Proposal MP Tamara Leonard (UP): Drastic cut in political salaries and pensionsPOSTED: 02/9/16 8:00 PM
St. Maarten News: MP Tamara Leonard is the second MP in Country St. Maarten’s history to propose a pay-cut for parliamentarians. On January 16, 2014, former DP-MP Roy Marlin submitted a motion to cut salaries by 12 percent, after the draft budget showed that all members of the Council of Ministers had decreased their remuneration by 30,000 guilders for that year.
Marlin’s motion failed, because none of the other fourteen Members of Parliament supported it. “It carries only one signature. Mine,” Marlin said at the time. For the lack of support, he withdrew the motion.
MP Tamara Leonard (UP) announced this weekend that she will table a motion in the plenary session of parliament when it handles the 2016 budget. Her proposal is to bring the pay down from 19,000 to 12,000 guilders per month – on a par with the money parliamentarians in Curacao receive.
“If we are really serious about tightening up our belts, working for the people and putting the country in a better financial position, we should start in our own house. We need to start in Parliament. We need to show the people of St. Maarten we understand the pressure. We as parliamentarians need to take the lead. This is why I have prepared a motion with a proposal to amend the salary regulation,” Leonard said.
The MP takes her austerity measure one step further than Roy Marlin did in 2014: she also wants to tighten the belt for former Members of Parliament – drastically. The MP proposes to give former MPs their full salary during 6 months, or fifty percent for a full year.
Currently politicians who leave office receive compensation for at least one, and at most two years, depending on their years of service. This so-called political pension gradually diminishes to 70 percent of the full remuneration.
An MP who now receives 19,000 guilders per month and quits politics with a right to two years of pension would receive 95 percent during the first 3 months (54,150 guilders), 85 percent during the next 7 months (113,050), 75 percent during the next 10 months (142,500) and 70 percent during the last four months (53,200). It would add up to 362,900 guilders (around $202,700). Leonard’s proposal cuts the pension to 114,000 guilders flat ($63,687), saving the treasury 248,900 guilders ($139,000) per ousted politician.
Leonard also intends to go after other salary-levels. “Civil servants and employees of government owned companies should not earn more than the prime minister. We need to cap the top salaries,” she said in a press statement.
MP Leonard does not want to apply the cap to current positions, but to new appointees to top positions.
One example of an overpaid position is that of the director of Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP), Anthony Carty. He earns 32,000 guilders per month.