JIS News

A Ministry Paper entitled, Parliamentarians Pay and Conditions of Service, was unanimously supported in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 26), when it was moved for adoption by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies.
He informed the House that the Ministry Paper emerged from a report of a Special Select Committee that examined proposals put forward in the Parliamentary Salaries Review Committee that was chaired by Oliver Clarke.
The Special Select Committee, which was set up to consider the report, made a number of recommendations, among them a proposal for the establishment of a permanent Parliamentary Compensation Committee. “What we wish for that committee to do is to not just look at salaries but allowances, pensions, reimbursements for expenses, and entitlements in respect of both Parliament and the constituency,” Dr. Davies said.
It is recommended that committee comprise of a chairman and two members, which would be named by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Kenneth Hall, and one member each by the government and the Opposition.
The Special Select Committee further recommended that the salaries of Parliamentarians should be adjusted consistent with the percentage increases granted under MOU2, which took effect as at April 1, 2006, while future adjustments would depend on the recommendations of the permanent Parliamentary Compensation Committee.
Addressing the issue of the second tranche, which was due to Parliamentarians under the previous adjustments for civil servants before the wage freeze of Parliamentarians, Dr. Davies said that the Committee proposed that this would not be paid.
In relation to the compensation of the Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker of the House, Dr. Davies said that each would receive the same compensation as a Cabinet Minister.
The Special Select Committee further noted that the present system by which Parliamentarians reported to the Integrity Commission was one in which the Committee had confidence and as such, should be continued.
The Committee also expressed its satisfaction with the current pension scheme for Parliamentarians, and said “it should be retained as is”.
Pointing to other recommendations made by the Committee, Minster Davies told the House it was suggested that: “in the short term, the properties adjacent to the existing Parliament building should be acquired in order to increase available space and in the long term, a new parliament building should be erected at an appropriate location.”
He added that it was further recommended that the previous Parliamentary Committee relating to the establishment of a new Parliament building be reactivated. With respect to the current duty concessions regime on motor vehicles, it is proposed it be subject to further review.
“The Clarke Committee’s suggestion is that the 20 per cent concession should be abolished as is, but there should be a monetary compensation which is equivalent of the 20 per cent,” Dr. Davies said.