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Revelations that Members of Parliament (MPs) are being paid a measly $420 (US$2.10) monthly for telephone and entertainment allowances while a former President is being allowed unlimited benefits and a more than generous pension, are not going down well.Last Friday, Government stoutly resisted efforts by the Opposition in the National Assembly to cap the benefits that a former President is entitled to.Former President, Bharrat JagdeoAmong one of the areas that the amendment to the Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Bill was centred on was that of the telephone allowance which should not exceed $5,000.The issue of what seemed like an unlimited pension and benefits package for a former President has been a burning one and the Opposition had promised in the lead-up to the 2011 General and Regional Elections that it will be looking at ways to amend or even repeal it.The Opposition used its one-seat majority to muscle the controversial Bill through the National Assembly.It was under former President Bharrat Jagdeo that the original Bill was passed by the government using its majority at the time. Jagdeo readily assented to it, making him the first to benefit.Legal observers are saying that even if President Ramotar assents to the recent amendments, it is unlikely that it will affect Jagdeo, as law changes are not retroactive.The Opposition had claimed that the pension and benefits added up to almost $3M per month, more than even what other Heads of State in even some developed countries are receiving. There were accusations that the 2009 Bill was deliberately worded to allow any future President unlimited benefits, including duty free concessions, medical care, security and plane tickets.MPs, on an average, receive some $125,000, after taxes, and inclusive of allowance. This translates to a tenth of the basic pension of a former President.Some on the Opposition side have been complaining that they are hard pressed to conduct their outreaches to their constituents because of the costs. They have to use personal monies.AFC’s MP, Moses NagamootooMoses Nagamootoo, an MP for the Alliance For Change (AFC), made it clear that many of his colleagues are accepting the “piffle” that they receive,Wholesale China Jerseys, as part of the sacrifice and duty to the country.No complaints from Govt.“The allowances of MPs were set at a time when Guyanese had to tighten their belts and when they saw the need to be frugal,” he explained.Most MPs, of especially the government side, would not protest too much over the lowly allowances as they would be receiving “super special salaries as advisors, consultants and serve on statutory state boards”.Nagamootoo said that when Government made the indecent proposal to up the benefits for former presidents, it could have visited the allowances of MPs,Cheap Jerseys From China, to protect the dignity of their office.“It must be to the honour of MPs that they have not made demands for more than $20 per month as telephone allowance, but it exposes the hypocrisy of the defenders of multi-million-dollar benefits and other facilities that MPs don’t count in sharing the bonanza.Had MPs fought for decent allowances I am afraid they would have been nailed by (Attorney General Anil) Nandlall and other defenders for “milking” the Treasury. But these same people justify a few thieving the whole cow.”Attorney-at-law/Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram, had a somewhat different take. He believes that the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act 2009 violates Article 181 of the Constitution.“That article has two parts…the first of which entitles a serving President to salary and allowances. The second part allows a former President pension or gratuity,Discount NFL Jerseys, period.”Ram admitted that it is perfectly acceptable for former Heads of State to get some kind of police protection and there is no reason for the National Assembly to intervene. The decision as to how much protection should be left to the discretion of the Commissioner of Police, he said.House Speaker, Raphael Trotman“That is very different from what then President Jagdeo, the members of his Cabinet and his party’s MP’s did in 2009. And it was he who signed the Bill into law.”Law not retroactive?Ram believes that Carl Greenidge, an MP for A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), and who tabled the Bill, was being gracious and generous in asking for an amendment rather than a repeal.“Mr. Jagdeo gets a tax-free pension equivalent to seven-eighths of the serving President. It is dishonest of members of the Government, including its luminaries, to talk about vested rights and that kind of nonsense. Some persons who I expected to know better are even reported to have said that the Bill passed to amend by capping the benefits,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, even if it becomes law, cannot affect Mr. Jagdeo; Prime Minister Sam Hinds who is himself a former President and President Donald Ramotar.An unconstitutional Bill is void to begin with, and therefore of no legal effect. On the other hand, Jagdeo’s pension is not an issue.”APNU’s MP, Jaipaul Sharma, said that Government’s “attempt” to divert the issue in the National Assembly by comparing the pensions and benefits of a former President to that of the Opposition Leader was like comparing apples and grapes.”One is currently on the job while the other is on pension.”MPs’ benefits reviewMeanwhile, Speaker of the House, Raphael Trotman, said that he has undertaken the task to have the allocations to MPs reviewed. The issue has been engaging his attention and that of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, since last year.Trotman said that research is ongoing to compare the allowances of Parliamentarians in other countries in the region. This, he said,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, will be examined in consideration with the economy.He admitted that all constitutional office holders should be taken care of.Currently, a special select committee is reviewing the allowances and the Speaker said he intends to make a presentation to that committee on behalf of all MPs.  Consideration is also being given to the welfare of past MPs,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, he said.MPs, to do their work, are allowed duty free concessions for a new vehicle. The Opposition in amending the former Presidents’ benefits had voted for two vehicles to be owned and maintained by the state, as opposed to the unlimited number allowed under the 2009 law.The new Bill has also puts a cap on medical benefits for children of the pensioner to $200,000 annually.

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that since Guyana is a small country unable to provide jobs for its people,Cheap NFL Jerseys, overseas investment is needed and said that diplomats can help in attracting such investment.Ramotar said that the diplomats can help paint an image of Guyana as a country that is efficient.He said neither the private nor public

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