allowance from 1500 to 2500. All the rest were stopped in the fright of Mr. Minnis’ (in retrospect) dishonest withdrawal of support for the recommendations.
It is clear that the salaries are inadequate. There is a solution to that as well. A bi partisan committee of former MPs recommended a formula for dealing with the salaries question as a matter of routine without having to refer so much to Parliament, similar to what is done for judges. But all governments seem to lack the courage to do it.
For example, Dr. Minnis is being just as cowardly. He should simply raise the salaries if that is what he wants. Instead, he is going to wait until next year, no doubt to let it ease on the minds of the public but of course in this country it has the opposite effect. There is just a slow boil of resistance.
The impact was almost immediate. The cries of hypocrisy could be heard all over the country. He objected before on the basis that the country was in bad shape economically and that there were too many hardships on the ordinary people from the PLP to be allowed to raise salaries. What has happened since then?
Under his government the situation has gotten worse. He has been firing people left right and centre. He and his Minister of Finance have pronounced the country broke, yet here we go raising the salaries of MPs. His own supporters are out in the streets in Freeport saying that this is the worst it has ever been.
Our view is that the PLP should stay the hell out of it, just like they stayed out of the Dominica Hurricane Relief debate. It is none of our business. If he wants to raise the salaries, then do whatever he likes. He must explain to the public why he is such a hypocrite, fake and liar in these matters.
Number of hits for the month of October up to Tuesday 31 October up to midnight: 1,167,085;
Number of hits for the month of November up to Saturday 4 November up to midnight: 84,937;
Number of hits for the year 2017 up to Saturday 4 November 2017 up to midnight: 11,362,559.