The 17-month old Dickon Mitchell-led administration in Grenada is making moves in Parliament to provide for increased salaries to both elected and nominated members of Parliament.
In presenting the 2024 Budget to a joint sitting of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament on Monday, Finance Minister Dennis Cornwall announced that the salaries and allowances given to elected Members of Parliament will move from EC$1474.00 a month to EC$5000.00 and Senators from just around $852.00 to $3500.00.
Minister Cornwall, the Member of Parliament for St Patrick East told the House that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell will also be re-introducing the EC$10, 000.00 that was budgeted under the former administration for all fifteen elected Parliamentarians.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Congress put a hold on this particular budget that was operating from the Office of the Prime Minister under the reign of Keith Mitchell.
The former office holder removed the Budget from under Parliament, placed it under his watch and contracted a private company from his St George North-west constituency to administer the programme.
In putting forward the case for more monies to be paid to Parliamentarians in Grenada, the Minister of Finance pointed out that the island has one of the lowest salary scales in the Caribbean.
He told Monday’s sitting: “Mr. Speaker, we campaigned on the issue of ensuring that Parliamentary Representatives are given adequate tools and resources to serve their constituents.
“ Mr. Speaker, I am sure the nation would be shocked to be told that Parliamentarians who are not Cabinet Ministers, or who are opposition Members of Parliament only receive a basic parliamentary allowance of $1,474 per month, while a Senator receives a basic parliamentary allowance of $852 per month.
Mr. Speaker, a Member of Parliament who is a Minister of Government or member of the Cabinet receives no allowances, no salary, absolutely no resources – other than an office space – as a Member of Parliament.
Yet, Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament are expected to meet and service the basic needs of their constituents, without any resources to so do. This is clearly untenable.
Mr. Speaker, the experience of other countries, even in our region, is vastly different, ranging from Dominica to Trinidad and Tobago to the Bahamas.
Successive governments have shied away from addressing this issue. As members of the House, we should not continue to “kick the can” down the road for the next generation of Parliamentarians. A review of the lack of resources provided to our Parliamentarians which hinders their ability to effectively carry out their duties to their constituents is a matter that should clearly get full support from all members of this Honourable House.
In this context, Mr. Speaker, this Government is prepared to bring this matter before the Parliament for the deliberation and decision of the House Committee (to be guided by the COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARIANS PAY AND REMUNERATION: SURVEY OUTCOME REPORT 2020-2021, which provides a comprehensive survey of parliamentary salaries and allowances across the Commonwealth of Nations), for the payment of a parliamentary allowance for all Members of Parliament and the introduction of a constituency provision for each Elected Members of Parliament – the Members of this House.
Mr. Speaker, if you are elected by your constituents to serve as their Member of Parliament, you must be given some resources to serve your constituents. It should be no other way. Therefore, Mr. Speaker we shall propose a salary of $5,000 per month to each elected Member of Parliament – irrespective of whether you are a member of the Government or the Opposition.
Mr. Speaker, we shall propose a constituency provision of $120,000 per year to each Elected Member of Parliament – irrespective of whether you are a member of the Government or the Opposition.
We shall propose a salary of $3,500 to Members of the Senate – irrespective of whether you are a Government or Opposition or Independent appointed Senator.
Mr. Speaker, we also expect the House Committee to introduce a framework for adequate transparency and accountability in the management of any resources given to Elected Members of the House of Representatives to assist them in carrying out their service to their constituents.”