KINGSTOWN, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – In St Vincent news, Vincentians may soon have on the island’s law books, a piece of legislation dealing with unauthorized absences from the House of Assembly meetings.
Speaking on the issue last June, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves lamented the absence from the Chamber of the Opposition’s Parliamentarians from the debate on two critical pieces of legislation.
The two pieces of legislation are the Eastern Caribbean Magistrate Agreement Bill 2013 and the Protocols for Eastern Supreme Court between the Governments of the Members States and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Bill 2013.
According to the Vincentian leader, these two pieces of legislation could have far-reaching effects on the lives of OECS nationals, “but the Opposition is not here to debate these two very important pieces of legislation.”
The 66-year-old Prime Minister, who has been a political activist for over 45 years, spoke of the salaries and allowances earned by Vincentian Parliamentarians.
According to information received from the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament Office, the Prime Minister earns EC$140,455.00, while the Leader of the Opposition earns EC$92,029.00 annually in salaries, respectively.
In addition the entertainment allowance is EC$15,600.00 and EC$8,460.00 for the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, respectively.
The Cabinet of Ministers excluding the Prime Minister earn an annual total of EC$842,722.00, with a Parliamentary Secretary earning EC$79,654.00 yearly. The Elected Members earn a total of EC$196,619.00, and a Senator takes home EC$84,271.00.
Government Ministers entertainment allowance is a total of EC$124,200.00, with Elected Members allowed EC$50,760.00 in total for entertainment. Office allowances to elected members total EC$276,000.00 annually, with an Acting Allowance of EC$11,800.00 to whoever deputises when the Prime Minister is indisposed.
According to the Vincentian Prime Minister, Parliamentarians are elected to do the people’s business, and therefore should not see themselves as serving their own agenda in the House.
He called for legislation to be enacted to deal with all unauthorized absences from the island’s House of Assembly, so that the electorate will get value for their tax dollars.