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Guyana debates cuts to presidential pension

Friday, February 01, 2013    

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana - GUYANA'S opposition-controlled Parliament has approved a bill that would slash the benefits of the South American country's former president.

Legislators voted to give Bharrat Jagdeo two bodyguards, three maids and assistants and two state-owned and maintained cars. Jagdeo currently enjoys unlimited access to such benefits, along with a US$6,000 monthly pension.

The Bill was approved late Friday by the Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change, which have a one-seat majority in the 65-member House. However, President Donald Ramotar has said he will not sign the Bill. Both Ramotar and Jagdeo belong to the People's Progressive Party.

Jagdeo's original pension plan was approved in 2009 when the People's Progressive Party had a majority in Parliament.

In 2008, former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding reversed a pension plan for former prime ministers that was approved by Parliament in 2005 during the P J Patterson administration. Under that plan, all former prime ministers would receive a pension equivalent to the current prime minister's annual salary.

But Golding exercised his option to cut his pension to two-thirds that of the existing prime minister's salary, while reducing the pension that will be paid to his successors. Golding's cut, however, did not affect the payment to his predecessors.

— AP

Additional reporting by the Jamaica Observer

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