A parliamentarian who served for two terms in the Lower House of Parliament believes that there should be some adjustment to the financial package that is offered to those who are elected to represent the people in the Houses of Parliament.
“I think there is need to increase the budgetary allocation for Members of Parliament and the money should be used to assist in the development of the constituency,” said Glynnis Roberts who was elected to serve in the House of Representatives following the 2003 and 2008 general elections.
“By doing so, the members who are not a minister pf Government will be able to assist with projects in their constituencies because as it stands now, members who are not ministers of Government stands no chance of lobbying for projects to be undertaken in the constituencies,” she said.
A former Minister of Government and executive member of the National Democratic Congress, Roberts and others who were expelled from the NDC formed the NUF. She believes that there is need for people to be provided with a better understanding of the parliamentary system as there is a belief that only ruling administration can make a different to people.
“People need to understand that there is a difference between the Parliament and the Cabinet and those who are in the Cabinet are there at the pleasure of the Prime Minister while Parliamentarians are elected by the people,” she said.
“And if we represents the people, then the parliament should assist members in developing the people, when we don’t have no budget, then we cannot assist,” said.
At present parliamentarians are provided with EC$1200 as a monthly stipend plus a constituency assistance fund of EC$1500 while members of the Senate receives EC$800.
A recent study undertaken by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Constituency Development Fund identified the need for proper financial packages for members of Parliament. The Fund also developed guidelines on how these funds should be used among membership of the Parliament.
by Linda Straker