PM Browne’s circulation of 2024 Expenditure is only an attempt to save face, Party Chairman asserts

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Source Real News- Chairman of the United Progressive Party D.Gisele Isaac hasaccused Prime Minister Gaston Browne of trying to “save face”after he claimed that Opposition parliamentarians were includedin the 14 percent salary increase that he and his ministersawarded themselves.

The Browne Administration recently circulated the 2024Recurrent Expenditure for Parliament as proof that theOpposition Benches were to be included in the pay hike.

However, Isaac challenges the prime minister, asking howOpposition parliamentarians could have been granted a raisewhen they neither knew about nor have seen any such salaryincrease.

According to the UPP Chair, if everything had been above board,the matter would not have been shrouded in secrecy.She adds that, prior to the Administration’s circulation of theExpenditure page, no Cabinet Notes or any other informationfrom the Government had announced that any such raise was totake effect for parliamentarians.

Even more telling are two separate circulars – one datedDecember 29, 2023, and the other January 17, 2024 – that weresigned by the financial secretary and addressed to the clerk toParliament.

The documents explicitly excludes parliamentarians andministers from the January 2024 public-sector salary increases.

Isaac notes that, in a further cover up, the prime minister claimedthere was a “glitch” in the relay of information from theParliament.

The UPP chair explains that any such “glitch” is unlikely – since,with the December 2022 dissolution of Parliament, the term ofoffice for all parliamentarians – Government and Opposition –was ended.

All elected persons would then have begun a new term in officeon January 18, 2024.

Therefore, if any such salary increases had been put in place forall parliamentarians, Isaac says, the Opposition lawmakers wouldhave been included.

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