The cries of pregnant cancer patient Melissa Evans echoed throughout the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court yesterday after she was told she had to spend a night in prison after being denied bail in
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Hefty pay hikes
The Salaries Review Commission (SRC) is recommending that most of the country’s top office holders, including the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Chief Justice, be given as much as a 24 per cent increase in their basic salaries. The proposed increases will take the Prime Minister’s salary from $48,000 to $59,680; the Leader of the Opposition’s from $23,800 to $29,590 and the CJ’s from $40,500 to $50,350. The last salary increase for MPs and senior officials was implemented in 2005.
The recommendations are contained in the 98th Report of the SRC, which was laid in the House of Representatives yesterday by the Leader of Government Business and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal. The Prime Minister is also to benefit from a $33,000 annual allowance. Her annual take home pay is expected to be $749,480 per year, while the Opposition Leader’s annual take home pay will be $481,110. The CJ, however, will earn an annual income of more than $1.2 million, which is non-taxable.
The SRC is recommending the Attorney General be paid a basic monthly salary of more than $41,000, up from the current $33,000. The House Speaker and Senate President’s monthly salary are set to increase from $23,800 to $29,590. The salary of a cabinet minister is also expected to increase from $33,000 a month to $41,030, while MPs and senators’ salaries are set to increase to over $17,000 and $13,000 respectively. The report has to be debated and approved in Parliament before the recommendations can be effected.
The SRC prepared its report after a document was presented to it by the House Committee. The House Committee, in its report to the SRC, said that all those engaged at the highest levels in the public service “should be entitled to reasonable compensation.” It added that “such compensation, both monetary and non-monetary, should be adequate to attract and retain capable people to government service at this level and must remunerate them justly for their service.”
During yesterday’s debate on a bill to amend the Nurses and Midwives Bill in Parliament, Opposition MP Colm Imbert said MPs were not being paid adequately for the services. The committee stated, “On average, a member spends over 20 hours per week preparing for and attending meetings (and) constituency work consumes another 20 hours of the work week of an elected member.” It recommended that the work of an elected MP be full time and this should be reflected in his/her remuneration.
According to the committee, it was “unjust to require parliamentarians to forgo entitlements that they currently enjoy.”
Proposed Salary Increases
Chief Justice: $50,350 ($40,500 - current)
Justice of Appeal: $42,020 ($33,800 - current)
Puisne Judge: $37,300 ($30,000 - current)
Prime Minister: $59,680 ($33,000 - current)
Attorney General: $41,030 ($33,000 - current)
Cabinet Ministers: $41,030 ($33,000 - current)
Non-Cabinet Ministers: $33,940 ($27,000 - current)
Parliamentary Secretary: $23,500 ($18,900 - current)
Senate President: $29,590 ($23,800 - current)
House Speaker: $29,590 ($23,800 - current)
Opposition Leader: $29,590 ($23,800 - current)
Deputy Speaker: $18,280 ($14,700 current)
MPs: $17,410 ($14,000 - current)
Vice-President: $18,280 ($14,700 - current)
Senators: $13,060 ($10,500 - current)