'Not a red cent more,' MPs until...

'Not a red cent more,' MPs until...

Friday, January 17, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I read with alarm and disgust the article in the Jamaica Observer published on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 'MPs unite in call for better pay', in which Members of Parliament are reported to have been fighting in unison for better remuneration and benefits. This is tantamount to flying in the face of our teachers, nurses, police officers, and other public sector workers who can hardly afford the physical and biological essentials of life on the subsistence remuneration they are now getting.

Our pensioners, who are hanging on the poverty line, must view this move by the parliamentarians as laughable. They have made more meaningful contributions to the sustainable development of the country than some of those who are only warming their seats in Gordon House.

I have observed that the Government and Opposition are conveniently closing ranks to move with some alacrity to increase their remuneration. But if the power is in my hand to grant them an increase I would say “not a red cent more” until a recall legislation is moved and passed in Parliament. Their constituents must have the power of a recall, because Members of Parliament feel that once they have been elected the are answerable to no one until their next election, at which time they can bribe their way back in or cling to the coat-tails of their party to get re-elected.

Having a recall legislation adopted by Parliament will hold parliamentarians accountable for their stewardship. Only then can we start looking at their remuneration — and it must be consistent with any increase in remuneration for our pensioners and public sector workers.

Fernandez Smith

Former Jamaica Labour Party councillor


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