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posted 23 Jun 2019, 16:12 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 23 Jun 2019, 16:13 ]

Bryan St. Louis
The recent debate and justification given by those who supported a Bill containing amendments to the President’s Emoluments Act, the Prime Minister’s Pension Act, the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Act and the Judges Salaries and Pensions Act to streamline the basis on which the retiring allowances of legislators, the pensions of the President, Prime Minister and judges are calculated, leaves much to be desired.

So, let’s look at some of the justifications for this Bill…...

Ø Judge with $3,000 pension could not maintain his house and died in poverty.

Ø A former legislator in his declining years, with a parliamentarian pension of less than $10,000 was unable to pay his medical bills.

Ø We need more judges. We need some security of tenure. There is a difficulty with hiring and retaining of judges and one of the real concerns is the pension.

What is startling is that the streamlining involves two things:

Ø Raising the pension benefits every five years.

Ø Including in the calculation of pensions, the housing allowance and personal allowance of these office holders.

In effect what the Act is proposing in the calculation of pensions for these office holders is vastly different to the general principle governing pensions which are computed on the basis of salary alone. This new proposal can best be described as a classic example of those in authority promoting their own class interests and putting things in place to feed off the trough.

So, what about ordinary working-class citizens whose pensions at their place of employment are calculated based on final salary alone and with the proviso of a formula which states that their pension cannot be more that 2/3 of their final salary, with no option for adjustments thereafter?

What about those ordinary working-class citizens whose only source of income upon retirement is the NIS Pension of $3000.00?

What about ordinary citizens who are living on a day to day basis, unable to plan for the future and have to depend on the Government for token handouts and grants for survival?

Could this new Act be a violation of section (b) of the preamble of the Constitution which states in part “Respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to sub serve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all.”?

It is my view that this Bill as presented discriminates against ordinary citizens, as such once this Bill is assented to, then similar provisions should be made for everyone