Why doesn’t Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar want corporation mayors and councillors to get full-time pay?
That’s the question Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi posed in Parliament during Wednesday night’s debate on the Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Local Government Reform Bill.
After debate MPs agreed to forward the bill to a Joint Select Commission— which Government had initially said it would do. The team must report on the bill by September 27. The Local Government term ends in November. Elections are expected between that time and February 2020 latest. The reform will apply to the new term.
Al-Rawi noted Persad-Bissesar, in an earlier debate, had objected to the bill’s proposals for full-time posts and pay for mayors and councillors. Such officers are currently part-time and only receive a stipend.
The AG said the time for full-time councillors had long passed and and full-time posts and remuneration were deserved as people were already operating in a full-time way.
He added, “We have to have respect for the people who serve by paying them appropriately so we can avoid situations like where people take bribes while in Local Government. So greedy are they that they’re prepared to thief even $1,500 from someone, bring any bribe... gimme, gimme, gimme! Some people even calling it the Mayaro bribe.”
Reporter: Gail Alexander