Last Friday, members of Parliament voted to increase the pensions of members of Parliament. In a display of co-operation that right-thinking citizens are always calling for, the Government and the Opposition voted unanimously to increase their own pay packages. Unfortunately, this display of harmony happened in the wee hours of the morning, when most taxpayers and all members of the Salaries Review Commission were sleeping the sleep of the just.
So today, as a public service to inspire all small children who are not being killed by accident, I am using my column to reproduce extracts from the Hansard. Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain the Hansard record, partly because I didn’t ask for it, but I think my written transcript accurately reflects the bipartisan mood.
Friday, June 13, 2014
The Minister of Housing (Hon Dr Roodal Moonilal): Mr Speaker. I beg to move, that a bill titled “The Judges Salaries and Pensions Amendment Bill and the Retiring Allowances Legislative Service Bill, 2014”, be read for the first and last time.
Mr Speaker, this bill is intended to ensure members of Parliament will be able to have a comfortable retirement, even if the price of Viagra goes up. The bill will also benefit judges, so that if anyone brings a constitutional motion to have this law repealed, they will throw the case out.
Mr Speaker, there can be no doubt life can be hard for MPs after they lose their seats. I admit I myself would find it very difficult to go back to eating just three meals a day. This bill will help ensure that no MP will ever go hungry, or naked, or unmanicured. I thank you.
The Minister of Sport (Hon Anil Roberts): Mr Speaker, as an MP, I can tell you I have made great sacrifices to serve my country, for as I said in my letter to my beloved Prime Minister, I have never used any illicit drugs since I became a minister. There are former MPs who are suffering because of inadequate pensions, owning only two cars, same wife, and unable to recollect any hotel rooms they stayed in at taxpayers’ expense.
Member for Diego Martin West (Hon Dr Keith Rowley): Mr Speaker, the Honourable Minister of Housing has put forward a persuasive case for this bill. I would have great difficulty, even though I am concerned with some of the commas, voting against this arrangement.
I first learned about the importance of commas from my dougla aunt, and let it state for the record I never had any problem with her Indian half. And that is where I am coming from.
My record will show I have always stood on principle, and my principles tell me MPs should never have to worry about shaving their heads just because they can’t afford Brylcreem.
The Minister of Legal Affairs (Hon Prakash Ramadhar): Mr Speaker, as a handsome man, I do not really need a pension, but I still support this bill because I realise most MPs are not handsome. Let me also state for the record that I have never used Brylcreem, for I have always acted on principle and could have been Shah Rukh Khan.
Senator Faris al-Rawi: Mr Speaker, a society is defined by how it treats its most disadvantaged people, and this is why as an Opposition senator I must support this bill. Many MPs have to live like vagrants after their tenure is ended, and I have seen with my own eyes some of them ordering standard-sized shrimp instead of jumbo. This bill will allow former MPs to live out their days in a dignified manner, including roast pork.