The government’s Chief Spokesman, Minister of State Joe Harmon on Tuesday stood his ground to defend salary increases that were offered to government ministers and Members of Parliament.
Harmon told the media that he was not prepared to offer any apologies for the salary increases since it is his fervent belief that it can be justified and it is most deserving.
“The Ministers of government that we have now justify an increase, the salary of a senior minister is 500 plus thousand a month… that is what I paid to one of my Attorneys when I was in private practice… why should I be working for that?” he questioned.
He said too that a careful examination of the Cabinet would reveal that there are persons of quality and as a consequence they should be paid accordingly. “You cannot have a situation like in the PPP where they were prepared to accept low salaries because they were thieving monies all over the place, we are not going to do that, our ministers will have to sign to a code of conduct, a code of service which requires then to act at the different levels,” he added.
Harmon maintained that he salary increase are justifiable and must be paid if persons are expected to perform.
According to documents published in the Official Gazette of September 25, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo will be paid $20,580,000 per annum. The Prime Minister’s new salary represents a 10% increase.
The four Vice Presidents will receive $11,135,064 per annum while senior government Ministers are slated for a $10M annual salary. The new salary for senior government ministers represents a 50% increase.
The Leader of the Opposition will now be paid a 50% increase and his salary has been bumped up to just over $10 Million a year.
Other parliamentarians, inclusive of those in the opposition benches, will be paid $2, 402,532 each year and that represents a 19% increase while the Speaker will be paid $10M annually. He gets a 50% increase.
Increases were also given to the Chief Whips, Parliamentary Secretaries and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.