A senior Grenada government minister has confirmed that all elected Members of Parliament including those on the opposition side will benefit from a $5,000 salary with effect from January 1, 2024.
According to the government minister, it is nothing but misleading and mischief making, information being widely circulated that the $5,000 salary is going only to the elected Members of the Lower House on the side of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
He said the decision was taken to give the increase across the board and that the $5,000 salary will also be applied to the Leader of the Opposition Dr. Keith Mitchell, as well as his other MP’s like Peter David, Emmalin Pierre, Kate Lewis and Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen.
“…The government is giving $5,000 to Opposition MPs and Ministers and that is basically to get an income as an MP,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the $5,000 will be on top of the income made by opposition members like attorney-at-law Peter David who runs a private legal practice as well as Emmalin Pierre who is believed to be employed with a private concern in the south of the island.
In addition, opposition MP for the rural St Andrew North-east constituency Kate Lewis is a staff member of a leading private school on the island.
“Nobody is talking about that,” said the government minister.
He also spoke of the expenses that an MP will have to incur in looking after the needs of his constituents.
“I am in my office today (Thursday) and I give out more than $1,000 to people who (are) in need,” he said.
The government minister felt that there was a deliberate attempt by some elements in the country to engage in misinformation by circulating information that ministers are getting a top up of $5,000 on their salaries.
“It is not saying that the Opposition MPs (are) getting $5,000 also – it ain’t saying that – everybody getting $5000,” he remarked.
The minister also refuted claims being made by the Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell that government ministers on assuming office 17 months ago took an increase of EC$2,000 on their salaries.
He said: “What happened is that the State is supposed to provide free gas for Ministers and a driver. The PM realised that the gas system was being abused because you have ministers getting free gas, their friends getting free gas, their families getting free gas and that ain’t making no sense.
“So what the PM did is that he took out all the free gas, all the driver thing and he gave us $2,000 (to) buy your own gas, get your own driver – a driver alone is $2,000.
“So if you have to hire a driver that is $2,000 already and you have to buy the gas that is more than $2,000 so that ain’t making no sense for us.”
According to the minister, the system that was used under Dr. Keith Mitchell and his NNP regime was “a better system” for Parliamentarians in terms of benefits for MPs.
Another government member told THE NEW TODAY that all Parliamentarians are currently paid $1,200 a month and when the contribution to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is deducted especially from those without a Portfolio the figure goes down to roughly $1,000 a month.
“As of January 2024, all MP’s will be paid a salary, and in my view, it’s about time MPs are treated with the respect we deserve,” he said.