MP Laveist calls salary cut cabinet ministers a gimmick

POSTED: 01/16/14 2:55 PM

St. Maarten – National Alliance MP Louie Laveist said yesterday that the Today Newspaper had misquoted him about his stance on the salary cuts members of the Wescot-Williams cabinet are taking this year.

MP Laveist then quoted from the editorial in this newspaper’s Tuesday edition that did not contain a single quote attributed to him. Nevertheless, the MP maintained that the decision by the ministers to cut their annual salaries by 30,000 guilders is “nothing more than a gimmick.”

In its Tuesday-editorial this newspaper wrote: “The ministers have set an example – as they should – and now at least one Member of Parliament feels that he is being caught with his pants down.” And furthermore: “From Laveist’s reaction we sense that his enthusiasm for giving up part of his precious remuneration is – to put it kindly – lukewarm at best. Now he has to show what he is made off and he does not like it one bit.”

Had we been consulted about this, I would have had the opportunity to talk to my financiers, Laveist said. “The way this decision has been taken is repulsive because it has a boomerang effect.”

Laveist admitted that he indeed felt lukewarm about the idea to follow the cabinet’s example and accept a salary cut as well.

Still, Laveist suggested finding consensus on this issue – even though there is no proposal on the table to cut the salaries for members of parliament. He pointed out that ministers have several perks parliamentarians have to do without, like a debit-card, a car provide by the government and advantages linked to business trips. “What is the ceiling on those debit cards?” he asked, before returning to his basic point of view: “This little reduction the ministers took is nothing but a gimmick. I have a problem with the way you went about it, knowing very well what the ramifications would be.”

Lastly, MP Laveist wanted to know what the government would do with the savings. “If I take a cut, tell me where that money is going. Tell me that it does not disappear into a bottomless pit.”

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