Sunday, February 18, 2018

Measure the value of MPs’ work

Increasing the salaries and allowances of MPs will never be a popular move since the public perception of politicians is that they are corrupt, self-seeking, unresponsive and non-functional.

This may be true of many politicians but not all of them. In addition, the public needs whipping boys and girls in order to assuage their own frustrations and discontents and, in this regard, politicians stand at the head of the line.

However, a more rational discussion of the issue of increasing salaries and allowances of MPs must be based on the requirements of the job—its functions, responsibilities, obligations, demands and expectations of the public (including monetary) and the expenditure of time. An evaluation of a proper reward for carrying out these responsibilities should then be determined based on practices, where applicable, in the private sector and comparable pay packages elsewhere.

The actual performance of MPs on the job is quite another matter. It would be difficult to determine pay by individual performance, e.g. what criteria will be employed, who will evaluate and with what level of objectivity etc. Therefore a standard package for all is an unavoidable conclusion.

With respect to perceptions of corruption, unaccountability, unavailability, indifference and unresponsiveness associated with their performance, surely mechanisms at the party and government levels could be established to ensure minimal standards. The investigative role of the media and the vigilance of constituents are additional elements of oversight. We all have a responsibility to promote processes of good governance.

I think the People’s Partnership administration will back away from dealing with increases in the emoluments of MPs because it is not the popular thing to do. No further enquiry or justification will be pursued. An election is in the offing!

Trevor Sudama

San Fernando