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Government has made it clear that it plans to adhere to the recommendations made by the Constituency Boundaries Commission Report, but noted that it will come with a cost of over EC$357,000 to add four new constituencies.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, earlier in his speech, told the House of Assembly yesterday (Feb. 10) that there will be financial implications based on the recommendations made from the report.
Dr. Anthony said, by increasing the number of constituencies to four, annual salary and personal allowances for all four parliamentarians will be EC$59,440.92.
Each parliamentarian will also be entitled to Constituency Office Allowance of EC$30,000. The cost for each new constituency’s representative and office will therefore be EC$89,440.92.
The total cost implications for increasing the number of constituencies by four are EC$357,763.68, or an increase of about 12 percent of current costs of parliamentarians and/or 0.07 percent in the current wage bill.
“There shall always be a cost to representation. There always has been. But there is also a cost to under-representation. Our constitution was established to promote fairness and balance in our affairs, and it is necessary that this is reflected in the composition of our constituencies,” he told the House.
The prime minister said Saint Lucian parliamentarians are not the best paid and are not afforded a number of the luxuries those in other larger, more developed countries are afforded.
“When we moved from 10 to 17 in 1973, we were a poorer country than we are now, but it was a necessary step. Today, we must step forward in the interest of good governance and ensuring the best fit in terms of representation of our population,” he added.
Dr. Anthony also revealed his own salary as prime minister, which is EC$ 12,728.25, inclusive of all allowances. He also receives one maid, one gardener, and payment of his utility bills.
At present, ministers of government, except those who reside outside the Castries Basin, receive a monthly salary – inclusive of all allowances – of EC$10,869.00.
Ministers who reside outside of Castries, receive, inclusive of allowances, EC$11,869.83.
This means that the monthly total to ministers in salaries is EC$152,187.21. The yearly total sum is EC$1,826,246.52.
Elected parliamentarians, who are not ministers, currently receive monthly remuneration of EC$4,953.41. This is inclusive of allowances. This means that the monthly total amount paid to backbenchers each month is EC$24,767.05.
Senators receive a monthly stipend of EC$1,108.33. This amounts to a monthly total of EC$6,649.98.
On the other hand, the leader of the Opposition’s salary is equated to that of a minister. The post attracts a salary, inclusive of allowances, of EC$10,815.83 monthly.
The speaker receives a monthly salary, inclusive of allowances, EC$8,218.58. The deputy speaker receives a total of EC$6,570.58 and the president of the Senate receives a salary of EC$1,926.00, with no allowances.
The total annual salaries and wage bill of the Government of Saint Lucia is currently EC$459.4 million.