Articles

Fri 21st Sep 2012

$6686 salary increase for PM Gonsalves in 2011, but no 3% wage increase in 2011 for the PSU.

Is it political suicide for PM Gonsalves?

SVG Green Party strongly calls on the PM Gonsalves to urgently pay the Public Services Union its 3% increase in wages due in January 2011. Call based on three factors (1) erosion by inflation (2) the opportunity cost and (3) PM Gonsalves received a massive increase in salary in 2011 amounting to $6686 (Source SVG Budget Estimates for 2011).

The table illustrates the serious loss caused by erosion. A public servant has lost $86.40 on an inflation rate of 4% over the two year period.

Salary

3% increase

2 years inflation at 4%

$36,000

$2,160

$86.40

The opportunity cost is quite significant to all concerned. A public servant could have used the $2160 to improve the quality of life for their family, but was not able to do so. Yet Gonsalves, SVG's super Minister of Finance, was able to give himself a massive increase the quality of life for his family with $6686. Is Gonsalves' action an abuse of power in public office? Is Gonsalves managing SVG as if it were his private estate?

Research by Mr Ivan O'Neal, the Leader of SVG Green Party, has revealed that PM Gonsalves received a massive salary increased from $133,767 in 2010 to $140,453 in 2011, a net increase of $6686. Gonsalves also received a multitude of travel allowances. The 2003 freedom of Information ACT has not yet been gazetted by PM Gonsalves; svg Green Party cannot get access to Gonsalves' travel allowances for 2011.

The ULP Regime gets on average $8 million per month from the petro-Caribe oil agreement. This money has a 20 year grace period before being repaid. The $5 million owed to the public service is a drop in the ocean for the ULP Regime if paid out of Petro Caribe. SVG Green Party, is therefore, making a very strong call on the ULP Regime to urgently pay the PSU its 3% wage increase.

It must be seen as a slap in the face of the SVG PSU, that Gonsalves gave permission for a loan from ECCB out of SVG's quota to the Government of Grenada for $5 million to pay a 2% salary increase to its Public Service.

Gonsalves is a brilliant Minister of Finance. In 2007, Gonsalves killed the National Commercial Bank (NCB) with an outrageous overdraft of $170 million. In 2007, Gonsalves spent $63 million dollars of tax payers' money without the prior approval of the SVG House of Assembly. In 2008, Gonsalves became the first SVG Minister of Finance in our history to fail the audit of public accounts.

Gonsalves maintains the blanket tax and customs duty exemptions given to Mustique, Canuoan and Taiwan, which equate to a multimillion dollar loss for the SVG treasury annually. This short-sighted tax exemptions regime is a gross injustice to the poor and to the disadvantaged. The recipients of blanket tax and customs exemptions are using a Charity Trust to socially engineer their justification for the multi-million dollar tax exemptions. It is a gross insult.

Blanket tax and customs duty exemptions to the super rich, in these, times of economic hardship is political suicide for Gonsalves? History will show this is a fact.

Under a Green Government, there will be an egalitarian tax regime to promote equilibrium in the benefits from SVG's 150 sq miles of land space and over 10,000 sq miles of sea space. Going Green will provide justice for the rich, justice for the poor and justice for the disadvantaged in SVG.

Green is prosperity.

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