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Mps Seek More Pay And New Parliament

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

DESPITE the country’s significant fiscal constraints, a government-appointed select committee recommends that the Christie administration build a new House of Assembly complex during this parliamentary term, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage announced yesterday.

However, two FNM MPs who sat on the committee – Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant and St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman – protested saying that while it was generally agreed that the current Parliamentary complex was greatly inadequate, the construction of a new facility is not feasible at this time.

The select group further recommended an increase of salaries for MPs and the Deputy Speaker. It was noted that his wages should be adjusted to reflect the duties and requirements necessary to abandon normal professional work.

As it stands, the House Speaker has an $80,000 per year salary while his deputy receives $32,000. An MP’s salary is $28,000 a year. No projections were made for the new increase or how much it would cost taxpayers to construct a new Parliament.

“We agreed in principle that a Parliamentary Complex is needed,” Mr Grant said. “We also made note that we could not afford it at this time, but we did not object to a competition for the design going up.” 

Mr Chipman added: “That’s where we were because we didn’t agree to that. There is no way.”

“We agreed that they should get the ball rolling in terms of drawings. But not only that at the end of the day a site has not even really been decided. But we did not conclude this term. We did not. We didn’t reach that point.”

Dr Nottage further pointed out that there had not been an increase in Members’ salaries since 1988. “Your Committee took note of the fact that a Commission chaired by Justice Joseph Strachan was currently reviewing the salaries of members and it was hoped that some action on Members’ salaries would be taken following the tabling of that report.”

Considerable time was spent discussing a constituency office allowance, he said. The committee suggested that monthly allowances of $1,500 be increased to $2,500.

“It was agreed that the $1,500 monthly allowance was insufficient. After paying staff, rent, utilities and other recurrent commitments the $1,500 could not cover those expenses. One suggestion that was discussed was for the Government to pay the cost of rental office accommodation and to cover the cost of one staff member.”

The committee also recommended that the policy that determines travel by members be enshrined in law with members who represented multi-island constituencies being permitted to travel to each island at least once a month and receive an allowance for up to three nights for each island.

Other suggestions included:

• benefits awarded to the Leader of the Opposition should be established in law.

• the salaries of the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the House of Assembly should be fixed at the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary levels respectively.

• benefits awarded to former Prime Ministers be established in statute law.

• insurance coverage should include coverage of Members’ spouses and should continue for Members after their Parliamentary service had ended.

• a Duty allowance be paid to all Members of Parliament.

• a grant to be determined should be made to every political party represented in the House of Assembly.

• the Speaker of the House of Assembly be made a corporation sole and all of the House property, books, documents and artifacts be vested in the Speaker.

Dr Nottage served as the committee’s chairman while Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells, Neko Grant, Hubert Chipman, South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton and Theo Neilly, North Eleuthera, served on the committee.

Comments

sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Apply private sector criteria to these leaders/servants/employees of the people. Imagine that The Bahamas was a private company................. The Bahamas Co. Ltd.

DO YOU THINK THEY DESERVE A RAISE, BETTER BENEFITS AND BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS BASED ON THEIR PAST PERFORMANCE (40 YEARS)??????????

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 4 months ago

May as well lock down commenting on this one, there is going to be a riot!! HELL NO you worthless crooks, you do not deserve a 'raise'...and only when our financial position improves we should consider a new parliament building.

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Purcell 5 years, 4 months ago

After all the great job of course. Tripling your salary will do the trick? Let us just ask the Chinese to lend us some more to cover it. You want gold faucets in the new parliament? Anything for you. We understand stealing does not cover your life styles any more let us remedy the situation real quick.

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atwr 5 years, 4 months ago

I thought we were broke and needed to raise revenue/taxes not massively increase spending...defense force boats 200million+, raise MP's salary and benefits, new parliament millions.

Come on guys!!!

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 4 months ago

They are already spending the money meant to be coming in from VAT...and that money was meant to go 100% towards debt reduction...VAT is a smokescreen, the government just wants more money to spend, they have no intention of reducing any debt.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Are MPs/Cabinet members civil servants????????????????? Civil servants dont get their salaries, pensions benefits, allowances, work schedules, immunities etc ??

This is some serious exploitation of the common man.

This is glorified dictatorship at its best!!!!!!!!!!!!

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 4 months ago

No pay raises without TERM LIMITS.

I have no objection to a raise for the constituency office but if we find the office is not open and the MP is simply pocketing the money then that MP is to be terminated and prosecuted for theft of funds...

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Tell these MPs go buy some Chiney brush or Viagra if they want a raise!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

PS .....do they need a raise to take care of the gravy train and the doll houses??????

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PKMShack 5 years, 4 months ago

The folks who voted these folks in have no right to complain. You get what you voted for. Thanks Again for nothing. Voters KEEP UP THE GOOD JOB. Miss HAI yet?

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

He got his share of the booty and left.. twice. No different. Just more of the same. These guys love to raid the cookie jar.

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Bahamianpride 5 years, 4 months ago

Now they can explain how these career politicians got so wealthy if the pay & benefit package is so low as they describe. Then they can explain how M.P's qualified for $1,000000 plus loans from B.O.B

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CuriousAbaconian 5 years, 4 months ago

Put the fox in the hen house and here's what you have. These people were elected to serve us and all they do is serve themselves. Our MP in South Abaco, the turncoat Edison, is like a ghost. No one sees him (except at certain ceremonial "functions," he has no office (but still takes home his $1500/month in operating costs), and doesn't pick up his damn telephone when you call him. Absolutely worthless! And I only speak of him because he's "my" MP - I am sure many other MPs are similar in their constituencies. But, these people want a pay RAISE? You got to be kidding me...

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lionfish 5 years, 4 months ago

Does the quoted MP salary include car, chauffeur or other perks? If not, the salary is actually higher.

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The_Oracle 5 years, 4 months ago

Ludicrous, they're not worth minimum wage! perhaps the wages paid prisoners in Fox Hell.

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John 5 years, 4 months ago

Fred Mitchel says the old parliament building is 'too cramped and intimate'. Wonder exactly what did he mean.

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Purcell 5 years, 4 months ago

Let's put him in Foxhill Prison for a month as a case study? Just to enable him to gain first hand experience?

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

An MP makes $28,000 a Cabinet Minister makes $66,000 and a PM makes $84,000 ........ So Perry makes about $200,000 in a country with a $8 billion GDP economy. While Obama makes $400,000 in a $16 Trillion GDP economy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who is overpaid/underpaid??????????

Wonder how much money Perry makes from his endorsements? (Obama over $10 million)

Now the US Congressmen are well paid as compared to our MPs ........... monkey see monkey do

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John 5 years, 4 months ago

Many of them like Perry and Bj and some others know this is their last lap (in politics). So they trying to see they self and they family straight before dey go. and they friends too.

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bismark 5 years, 4 months ago

Believe In Bahamians first,well the majority got what they wanted,the gold rush is enriching themselves whilst we sit on the sides and collect the crumbs.welcome to the all for me baby administration,they are going to bankrupt this country before our very eyes.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

True.................... before they ask for more money, a transparent disclosure of each MP should be done, then an independent evaluation should be done based on a scientific survey of each constituency to grade their performance ( annual evaluation) and then a full accounting by the Auditor General's Office of the funds of each MP be done.

Then, we can have a better view if these MPs are really stewards of the citizens/money

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Lets look at something else................... most of these MPs are either self employed as doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, or entrepreneurs. The vast majority of them make far more money than the average Bahamian. let alone civil servants. For them, $28,000 is just like an allowance to begin with. ......................... how can it be when they have a real day job.

On top of that, most MPs in the government are paid for every other position they hold e.g. Cabinet, Executive Chairman, Speaker, Parliamentary Secretary, Ambassador etc. If you do that in the Civil Service it is called "moonlighting" or "double dipping" ....................

But not to to these fellas. Different strokes for different folks. THAT IS WHY MOST BAHAMIANS ARE UPSET.

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SP 5 years, 4 months ago

FYI.....I need more money too!

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Soooooooooo if the MPs get more........... you will get more????????

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topcase 5 years, 4 months ago

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps all Bahamians should just cut off the heads of their first born child, and present it to their MP on a tray - maybe that will satisfy their thirst for our blood.

TheMadHatter

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242orgetslu 5 years, 3 months ago

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