Former Head of the Public Service, Reginald Dumas, said yesterday he was happy that Government yielded to overwhelming objections coming from the public at large and across the political spectrum, against the pension bills.
He was responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that Government would not approve the Judges Salaries and Pensions Amendment bill and the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) (Amendment) bill, but would instead recommend that they go to a Select Committee of the Senate.
He said he was assuming that before issuing the statement, the Prime Minister received the concurrence of the Opposition, which had supported the two bills. “So you (the Prime Minister) cannot unilaterally send out a press release,” he added.
He said he had to assume that the PNM agreed to pursue this line of action.
Dumas said he was happy to hear all this was consistent with the Prime Minister’s policy of consulting people. However, he noted, “if that were so, then the Government would not have brought the bills in the first place”.
He added, “So that I am not impressed by her statement now” that she was always been for consultation because had the Prime Minister consulted before the bills went to Parliament she would certainly have heard people of Trinidad and Tobago were overwhelming against such measures.
He said it was all very well and good to send the bills to a Senate Committee but under the Constitution, it is the Salaries Review Commission which has responsibilities for terms and conditions for members of Parliament and judges.
He said the requirements of the Constitution must be adhered to.
Dumas said the SRC should also be given the instruments and support to pay an actuarial firm to look at the issue with a view to preparing a report for the President to send to the Executive for laying in Parliament.