Opposition parliamentarians report neither salary increase nor notice and rubbish Browne’s excuse of a ‘glitch’

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Opposition parliamentarians report neither salary increase nor notice and rubbish Browne’s excuse of a ‘glitch’

United Progressive Party (UPP) parliamentarians – members of both the Upper and LowerHouses – assert they have not received any salary increases and are rubbishing claimsabout a delay in payment made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Last Friday afternoon, April 5, REAL News broke the story that government ministers hadawarded themselves a 14 percent increase, effective January 2023.

Since then, Government Spokesman Lionel “Max” Hurst and, now, Browne have claimed the salary hike will benefit all parliamentarians, with the prime minister adding ambassadors and pensioners to the list.

While the UPP parliamentarians all confirmed they had not received any notice of this 14percent increase, Browne – the finance minister – claims that it was mentioned during theBudget Debate – from which the Opposition was shut out.

In addition, Browne alleges that the delay in the parliamentarians’ raise was due to a“glitch” with their records from the Parliament.

However, the UPP dismisses this explanation as nonsense, noting that the tenure of theOpposition Bench would have begun following the General Election of January 18, 2023the very same date as the Government MPs.

The UPP notes, further, that three Opposition MPs and two senators were returningMembers; hence, their records would have been established at the Parliament since 2018at the latest.

Further contradicting PM Browne’s claim that a 14 percent increase had been guaranteedto pensioners, the UPP refers to the Cabinet Notes of November 3, 2023:

“The Cabinet decided that, in keeping with inflationary pressures and the loss in the valueof money over time, Government Pensioners are to receive an increase in their monthlvpayments.“The precise amount is subject to negotiations and affordability….” the Notes specifically say.

The Notes conclude: “A team at the Ministry of Finance is tasked with determining what isaffordable and what revenue stream is likely to be adjusted to ensure that revenues canmatch the increase in expenditure that would be triggered by an increase in pensionpayments.”

Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle says he and his colleagues will not be exploited to coverthe prime minister’s embarrassment.

Accordingly, they have determined they will acceptno salary increase until the pensioners have been satisfied.

Meanwhile, sources confirm that retroactive payments of the 14 percent increase – to thegovernment ministers and senators who serve as ministers of State – have been processed.They range from a high of $19,000 down to $6,800.

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