PRESS RELEASE People's National Congress Reform - One Guyana Congress Place, Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana. Thursday, December 28, 2006

The People’s National Congress Reform – One Guyana today (27 December 2006) filed a Motion in the National Assembly seeking to nullify Order 26 of 2006 laid in the National Assembly of the Parliament on 21st December 2006 last, which placed an unprecedented requirement on members of the National Assembly to signify in writing their agreement with increases in emoluments, or face the penalty of not obtaining any increase at all.

The PNCR-1G believes that this amendment Order is an insult to MPs who may have independent views on the level of the increase, as distinct from the principle of an increase in emoluments and places them at a disadvantage by seeking their signatures for something they disagree with.

The Order is unprecedented and creates the possibility of a disparity of emoluments of Members of the National Assembly – a situation not envisaged by the law.

The PNCR-IG believes that this Order was deliberately crafted by the PPP/C Administration because of the PNCR’s expressed objections to the level of increases, particularly in the context of the percentage of increase given to public employees and teachers by the Government. These concerns were expressed in a letter dated 21 December 2006 from Mr. Robert Corbin, Leader of the Opposition to President Jagdeo. The letter stated inter alia that:

“1. Any increase in emoluments of Ministers and MPs should take cognizance of the overall economic situation of the country and in particular the percentage increase recently paid to Public Servants and other categories of public employees.

2. It is my view that priority should be given to the payment of a reasonable stipend to members of the RDC, which should have a fair relationship to emoluments enjoyed by MPs. I suggest that the minimum monthly emoluments should be $20,000 (twenty thousand dollars).

3. The proposed increase for MPs, which is in excess of one hundred percent, is unconscionable having regard to the paltry 5% recently paid to Public Servants. I would support any saving in this regard to be put towards a scheme for payment of salaries to RDC Councillors.

4. Any salary increase for Members of Parliament should be part of a general scheme for regularizing the emoluments paid to elected officials; that acknowledges the important role they play in the political governance institutions viz the Executive, the National Assembly and the local democratic organs. ..”

The PNCR-1G believes that not only MPs, but all public employees are underpaid. Consequently, to place a condition of agreement under penalty of no increases at all is to create a dangerous precedent and is a despicable attempt by the PPP/C Administration to silence members who may hold a different view about the level of increases to be paid.

MPs should be free to express their opinions about any proposed increases in their remuneration in an atmosphere free from threats. They should also be free to determine how they will deal with any remuneration eventually paid, including donating any sum to a charity of their choice.

People's National Congress Reform - One Guyana
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, December 28, 2006