Persons who served in both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament in the last five years have been called upon to forego their gratuity in the interest of “making a personal sacrifice for the wider good of the country.”
That was the plea from Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell on Tuesday when he addressed members of the media during the weekly post Cabinet briefing. “I call on all parliamentarians to consider that and to give up that gratuity in the interest of suffering masses outside there,” he said. Explaining that on average each Parliamentarian will have to give up approximately EC$12,000, he said that the total amount will more than EC$1 million.
Calling on the Parliamentarians who stand to benefit to inform the Accountant-General via letter of their decision “to make that sacrifice”, Dr Mitchell who is also the Minister for Finance said that though the decision is not an easy undertaking; he and his cabinet are looking at the wider picture and want all those who served the Parliament in the past five years to forego in the interest of shared sacrifice.
‘I will not rest until I get those letters saying that they will forego gratuity earned in the past five years,” he said while explaining that the savings will benefit the general population as the money can be used to assist with the purchasing of medication for the hospital and support the vulnerable.
The Finance Minister also announced that more than 90% of Ministers have agreed to forego the automatic 6% increases to their salaries, which were consistent with the increases to public servants, and which had become due as of May 2013.
While it is the norm for Ministers to get these automatic increases, there was an uproar from the advocates of the National Democratic Congress who felt that Ministers should share in the belt tightening measures that will form part of the home grown Structural Adjustment programme to be implement as of January 2014.
Ministers not taking salary increases would amount to approximately $65,000 per year.