Mickela Panday: Reward integrity, honesty, not mismanagement

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mickela Panday – File photo

The Salaries Review Commission’s (SRC) proposal to increase the salaries of politicians should not be Government’s focus at this time, said Mickela Panday, political leader of the Patriotic Front, on Monday.

Panday foresees politicians having a difficulty justifying this hike when public servants are still reeling from the four per cent wages, some have accepted, and other trade unions continue to oppose in the courts.

She said hard work, honesty, integrity, meritocracy should be the basis for reward, not waste, corruption, and mismanagement.

Panday, the daughter of the late former prime minister Basdeo Panday, took to Facebook to weigh in on the proposed salary hike for, among others, a 34 per cent increase for the Prime Minister, and 60 per cent for the Opposition Leader, while judges have been recommended for a cut in their salaries.

“We have no money… that has been the mantra of governments over the last 20 years.

“We have no money…That is why the country does not have a regular supply of water, the roads are in a deplorable state, schools are in a state of disrepair, we don’t have enough beds and medication in the hospitals and the police and the DPP are under-resourced,” she said in her post.

She said this is the same mantra which Government offered as justification why public servants could not get more than a four per cent increase in wages.

The same reason used to justify why, “we have to increase electricity rates and the population must now pay the new property tax.

“If this is the state of the economy of a country blessed with so much natural resources, politicians are going to have a difficult time justifying any kind of wage increase at this time.

“The reality is, if these same persons were hired by the private sector, it’s likely instead of a pay increase, they would be fired.

“Given so many people are still suffering from the financial fallout of the covid 19 pandemic, and so many families are struggling to make ends meet with the high cost of living, this proposed increase should never be accepted as a priority at this time.

“With a proposed 34 per cent increase for the PM, 60 per cent increase for the Leader of the Opposition and 15 per cent increase for MPs with back pay (since the new salary increases, if approved, may take effect from October 1, 2020), it’s no wonder some find it hard to let go of the trappings of office.

“Let us reward hard work, honesty, integrity and meritocracy not waste, corruption and mismanagement,” she said.