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Challenging the Salaries Review Commission

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 98th report of the Salaries Review Commission has become the subject of a fierce political backlash from both the Government and the Opposition. In a rare show of unity, both sides have arrived at the position that the SRC does not fully understand the role, duties and functions of MPs.


In order to put this debate into context, one must appreciate the initial intention behind the establishment of the Salaries Review Commission. 


During the debate on the Constitution (Republic) Bill in March 1976, Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams had this to say: “On the Salaries Review Commission—we believe it is valuable. The best thing that can be done is to avoid the difficulty of negotiating with a lot of people where one will want to maintain a respected and respectable distance without the bitterness that is normally associated with wage and salary negotiations.” 


Nevertheless, it appears that the SRC has brought upon itself a fair amount of “bitterness” as a consequence of its latest report. That bitterness has to do with the way in which the commission has defined the work of the MP in its report: “For some Members of Parliament, their role is multi-functional in that they bear responsibilities as the elected representatives of a constituency, MPs and members of a political party.