By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
IN the face of public uproar, the Minnis administration has placed a stipulation on its pledge to increase salaries for Members of Parliament next year, with the prime minister’s Press Secretary Anthony Newbold saying yesterday the salaries will not be increased if the economy does not improve.
He would not say which economic metrics will be analysed to determine if a salary increase for MPs should take place.
His statements came in response to questions about whether Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis regrets his 2014 position on raising the pay of MPs.
At the time, Dr Minnis suggested that as leader he would not raise salaries for MPs so long as the economy remained weak and there is “pain and suffering” going on in the country. He was leader of the Official Opposition at the time.
By his administration’s own admission, the country’s finances are bleak and the Free National Movement (FNM) came to power emphasising the weakness of the economy.
Mr Newbold said there’s “no intention to” raise politicians’ salaries so long as the economy is feeble and Bahamians are suffering.
Asked if he meant the economy must considerably improve for MPs’ salaries to be raised, he said: “It’s the only way they will be raised.”
Dr Minnis did not suggest when he announced the salary increase in Parliament several weeks ago that a raise is conditional on improvements in the country’s economy.
He said at the time: “I want to put the country on notice that at the next budget I will come forth with a pay increase for the members of Parliament. 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 dollars per annum, individuals are receiving contracts up to $800,000 and the members of Parliament are being paid $28,000…I will establish an independent committee who will look at member salaries, who will look at government structure salaries for this half a million dollar, these $800,000 and these contracts signed a few hours before the election. All of that will be reviewed. (The committee will) review all salary structures for government entities.”
Mr Newbold said yesterday: “The prime minister’s position is, there will be a complete review of all public sector salaries. Job placement is going to be resolved, all a part of what he calls a reform agenda because [the] civil service has to be reformed; talking about job placement, talking about young people who want to get into the civil service, young people who are eminently qualified.
“You have to review what is there, see what you need to move around, see where you need to change, see those changes you need to make. That’s his general view. Everyone ought to own a liveable income. The general review committee to be established to look at all of that and we’ll see what their recommendations are for the next budget cycle.”
Mr Newbold said the review committee, which he doesn’t expect to be established until next year, may conclude a salary hike is not “a good idea”.
“We don’t know what the committee is going to say,” he said.
“We also don’t know what the economy is going to look like next year.”
TheMadHatter 5 years, 6 months ago
A government responsive to the people? Wow- i am impressed. This is historic and my faith in this govt just moved up a notch. Thank you PM Minnis.
Cas0072 5 years, 6 months ago
Several MPs have come forward talking about how they spend all of their salaries on their constituents. If they can afford to give away their whole salaries, it sounds like they don't need a raise.
Alex_Charles 5 years, 6 months ago
damn right. It is not the job of the MP to provide for constituents. They are legislators first and foremost.
Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 6 months ago
Minnis really needs to grow a pair and take direct personal responsibility for his recent MP salary increase blunder while standing on the floor of the HOA. After hiding behind a few of his favourite "Yes" men in cabinet (Bannister, Pintard et al.), we now see him once again hiding behind his press secretary. For Minnis to have said, only six months after the general election, that FNM MPs want and deserve a generous salary increase "in order to better serve and accommodate the needs of their constituents" is absurdly ridiculous. Minnis should be forthrightly telling all of his FNM MPs that the practice of MPs personally giving financial aid and/or handouts of any other kind to their constituents, in exchange for political support, must immediately cease. In a fair democracy where each voter should be regarded as having an equal vote, Minnis should not be encouraging, supporting or otherwise tolerating any type of 'vote buying', period!
Cas0072 5 years, 6 months ago
I hate to see how they are trying to legitimize such a corrupt practice under the guise of charity. Meanwhile, the other ones are saying it will help in keeping them honest. Their logic is frightening.
licks2 5 years, 6 months ago
Lost in translation again. . .poor reasoning there dude. . .I am really getting tired of this style of "gergigally" talking. . .
John 5 years, 6 months ago
Considering that the Bahamian economy has been in this same "stagnant" condition for almost a decade on cam almost conclude that this is the normal Bahamian economy, post the drug era. One should remember before the drug smuggling culture entered The Bahamas even tourism was seasonal and many of the hotels closed in the off season. And while there may be some fluctuations in the employment and unemployment numbers this country will not see the mass amount of cash flow as was in the 1980's, 1909's and early 2000's. And if one was to drive around the island of New Providence the massive number of unkempt and decaying buildings, commercial resident tells the tale that the money that was around to construct these buildings are not around to maintain them. Visit any family island, including Grand Bahama to the North and any other island and the story is the same. And the recent barrage of hurricanes did not serve to better the situation, as in many instances, they were they final straw and gave struggling property owners a valid reason to walk away from their properties and let nature take its course.
licks2 5 years, 6 months ago
Such is the lot of a people who "hold out their can for the gobmer them to fine we jobs. . .fix this and fix dat"! This present government is about changing the foundations that placed us in such position. . .the purchases of our bonds by global money markets to bring us on an even footing is points in fact! they removed a whole heap of back-logged monies. . .all at 6%. . .in a junk bond economy. . .and did not add one red cent further to the national debt. THIS GOVERNMENT HAS DONE A YOEMAN'S JOB SO FAR. . .MY DISCUSSION GROUP STILL GIVES THIS GROUP HIGH MARKS. . .THEY STILL HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR THIS "CHANGE AGENTS CREW. . .THIS CREW WILL GO DOWN AS THE BEST GOVERNMENT EVER. . .IF THEY KEEP UP THEIR PUSH FORWARD FOR CHANGE!! Only these political "nincompoops" thinking around here can't reason beyond their political noses!! One of the greatest critics of doc said: "Minnis know just we need. . . he is changing the whole system. . .we are heading to a better and brighter days!! Corruption is already becoming a thing of the past!!
John 5 years, 6 months ago
Likewise many businesses may be suffering the same fate and having to close down simply because their business model is based on the drugs inflated economy model rather than the slim and mean and tough economy that exists today. And this is not just a reality for the Bahamas. In the United States, despite unemployment being below 5 % since Barack Obama’s sixth year in office, the housing market continues to struggle. Thousands of retailers or chain stores have shut their doors and yet the market continues to be brutal.
DaGoobs 5 years, 6 months ago
Too many times these make statements that appear to be made off the top of their heads without fully reviewing all of the background details or having all of the requisite information in their possession. You know, the old "Engage brain before putting mouth in gear" adage. Based on what they have said, several of them leave you with the impression that their principal concern is the money and not providing service first. Question is, how many of them know what service it is that they are providing?
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