SOLOMONS WATCHDOG DECRIES PARLIAMENTARY PERKS

admin's picture

Transparency group calls $2.7 million ‘inappropriate, unjustified’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, July 22, 2009) -The increase in parliamentary entitlements is "inappropriate, unjustified and unaffordable".

In a press statement, the Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) Chairman, Bob Pollard, said the PEC has awarded payments to members of parliament which the country cannot afford as it face financial crisis.

The proposed payment to the spouses of members of parliament is inappropriate; there is no credible basis for such a payment. And that is only one of the entitlements which would cost the country millions of dollars.

"The increase in terminal grants would cost the country $20 million [US$2.7 million] dollars. There is absolutely no good reason for paying MPs such payments," Mr. Pollard said

TSI commends the public for the overwhelming condemnation of the actions of the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC).

"The entitlements of MPs are already far above what is reasonable. For example, TSI pointed out earlier that the international travel allowance that MPs receive is far higher than paid by most international organisations."

Mr. Pollard highlighted that any payment made to MPs means that there is less money available for the provision of services.

"The increase in entitlements is a real insult to the public in the light of the poor services of government."

He said it appears that the PEC is completely out of touch with reality and has no concern about the costs of elected members of parliament to the nation.

"The PEC as it is should be done away with. The commission should be made up of people from the private sector who understand that any payment made to MPs come from the taxes that we all pay.

"The PEC comprises MPs who have a conflict of interest in deciding their own terms and conditions.

"The increase in entitlements, decided by mostly MPs is simple corruption - using their position to benefit themselves.

"The current entitlements and now the increase are an invitation to the Public Sector Unions to demand greater payments from the Government.

"If the MPs are not prepared to show any restraint then they cannot expect any restraint from the Unions who will see this as a signal to demand large increases from the government. These entitlements alone have the potential to bring economic disaster for our country."

Mr. Pollard said Parliamentary entitlements and the new increases undermine the Government's credibility when they talk about reducing corruption.

"The actions and words must be consistent. The government can do something about all these entitlements, and not just the spouses' grant, if they want to."

TSI calls on the government to replace the PEC with a truly independent membership and to completely review all Parliamentary entitlements with the goal of reducing the cost of elected members.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment