“Disgraceful” salary increases were not enough for APNU/AFC – PPP

first_imgThe “utterly disgraceful” salary increases given to Presidents and Ministers under the past Administration were not enough to satisfy the appetite of the coalition Government, which clandestinely awarded its Ministers an exorbitant 50 per cent salary just after several months in office.That was the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) response to the outcry by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo over the salary increases given to the Ministers andPresident David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo with Ministers of the APNU/AFC GovernmentPresidents between the periods 1998 to 2014.A publicity gimmick was executed by the coalition Government in the National Assembly on Monday when an A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) backbencher Jermaine Figueira was asked prepared questions to Finance Minister Winston Jordan in relation to salary increases under the PPP Administration.In a subsequent statement, Nagamootoo said the increases which amounted to a total of 220.5 per cent for Ministers and 386.5 per cent for Presidents over 17 years were “unconscionable and utterly disgraceful”.But the PPP pointed out that those accumulated increases were never done in any veiled or clandestine manner unlike what was done in the case of the coalition Government which tried to cover up their lavish and unjustifiable increases.The Party noted that its increases over the years were always announced prior to their implementation and when they were implemented, the public was duly informed as soon as possible thereafter. The PPP recalled too there was never any public hue and cry about these increases.“We note the Prime Minister seizing this opportunity for cheap publicity, as is his wont, and characteristically, without thinking, describing these increases as “disgraceful”. There is a saying that fools normally rush in where wise men dare not go. Had the Prime Minister thought the matter through, he would have remained quiet. But he has illustrated that notwithstanding, how “disgraceful” these salary increases were, they were still inadequate to satisfy the leisure, lifestyle and greed of his coalition Government. As a result, he led a campaign at Cabinet which resulted in an increase of these “disgraceful” salaries by over 50 per cent,” the PPP highlighted.The Party also pointed out that the revelation of these increases comes after vehement denials from Minister Raphael Trotman to the nation that there will ever be any such increases.“The “disgrace” was compounded by the fact that there was no public announcement of this over 50 per cent increase but the nation learnt about it through an obscure order hidden in the Official Gazette. The “disgrace” was also aggravated by the increase being made retroactive to take effect from the beginning of the first working month that the Government took office,” the PPP argued.The Party added that “as if there is no limit to the shame”, the hefty increases in salaries were followed by a fleet of brand new SUVs for Ministers.“The vulgarity did not stop there. It was followed by an increase in travelling and per diem allowances for overseas travels by several thousand per cent, along with the abolition of a requirement to produce any receipts for those expenditures. The new rule which was established that now allows for Ministers to travel with their spouses at taxpayers’ expense must be added to the “disgrace”. So often times, the nation witnesses through photographs published in the social media, the Prime Minister and other Ministers partying and socialising at expensive restaurants and entertainment centres in North America,” PPP outlined.Furthermore, the Party disclosed that “several houses are being rented for Ministers to the tune of several thousand of US dollars per month, per house and the fleet on bodyguards and personal assistants who accompany Ministers, even to the washrooms in Parliament.”Notably as well, some Government Ministers are benefiting from fully-funded Government scholarships which are typically awarded to Guyanese citizens who otherwise cannot afford to finance their university education.The PPP noted that, in the face of these vulgarities, the coalition Government imposes VAT on baby food, medical supplies, educational materials, domestic travels; even on the dead.“At the same time, (they are) refusing to pay promised increases to the public servants, teachers and sugar workers; while at the same time, authorising the President and Prime Minister to personally import, tax, VAT and duty ‘luxury vehicles’. This Government should be the last grouping of persons in the world to speak about ‘disgraceful,’” the PPP asserted.last_img read more