Friday, February 23, 2018

Payments for former MPs

 because their terms of office were only three years and six months, due to the fact that Manning called an early election. Had Manning called the election six months later, they would have been entitled to a pension of one-third of a sitting Minister’s emoluments which at present would compute at $20,515 a month.

Under the new arrangement, ministers and former ministers who served for eight years or more (but less than ten years) in the Parliament would receive one-half of the salary and emoluments of a sitting minister, which amounts at present to $30,025 (up from $13,676.67). Those who served for ten years and more (but less than 15 years) would receive a pension equal to three-fifths of the salary and emoluments of a sitting minister, which currently amounts to $36,030 (up from a little less than $20,515). Those former ministers who served for 15 years and more (but less than 18 years) would received a pension equal to three-fourths of a ministerial salary and allowances which currently computes to  $45,037.50 a month (up from approximately $20,515). 

Previous Ministers such as Hugh Francis, Overand Padmore, Eddie Hart, Lenny Saith, Neville Connell, Stanford Callendar, Wendell Mottley, Reeza Mohammed, Raymond Palackdharrysingh, Trevor Sudama, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Ralph Maraj, Vincent Lasse, and Manohar Ramcharan, would fall within one of these categories. 

Jack Warner whose term is entering its 12th year, would be immediately entitled to receive a pension equivalent to 3/5th of a sitting ministerial emolument, which on the current basis of calculation would amount to $36,030. Ganga Singh, also a sitting parliamentarian, who has accumulated 14 years service would fall in the same category as Warner and would be entitled to receive a similar pension, as soon as the bill becomes law.

The motion of a current member of Parliament receiving a pension is not new. Since it is done in the case of the Prime Minister. Basdeo Panday and Patrick Manning have both received prime ministerial pensions while serving in the Parliament on the Opposition bench.

Also to benefit would be former parliamentary secretaries, such as Ashton Ford, who would have receive enhanced pension benefits. 

All benefits of legislators are subject to tax. However judicial emoluments and pensions by law are tax exempt.

Former justice minister Herbert Volney who did not qualify for a pension under the parliamentary arrangement because he did not serve the minimum four years, will however benefit from the enhanced judicial pension package.

Similarly Justices of Appeal whose current pension are between $18,699 and $35,717 will now have a pension of being  $35,784 and $68,351. A puisne judge pension would go from between $16,599 to $31,705 to $33,683 to $64,339. There is minimum to serve in order to qualify  for a judicial pension, nor is there a qualifying age to bring receiving it.

For those who served in the Parliament but were never ministers, the benefits were also enhanced. Though the financial gap between them and their ministerial counterparts is substantial. See Table.


Bigger pensions


The current rate 


POSITION Salary    1/6 (5 years) 1/3 (9 years) 1/2 (13.5 years) 2/3  (18 years)    


Minister     41,030    6,838.33       13,676.67   20,515         27,353.33  

Non-Cabinet Minister     33,940    5,656.67       11,313.33       16,970         22,626.67  

Speaker/President 29,590    4,931.67         9,863.33       14,795       19,726.67  

Leader of the Opposition 29,590    4,931.67         9,863.33       14,795       19,726.67  

Parliamentary Secretary 23,500    3,916.67         7,833.33       11,750         15,666.67  

Deputy Speaker   18,280    3,046.67         6,093.33         9,140         12,186.67  

Vice President     18,280    3,046.67         6,093.33         9,140         12,186.67 

Member of the House     17,410    2,901.67         5,803.33         8,705         11,606.67  


The estimated pension payment under proposed legislation 


POSITION Salary    1/3 (4 years) 1/2 (8 years) 3/5 (10 years) 3/4 (15 years) 1 (18 years)

Minister     41,030    20,016.67 30,025 36,030 45,037.50 60,050 

Non-Cabinet Minister     33,940       17,653.33       26,480 31,776       39,720       52,960 

Speaker/President       29,590       15,503.33       23,255       27,906       34,882.50       46,510 

Leader of the Opposition 29,590   15,943.33       23,915       28,698       35,872.50       47,830 

Parliamentary Secretary 23,500   12,373.33       18,560       22,272     27,840       37,120  

Deputy Speaker 18,280        7,733.33       11,600       13,920       17,400       23,200  

Vice President 18,280        7,613.33       11,420       13,704       17,130       22,840 

Member of the House 17,410        7,443.33       11,165       13,398       16,747.50       22,330 

Member of the Senate 13,060        5,873.33         8,810       10,572       13,215       17,620