Friday 30 October, 2020

Kamla: MPs should take 5% pay cut

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said MPs should take a five percent pay cut in solidarity with those suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking in Parliament during her response to the 2021 Budget today, Persad-Bissessar said Ministers should set an example of leadership:

‘I think in these pandemic times another great moment of leadership has arrived. I call on this government to consider a five per cent pay cut in solidarity with suffering citizens. Follow the examples of other countries like New Zealand. While such a move may not shift the overall fiscal position, it is about leadership by example.'

‘While I expect a moan and groan from colleagues opposite, they may even consider it as a short-term initiative for about 12 months.’

She said it could be called a policy of coronavirus solidarity, adding that the money can be channeled toward providing food and supplies for those in need.

She said she has instructed Opposition to take more steps toward supporting those in need during the pandemic, reminding the House that she channeled 10 per cent of her salary toward the Children's Life Fund when it was established.

Persad-Bissessar also referred to government’s planned removal of tax breaks on the importation of private vehicles, while Parliamentarians continue to enjoy tax concessions.

‘Mothers…buy low-cost used cars to take their children to school…they can’t afford luxurious cars. For an ordinary person a car is vital especially now in COVID-19 times…when the [tax break removal] kicks in, they will not be able to afford those cars. In my respectful view this spells pressure on the people of Trinidad and Tobago.’

She said the cost of a used car is expected to increase by around 40 per cent. 

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