Caribbean news. How possible is it for the leader of a developing country to rake in an annual income on par with the major world leaders? Well if you are a native of Guyana the answer is very clear although it is not one that can be easily digested.
The tenure of President Bharrat Jagdeo started in August 1999 and culminated in December 2011. During that time Jagdeo was able to put measures in place that saw him eventually being able to earn a whopping US$120,000 in salary and allowances annually, in addition to other substantial benefits.

President Donald Ramotar. Photo courtesy

President Donald Ramotar. Photo courtesy

Of interest is that Jagdeo, even after demitting office, still benefits from an income earning scheme he ensured was crafted while in office. His successor, Donald Ramotar, will benefit in the same manner as his predecessor.
Critics have pointed out that the high salaries are far-removed from the ideals of the Founder Leader of the PPP, Dr, Cheddi Jagan.

The state of affairs became even more glaring when in mid-March the Business Insider reported on the earnings of 13 major world leaders. A perusal of that report places the President of Guyana in admirable standing despite the country’s lowly economic status. In fact if President Ramotar, based on his salary, were to be added to the Business Insider list he would sit comfortably as one of the highest paid world leaders. He would sit 12th with Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff. With a salary of US.7 million, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore is the world’s best-paid leader. But this is perhaps understandable since Loong’s Singapore is also the world’s most expensive city for a second year in a row, according to The Economist’s bi-annual Worldwide Cost of Living report.

Following Loong on the list of highly paid major world leaders is United States President Barack Obama with an annual salary of US0,000. And then there are Canada’s Stephen Harper who follows with US0,000; Germany’s Angela Merkel at US4,400 while South Africa’s Jacob Zuma earns US3,500.

The list continues with United Kingdom’s David Cameron who takes home an annual income of US4,800 while Japan’s Shinzo Abe is paid US2,700. Further down the list is Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey whose annual earning as leader is 7,400. Just below him is France’s Francois Hollande whose earnings per year amounts to 4,300 as Russia’s Vladimir Putin takes home 6,000.

Chart courtesy

Chart courtesy

According to the Business Insider earlier, President Putin announced that he and almost everyone working for him would take a 10 per cent pay cut because of mounting economic sanctions imposed on his country.
“Whether Putin and his staff will actually feel the slash in their salaries is debatable, considering Putin says he is unaware of the amount printed on his paychecks,” reported the Business Insider. It went on to quote the Russian President as saying, “Frankly, I don’t even know my own salary; they just give it to me, and I put it away in my account.” He reportedly made this disclosure to a group of reporters during his annual Q&A session in December.

But the Business Insider outlined that Putin’s official salary is chump change compared with that of a Prime Minister of an island nation smaller than New York City – Singapore’s Loong. His earning is 12½ times as much as Putin. Loong’s salary is large enough to pay for the combined salaries of the leaders of India (Narendra Modi – US$30,300); Brazil (Dilma Rousseff – US$120,000); Italy (Matteo Renzi – US$ 124, 600); Russia, France, Turkey, Japan, United Kingdom, South Africa and Germany.

But there is one fact that Guyanese ignore, that the per capita income of those countries makes Guyanese look like labourers in a large country. Guyana’s minimum wage is about US$2 per hour; the United States is US$11 per hour or US$88 per eight-hour day.

The minimum wage for Canada is an average of US$10 an hour, while in Germany this translated to US$11 and US$6 per day hour in South Africa. In the United Kingdom the minimum wage earned amounts to US$10, in Japan it is US$8, Turkey – US$3, France – US$12, Russia – US$1, Italy – US$6, Brazil – US$2 while India records the all time lowest of US$0.28. Article courtesy

Countries Leaders’ Salaries(US$$$) GDP per capita(US$$$) Minimum Wage per hour (US$$$)
USA $400,000 $53,000 $11
Canada $260,000 $52,000 $10
Germany $234,000 $46,000 $11
South Africa $223,000 $66,000 $6
United Kingdom $214,000 $41,000 $10
Japan $202,000 $38,000 $8
Turkey $197,000 $11,000 $3
France $194,000 $42,000 $12
Russia $136,000 $14,000 $1
Italy $124,000 $36,000 $6
Guyana $120,000 $3,700 $2
Brazil $120,000 $11,000 $2
India $30,000 $1,500 $0.28
China $22,000 $7,000 $1.2