AG Williams Says Presidential Pension Reforms Will Not Affect Jagdeo, Ramotar, & Hinds

This man is clearly unsuited to be AG as was his PPP predecessor.

He didn't even try to advance a legal theory which would in effect make the reforms binding on current ex-Presidents.

I see no reason why a 4 page poorly drafted law has now entrenched constitutional status. Even so, why not then just add this issue to the list of constitutional problems to be tackled by  the soon to be appointed Constitutional Reform Commission.

I smell a rat.
Original Post
Originally Posted by Shaitaan:
This man is clearly unsuited to be AG as was his PPP predecessor.

He didn't even try to advance a legal theory which would in effect make the reforms binding on current ex-Presidents.

I see no reason why a 4 page poorly drafted law has now entrenched constitutional status. Even so, why not then just add this issue to the list of constitutional problems to be tackled by  the soon to be appointed Constitutional Reform Commission.

I smell a rat.

Give him some time..if he can't function he should resign.

 

Django,

Public Pensions are not clearly and exclusively "property rights" issues as they represent recurrent charges on the Consolidated Fund.

Parliament has exclusive authority when it comes to charges on the consolidated fund. They can (if they had the will) vote $1 towards the payment of Presidential Pensions. Technically that satisfies the claim of "property rights" if such an argument is advanced.

Guyanese lawyers are always the least imaginative lawyers out there. And in a field of dim wits, our AGs tend to lead from behind.
Originally Posted by Gupta:

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.

What an insult for a poor ass country where the GDP per capita is just about US$4,000.

Originally Posted by Gupta:

       

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.


       

The legal argument is the same. The property rights approach covers all. Either you can cap all or none. There is no middle ground to capping some benefits retroactively while the substantive pension is somehow sacred and untouchable.

The argument against both is that they are all annual appropriations from the Consolidated Fund and as such they are not untouchable but subject to the legislative process.
Originally Posted by Shaitaan:
Originally Posted by Gupta:

       

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.


       

The legal argument is the same. The property rights approach covers all. Either you can cap all or none. There is no middle ground to capping some benefits retroactively while the substantive pension is somehow sacred and untouchable.

The argument against both is that they are all annual appropriations from the Consolidated Fund and as such they are not untouchable but subject to the legislative process.

Is it that Granger does not want to cut his own salary?

Originally Posted by VVP:
Originally Posted by Shaitaan:
Originally Posted by Gupta:

       

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.


       

The legal argument is the same. The property rights approach covers all. Either you can cap all or none. There is no middle ground to capping some benefits retroactively while the substantive pension is somehow sacred and untouchable.

The argument against both is that they are all annual appropriations from the Consolidated Fund and as such they are not untouchable but subject to the legislative process.

Is it that Granger does not want to cut his own salary?

It's called covering your ass for the future.

World-wide, pension benefits remain intact for existing pensioners.

 

Incendiary additions and benefits can always be modified.

 

Any changes to pension benefits; as in Canada which would take effect in the 2020's; would apply only to those individuals earning same after that time.

Here is the bill from Guyana parliament website:

 

 

 A BILL

 

Intituled

 

AN ACT to provide certain benefits and other facilities for former Presidents.

 

A.D. 2015          Enacted by the Parliament of Guyana:-

 

Short title.

          1.     This Act may be cited as the Former Presidents (Benefits and other Facilities) Act 2015.

 

Interpretation.

  1. In this Act –

 

“child” means a child of a person whether born in or out of wedlock and a child born out of wedlock enjoys equality of status and entitlement to equal rights in accordance with article 149E (1) of the Constitution;

 

“former President” means any person who has held the office of President substantively;

 

“spouse” means –

(a)    the lawfully married wife or husband of a person;

(b)   a single woman living together with a single man in a common law union for a period of five years; or

(c)    a single man living together with a single woman in a common law union for a period of five years.

 

Certain benefits and other facilities for former Presidents.

          3.    Every person who has held the office of President substantively shall be entitled to the following benefits and facilities –

 

(a)    payment in respect of expenses incurred for the provision and use of –

(i)         water, twenty five thousand dollars each month;

(ii)        electricity, twenty five thousand dollars each month;

(iii)      telephone, twenty five thousand dollars each month,

at that person’s habitual place of residence in Guyana.

 

 

(b)   services of personal and household staff, including a gardener, provided that the total number of such staff shall not exceed three persons, including any member of the staff who may be on earned vacation or sick leave;

 

(c)    services of clerical and technical staff not exceeding three, if requested, retained for non-political purposes related to the status of former President or to any State related task or assignment to the former President officially and for which no additional remuneration is payable;

 

(d)   subject to a financial limit of two hundred thousand dollars per annum, free medical attention and treatment or reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by –

(i)  a former President for himself and his children below the age of eighteen years;

(ii)     the spouse of the former President:

Provided that the reimbursement shall not be given where any attention and treatment obtained abroad or at private health facilities in Guyana were available in Guyana at government institutions;

 

(e) full time personal security, not exceeding two persons including the services of the President Guard Service at the place of residence of the former President;

 

(f) the provision of not more than two motor vehicles owned and maintained by the State;

 

(g)  toll free transportation; and

 

(h)  an annual vacation allowance equivalent to the cost of two first class return airfares provided on the same conditions applicable to judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature.

 

No tax exemption on benefits and facilities.

          4.   The benefits and facilities granted under section 3 shall not be the subject of any tax exemptions, concessions or privileges.

 

Cessation of certain benefits and other facilities of former Presidents.

         

 

          5.    A former President shall cease to be entitled to the benefits and other facilities provided under section 3, if the former President engages in business, trade or paid employment or is convictedof a criminal offence for which a term of imprisonment is imposed.

 

Repeal.

        Cap. 27:17

    [Act 12 of 2009]

          6.    The Former President (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act is repealed.

 

Regulations.

         

 

          7.     The Minister may, subject to affirmative resolution of the National Assembly, make regulations for the due administration of this Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

The purpose of this Bill is to repeal the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act, Cap. 27:17, Act 12 of 2009, and to replace it with this Act, to provide greater specificity; especially if account is taken of the fact that the former President is eligible for a pension which is 7/8’s that of the President in office.  In keeping with Resolution No. 22 passed by the National Assembly on the 2nd August, 2012 this Bill seeks to render the conditions acceptable and predictable and to place a limit on the benefits including tax free concessions, to which former Presidents are now entitled. The Bill also specifies some conditions under which the benefits may be enjoyed. 

 

 

 

Winston Jordan                 

Minister of Finance

Originally Posted by VVP:
Originally Posted by Gupta:

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.

What an insult for a poor ass country where the GDP per capita is just about US$4,000.

I guess that should have been GNI per capita.  The president makes 600 times the average Joe and gets benefits pun tap?  What a f-ing country.

Originally Posted by Shaitaan:
So no changes whatsoever in the amount of the presidential pension.

He's just limited to not more than 3 servants. Progress!

Is the same ole shit man.  No wonder Moses voted for the thing back in 2009 when he thought he had a chance to be President.  These f-ing people ripping off the country.

Excerpt from Greenidge letter to SN on March 30, 2015.  I taught dey was going to change this shit.

 

What then is the basis for Mr Rohee’s claim that the current ministers enjoy the type of lifestyle the Jagans had in mind?

It is sad that a minister of government would seek to mislead the public so grievously. I invite Mr Rohee to identify the “downward adjustments” in PPP ministerial salaries and emoluments, when they took place and to say which Orders effected these downward adjustments.

Whereas prior to his election Dr Jagan in 1992 promised the Guyanese public that he would attract to government technicians and ministers who would work for “one dollar a month,” within two years of the PPP’s accession to office, he substantially increased ministerial salaries.

So, PPP ministers have always paid themselves higher salaries than existed prior to their assumption of office. The same applies to benefits. In 1992 as a Senior Minister, I earned around G$20,483 per month – US$164 (the G$ exchange rate to the US$ was 125:1). The Prime Minister (PM) earned $28,726/month and the emoluments of Deputy PMs fell somewhere between. Junior ministers earned approximately $15,000/month. It is these emoluments to which first, Dr Jagan and, now duplicitously, all PPP ministers and apologists, refer when they speak of PNC extravagance and squandermania!

In fact, the first significant increase in ministerial salaries after independence was made soon after Dr Jagan took office. In 1993 Dr Jagan approved a 10% increase which moved senior ministers to $25,235/month. The next year an additional 33% hike took them to $33,723. In 2006 a massive increase further moved the ministers to $347,644/month.

By 2014 the Minister of Finance was receiving $579,951, which is not a reduction from G$20,483; nor is the Attorney General’s salary of $1.6 million, which is 35 times the minimum wage. The emoluments of Dr Mohammed Shahabuddeen and Keith Massiah, professionals whose shoes he could not even touch on the basis of merit were less than G$78,100/month. Their pensions would now be less than $90,000. The emoluments of Mr Nandlall and his colleagues, including those like Mr Rohee without a professional or trade skill, is over $300,000/month.

Ministerial allowances were minimal prior to 1992. In 1991 a vacation allowance, equivalent to one month’s salary, was belatedly approved to bring ministers’ emoluments in line with those of public servants, who had all along received a Leave Passage Allowance. That allowance either had to be spent on a vacation-related expense or to be invested in housing – construction or a mortgage. Today, ministers receive $420,000 with, it appears, no conditions attached.

Pre-1992 no ministers received dental treatment at the expense of the state, save for the occasion when the OP organized for a visiting foreign dentist, Dr Walker, to check and treat government ministers. Overseas medical bills were not paid for by the Treasury or the Ministry of Health.

Today the PPP ministers’ vacation allowance at $420,000 is ten times the minimum wage.

There have been no downward adjustments under the PPP so what is Mr Rohee ranting about? Basic ministerial salaries and allowances have increased every year since the PPP came to office in 1992. Far from reductions there have been massive increases even as the government has refused to either negotiate public service salaries or to limit their ministerial adjustments to those they paid to public servants to which ministerial emoluments had been linked under the PNC.

Furthermore, the emoluments of the PM and President have been dramatically and indecently increased. In 2009 after the demise of the Jagans the President’s emoluments were dramatically increased by linking them to those of the Chancellor of the Judiciary. Not satisfied with this sleight of hand, the PPP Cabinet added ‘Other Benefits’ to the presidential pension authorized in the constitution.

Since the former President was already getting a pension closely indexed to the sitting President’s salary, these ‘Other Benefits’ leave us as the only country in the world where the former presidents will receive for the rest of their lives a package of benefits-with-pension close to or in excess of those of the actual and future presidents. Mr Ramotar refused to enact the legislation the APNU laid to prevent this.

Not only do Mr Ramotar and Jagdeo’s emoluments and post-presidency benefits bear no relationship to those of the Jagans and Mr Burnham, but for many years benefits were not provided to the widow of former President HD Hoyte, a fraction of those benefits Mr Jagdeo himself is receiving. Under Messrs Ramotar and Jagdeo payments due to the GT&T pensioners have been blocked. This is the ultimate irony because those pensioners, including some of our most technically skilled former public servants, are eligible for lump sums that are in the vicinity of one month’s salary or pension of each of these two politicians.

As is usual, therefore, Mr Rohee makes up what he does not know and believes that he is such a master of language and debate that he can hide his fabrications by confusing the public.

A recent letter writer to a local newspaper (KN) was kind enough to provide a chart showing that the basic salary of Guyana’s current President leaves him ranked No 11 in terms of global presidential salaries. The writer justifiably asked whether Guyana could afford this.

It needs to be said that, with two possible exceptions, every single PPP/C Minister dismissed and removed for whatever reason has been kept on the books at the expense of the taxpayer. All have been given sinecures as advisers to the President or diplomatic postings and have retained all their benefits such as official cars and chauffer allowance of over G$100,000/month.

Mr Rohee is also reported to have said that, “being a minister with government since 1992 I haven’t seen any super salary increases…”

The rest of us can see both increases and super salaries because we are looking at how they have increased and we also know what members of the rest of the society receive. We can also find out what their predecessors received.

Jonathan Swift in his ‘Polite Conversation’ (1738) and the 1713 ‘Works of Thomas Chalkley’ have been good enough to elaborate for those of us who are challenged by this olde english:

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

The press has a duty to ask all spokesmen, and especially ministers, hard questions. They should not be fobbed off with rubbish and untruths such as those offered by Mr Rohee.

 Yours faithfully,

Carl B Greenidge

 

Originally Posted by VVP:
Originally Posted by VVP:
Originally Posted by Gupta:

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.

What an insult for a poor ass country where the GDP per capita is just about US$4,000.

I guess that should have been GNI per capita.  The president makes 600 times the average Joe and gets benefits pun tap?  What a f-ing country.

Well that should have been "30 times the average Joe"

Originally Posted by Jay Bharrat:

The way they sold the cuts to Jagdeo's package during the election was that they would cut salary and benefits they said was $3million a month.

 

Obviously you cannot cut salaries retroactively.  Don't know if they can legally cut benefits.

Jay, you might not be able to cut salary retroactively but you can cut it going forward, correct?  And since the pension is pegged to the current salary then by cutting the current salary you will cut the going forward pension, agreed?

Originally Posted by VVP:
Originally Posted by Shaitaan:
Originally Posted by Gupta:

       

I believe the pension of $1.2M per month will remain. The Bill will be capping the benefits, e.g., the $Millions taxpayers paid for Jagdeo's for light, security, fuel, medical, etc.


       

The legal argument is the same. The property rights approach covers all. Either you can cap all or none. There is no middle ground to capping some benefits retroactively while the substantive pension is somehow sacred and untouchable.

The argument against both is that they are all annual appropriations from the Consolidated Fund and as such they are not untouchable but subject to the legislative process.

Is it that Granger does not want to cut his own salary?

GNI thinks that granger is stupid enough to cut his own salary to spite Jagdeo.

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