SOLOMONS LAWMAKERS TO GET $59,000 BONUSES

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Public outraged over commission’s gift

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 27, 2009) - There has been public outrage in Solomon Islands over a decision to award members of parliament with huge increases in allowances and terminal grants.

The Parliamentary Entitlements Commission’s has decided to give MPs an eight fold increase in their tax free "terminal grants", given at the end of their four year term, to US$53,000.

There’s also been an outcry over a new grant of US$6,000, to be paid to the spouse of each MP.

The Chairman of Transparency Solomon Islands, Bob Pollard says the Commission is not independent and its awards have always been a concern.

"This is a payment made directly to MP’s for their own personal use. (It’s) extremely inappropriate," he said. "What we are really concerned about here is the way that the Parliament Entitlements Commission is behaving. It’s clear now that this is not an independent commission."

Prime Minister Derek Sikua has also been criticized for distancing himself from the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission’s decision.

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