NASSAU, The Bahamas, Tuesday November 7, 2017 – The Dr Hubert Minnis administration will get no support from the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in its move to hike the salaries of members of Parliament.
About five months after making sweeping cuts to reduce government expenditure, Prime Minister Minnis announced that during next year’s budget, proposals will be tabled for MPs to get a salary increase.
Currently MPs are paid US$28, 000 per year. But Dr Minnis said that figure was too low.
“…Individuals are being paid by the government half a million dollars per annum, individuals are receiving contracts up to US$800,000 and the members of Parliament are being paid US$28,000.
“…I will establish an independent committee who will look at member salaries, who will look at…these US$800,000 and these contracts signed a few hours before the election. All of that will be reviewed,” he said.
But PLP leader Philip Davis has blasted the move, saying the decision was “made out of envy” and showed the level of hypocrisy in the Free National Movement (FNM).
“His statement about increasing MPs’ salaries was predicated on the fact of his disclosures on what others are making. So I said he appears to be envious of what is being earned by others and is motivated now to increase MPs’ salaries because he doesn’t think others should be making that much more than that,” Davis told The Nassau Guardian.
Three years ago, Dr Minnis told the media that if he led the country, there would be no increase in salaries for MPs, given the suffering of some Bahamians.
Davis charged that the FNM had played around with the issue and its decision was evidence that the party could not be trusted.
“As I pointed out before, they said a lot of things during the campaign, and only one true thing they’ve lived up to, and that is firing from the hill to the valley. So people are being fired all through the public service and everything else hasn’t happened. I’m not shocked.”
Davis, who had previously supported a pay increase for MPs, said the country could ill afford the hike at this time.