Todays’ opinion: Unable to make ends meet

POSTED: 03/13/11 8:50 PM

As we all know, parliamentarians are making a comfortable income. Still, we heard in court yesterday during a court hearing that National Alliance’s parliamentarian Louie Laveist has trouble to make ends meet.
How did that happen? From Laveist’s February pay slip, we learned that his regular gross salary is 18,249 guilders. To avoid any hardships, he also receives a 500-guilders allowance for transport, and another 1,094.94 guilders for what we assume must be representation costs. The honorable member of parliament sees 8,446.01 disappear to wage tax.
We don’t want to bore you with other details other than that there is a deduction of 2,946.80 to a certain bank, and a third party lien to the tune of 3,860 guilders.
After everything is said and done, Louie Laveist kept out of his gross salary of 23,040 guilders a measly 4,050 guilders, or – based on the supermarket exchange rate – $2,250.
Reality check: the minimum wage that more than 80 percent of salary workers in St. Maarten receive is 1,378.67 per month, or $765.93.
The hourly pay for a minimum wage worker of 7.96 guilders per hour. To make this money some people clean our streets eight hours a day. The hourly pay for Laveist and his colleague parliamentarians is 105.28 guilders. To make this money, the sometimes show up in meeting of the parliament or of committees they belong to, where they ask senseless questions, or they may travel to exotic places at the expense of the tax payer.
Minimum wage workers 1: parliamentarians 13.22. That is the score in terms of earnings. For every guilder our honorable street cleaners earn, our parliamentarians earn 13 guilders and 22 cents.
Is that reasonable?
We’d days that it is really cheap to keep our streets clean but that running a country on a budget that somehow does not seem to get balanced is a lot more expensive.
Of course, there is a reason why Laveist is up queer street financially. He had hurricane shutters installed at his home in 2005 for almost $40,000, but when the invoice came he stood up the company. Some way to support the local economy.
Only after the company put a lien on his precious salary did Laveist suddenly and magically come up with a $30,000 payment.
Where did that come from? seems to be a logical question. But it will of course remain a mystery how someone who claims to be unable to make ends meet has such deep pockets at the same time.

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