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About Turn: Mps Will Get Pay Rise

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THREE years after opposing a salary increase for parliamentarians because of the weak economy, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis now says his administration will raise the salaries of members of Parliament in the next fiscal year.

His position is a U-turn from 2014 when, in response to the Christie administration’s desire for the same thing, he said: “As long as I am leader of this country, the FNM would not support any pay increase with all the pain and suffering that is going on in this country.”

Since 2014, economic growth remains slow and the Minnis administration frequently laments the state of the country’s finances and the unemployment rate remains high.

Yesterday, Dr Minnis painted the intended increase as a sensible development, especially in light of the substantial salaries the former Christie administration paid some contract workers in the past five years. “I only want to put the nation on notice that the time has come when individuals are being paid by that government half-a-million per annum, individuals are receiving contracts up to $800,000 and the members of Parliament are being paid $28,000. I want to put the country on notice that at the next budget I will come forward with a pay increase for the members of Parliament,” he said as debate wrapped up in the House of Assembly on a constitutional amendment bill to create an independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

“I will establish an independent committee who will look at the members’ salaries, who will look at salaries for these half-a-million, these $800,000 and these contracts signed a few hours before election, all of that will be reviewed. (The committee will) review all salary structures for government entitles.”

When asked for comment on the planned salary increases, Bain and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson said parliamentarians should make $60,000 to $70,000 per year, likening their current pay to “janitorial salaries.” He said increasing the pay of politicians would help stamp out corruption.

In 2014, the Christie administration’s establishment of a parliamentary select committee to consider a salary increase for parliamentarians was widely criticised. It came mid-term as that administration’s popularity began to wane; the plan was ultimately scratched and MPs’ salaries remained the same. 

At the time, Dr Minnis told the Nassau Guardian: “The FNM has not agreed to any salary increase.

“The FNM has agreed to refer it to an independent committee who would look at it. But under these austerity measures that we’re seeing today and hard times that Bahamians are experiencing, the FNM cannot agree, even if the report comes back, cannot agree at this particular time for any increase when many people outside are suffering, cannot pay their bills, are underpaid.”

He said: “A politician’s position, that’s a service position. You have been elected to service and just as we had pain and suffering during the road reconstruction where the entire [population of New Providence] suffered at that time, the politicians must likewise feel the pain and suffering that the rest of The Bahamas is going through.”

Dr Minnis added at the time: “People are suffering and you are talking about salary increase. Salary increase my foot. As long as I am leader of this country, the FNM would not support any pay increase with all the pain and suffering that is going on in this country. The FNM will push hard for equality. The FNM will push hard to stop this income inequality.”

Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday said a salary increase for MPs is “overdue”. He said Dr Minnis should consider recommendations the former administration made rather than establish an entirely new committee to consider the matter.

For his part, Mr Robinson, the youngest parliamentarian, said Thursday a salary increase would help deter corruption.

“I think it’s about time that they increase members of Parliament salaries,” he said.

“I think that $28,000 a year is highly ridiculous. Members of Parliament are being given janitorial salaries. It is no easy task out there and if we are serious about stemming this tide of corruption then we must have a balanced approach to it and I think this increase would give that balanced approach.”

Asked to recommend a salary, he said: “I would say about $60,000 to $70,000 a year. It’s long overdue. You cannot expect that members of Parliament in the government, they are dealing with staff who are being paid three and four and five times their salaries and they must sit there and not indulge in some form of corruption. It is ridiculous. My Minister of Tourism (Dionisio D’Aguilar), there are 32 persons in our ministry who are paid more than him. He’s the minister and 32 people are paid more than him, so imagine me as the parliamentary secretary. I think that the public should have no objections to it. We should see it as another phase of stamping out corruption.”

• An earlier version of this story said: "The report from the former parliamentary select committee, which was headed by Dr Bernard Nottage, now deceased was never disclosed to the public." The Tribune would like to clarify that the report was read in Parliament by Dr Nottage in 2014.

Comments

bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

Now I have heard it all that we cannot expect politicians who have staff who are earning 3 to 4 and 5 times their (MP,, politician) salaries they (MP...politician) must sit there and not indulge in some form of curruption.

Dr Duane Sands should be elevated in the govt along with many millionaires, businesspersons who are elected politicians who knew what yhe job and pay was before applying for the job, who have made the sacrifice of truly serving and giving their best to make this our Bahamaland better.

Given the 28k salaries, it is more than what many bankers, lawyers, school teachers, nurses, policemen make. Are the thousands of them given to curruption?...

As for the humble janitorial staff making more than the MP politicians a Public apology is owed to them for implying that their work is not more so important and productive for them to be earning their salaries if indeed their salaries are as much as that.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

I am sorry, but Travis CANNOT and should not be making as much as someone with a bachelors degree, masters, doctorate or specialized technical skills. It's quite fine with me if the MP is not the highest paid in the organization. Maybe we should be more concerned about nominating people with character and ethics rather than whether we should pay them high salaries so they don't steal.

Some of these guys have nothing to recommend them other than a warm body.

And for Travis' enlightening, as a technical officer with a bachelor's degree you got 17,000 dollars, he don't even have his first degree yet and at a salary of 28,000, PLUS a Parliamentary Secretary position that we KNOW he is NOT qualified to execute, he talking about he making as much as the janitor? These guys define hubris. Who would have thought it...

What kind of men are these who's main objective is to make sure een no one making more than them, DAguilar started It off form jump street talking about his Harvard trained consultants salary.Tthey looking all around at what everyone else getting. We don't need this.

Salaries should be commensurate with performance. A base salary of 40,000 and then a maximum of 10, 1,500 bonuses based on specific goals and achievement as measured by previously identified performance indicators. And "Good", "better", "nice" and "doing things" are not measurable indicators. This doesn't happen UNTIL we see them doing something. Maybe a discussion point in 2020.

Give us a clear plan with 1 year 2,3,4,5 and 10 year goals and milestones and deliverables.

They are laying off people left and right, already talking about 695 million dollar deficit and they want to mention raise in the same breath? It's ludicrous. These supposed to be businessmen, what business gives across the board increases in the face of massive losses?

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 8 months ago

B U L L L S H I T.

This administration campaigned on the dismal state of the economy.

They knew what the salaries were before signing up.

They are well aware of the financial status of the public treasury, even to an extent they are firing ordinary Bahamians to bring some relief to the already strapped public purse.

With the same breath, this incompetent Hubert is going to propose raising salaries for MP's.

This is preposterous.

Forge ahead though FNM's. Dig your political and proverbial graves.

Brave Davis and the PLP must be laughing at you guys. They dont even have to perform as an opposition, Hubert & Co are on a path of self destruction.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

Translation of what Minnis said: "We ain't in parliament to serve da people for nuttin'. An' we don't care dat most of ya we spose ta serve ain't gat much. Da people put us here to get what we can as fast as we can. An' if ya don't like it...well, too bad.....cause we gonna do it and ya can't stop us!"

Not even the corrupt Christie-led PLP government dared to be this arrogant!

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Cas0072 1 year, 8 months ago

If they can't afford to be public servants they should not have entered politics.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

The MPs must become full time civil servants who work their regular 9-5 jobs and personally operate their offices in their constituencies ......... they are being paid a fair salary now( $28,000 per year) to meet (on average) for 6 hours in Parliament for 6 to 10 times per month (at best) and take 2 months vacation and get full pension at the end of 2 terms (10 years) service .......... If they want more they need to become FULL TIME employees of the Government!!!!

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 8 months ago

What about teachers and nurses? They are permanent employees that receive a wage that cannot possibly cover living expenses. They should be given raises before any useless MP....

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Socrates 1 year, 8 months ago

to say a pay rise will stymie corruption is foolishness.. the corrupt will be so regardless.. more relevant is that only cabinet ministers are fulltime employees.. the rest do this as a hobby.. show up when the house meets if you feel like it.. walk in and out when in session as you like.. remember Treasure Cays attendance?.. no pay rise necessary. plus, they get pensions too for parttime work..where does the excess end?

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Socrates 1 year, 8 months ago

this is not the only example, but i should add that while they let go the contract people and send the rehired home, there will be no savings to the Treasury since, as this example demonstrates, the intention is simply to give that money to others.. its more a redistribution of the largess...

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

The young MP needs to finish school.

Someone should have told him that at least finish 6 months probation before you ask for a raise.

Do not insult janatorial staff by belittling their hard working jobs and low paying salaries. They are the people too. You are not an elite because you are in parliament, someone should tell you you are a servant and being in parliament is a privilage. Some MP actually give up their salary for the honor and privilige to serve.

Apologise for your comments on janitorial staff.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 8 months ago

Doc will keep on putting people out of work so that they can receive a pay rise. doc talks with a forked tongue. the treasury is broke the deficit is to high all departments must cut spending by 10 per cent. he opposed the increase under the PLP now he approves it under the FNM where is the Truth in this man??. No one can believe anything he says.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 8 months ago

The PM comparing what contractors made as a means of justifying a pay rise for members of the house of assembly makes no sense. But that is who he is. He makes no sense.

Broke and busted Robinson is he considering corruption? why would he make a statement like that? There are a whole lot of people in Bains Town who are suffering and still waiting for their Tax free Zone.

It is what the peoples time voters voted for so they should all enjoy the ride.

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Emac 1 year, 8 months ago

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="Parliamentarians salaries throughout the region">

http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin...">Parliamentarians salaries throughout the region by Emac

Any questions???? SMT

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Emac 1 year, 8 months ago

Not even a saint would want to work for such a measly salary. But I think the problem here is not the plan for salary increase, but the fact that Minnis sincerely promised that these types of actions will NOT be priority on his government's to-do list. We must all admit that there are more pressing needs in this country other than the good ministers salaries.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

Apples and oranges. What them ministers doing, what are their educational level. Maybe they're bringing something to the table other than the ability to dance in an election stage. I for one am not agreeing to higher salaries just because someone else getting it. This is the same argument pushed by the unions that we trying to get away from. Performance based salaries.

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CatIslandBoy 1 year, 8 months ago

Anyone who suggests that $28,000.00 is a fair salary for a member of Parliament in the 21st. Century Bahamas is being ridiculously silly. No wonder these guys try to enrich themselves through other means. Of cours their salaries should be increased!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

They knew what their MP compensation and benefits would be when they decided to run for office. You seem to be saying or justifying that by hook or crook they should now feel entitled to get what they feel they deserve. Worse still, you may be implying that anyone who feels they should have more will seek to get it any way they can. You clearly have have little faith in MPs being willing to tighten their belts in the way that so many Bahamians are having to do in our country today. Truly sad!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe we should give them an electronic character test before nominating them

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GODCOUNTRYBAHAMIANFIRST 1 year, 8 months ago

Minister Dr Hubert Minnis must know something and know it well. We the people, at least I, expect patriotism and good government to come from his office. We want to see hard work. Not politicians who do nothing. We want you to improve this country. The world is sick of politicians and are now realizing that they do not work. Just get paid. This is changing all around the world, and the Bahamian people are realizing it to. You men are in the office, but though we have a great country thank God, we want a better country from you. We want more opportunities and a better economy. Give it to us. When we have this, we wont care about your pay raise.

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="BETTER OUR LAND.">

http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin...">BETTER OUR LAND. by GODCOUNTRYBAHAMIANFIRST

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jackbnimble 1 year, 8 months ago

I thought politics was about service not high salaries I thought it was the reason MPs (outside of cabinet members) got to keep their day jobs as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.

Guess I thought wrong.

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Engineer 1 year, 8 months ago

The position of an elected Member of Parliment is not considered to be a full time job and has never been considered as such. It is a part time job. Therefore, a lower salary is appropriate.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

If it is not a full-time job ........ then why is it that they must satisfy the needs, wants and desires of every constituent and his/her family with gifts, jobs, pension benefits, funeral expenses, utility bills, booze money, gas money, plane ticket money, and freebies 24/7??????? ......... That is what is realistically expected of a typical Bahamian MP. The Government provides them with a "salary", an office allowance (30K) and a constituency fund (100K), but that is a pittance.

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screwedbahamian 1 year, 8 months ago

The New Government, when they were on the campaign trail, shouted out loud and clear " THE THEN GOVERNMENT'S LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY" and consequently they were elected overwhelmingly with the mandate to correct the lack of Transparency and Accountability and eliminate CORRUPTION in the PEOPLES BAHAMIAN GOVERNMENT. Most people in the world associate pay increases with production, service and benefits. In five and a half months the Bahamian people have seen little to none of this criteria. Perhaps,the good PM should produce a report on each member of the Bahamian peoples government listing each of their combined total government income as elected members of Parliament all government appointments and any funds given to operate constituency offices, job responsibilities, expected accomplishments and a stated date and time to publicly report on their accomplishments to date.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

In the civil service ........... an officer is rated annually (May 2017- May 2018)

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

POLITICIANS ELECTED ARE THE SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE. At least they say so before getting elected. It is we the people to blame if we elect the wrong persons, it is we to blame if we do not ask them if they believe in Hanging or find their views on issues of concern. Thank goodness one of the laws to come is the ability to sign petition to recall your MP. Anyone who wants a pay increase from 28k to 60 to 70 k is just the same as blaming the guy who got an increase from 150k to 200k which should for percentage comparison would be around 320k. Case of both sodes of the same coin.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

Bahamians elect party over person .......... for selfish gain or blind passion ...... They are not generally interested in the personal beliefs of the candidates.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

The reporter should have cleared up the ridiculous assertions made by Travis.

I have no problem increasing Dr Sands and Desmond Bannister's salaries. I don't know about them other people. The funny thing is, I'm certain they'll be the last in line asking for an increase.

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

If the MPs get any increase it will mean more purchasing power etc. See the Venezuelan fella eating the meat pie an how heavy he getting. The janitorial staff therefore will have more work and should also get a psy increase. Glennis Hanna, the Speaker and D Aguilar should also get a pay increase

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

DAguilar and Dames are disappointments....

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Exumian 1 year, 8 months ago

This is the first mistep by PM that is worth noting. Most of the MPs in the house are BRAND NEW and have done NOTHING to deserve a pay raise. As for persons in tbe departments making more that the MP...some if not all of these people are career persons who have spent a life time in those positions and more qualified. They probably have not had a raise in ages. Then there is the question of What does an MP do to warrant bring paid any way? MOST of them do littlevus anything for their Constituencies and constituents. Just check. There is NO job description for an MP. These guys have been rapingbud for years with nothing to show for it. Out of 29 large islands only a couple are truly developed..abd those that are leave the Bahamian in fire straits. So let's see about attaching some merit to the present salaries. ....before we consider raises. And paying someone to stop from bring corrupted in OXYMARONIC

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

First misstep "that the general public has picked up on" you mean.

His 1st mistake was not having anything close to an action plan from day one. His 2nd misstep was appointing Turnquest as Min Of Finance. That post is just too critical at this time to hand it to a novice. His 3rd misstep was agreeing to a 722 million dollar budget. His 4th misstep was not asking DAguilar to apologize publicly for all the misinformation he spitefully put out about a black consultant making as much as the white man. His 5th mistake was appointing an FS that no one in the financial world supported. His next mistake is running the government as if it's an election campaign and listening to campaign advisors who did nothing substantial to aid his win of the election.

It's them other people time

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