APNU wasn’t privy to fees set for Linden inquiry commissioners – Harmon

Member of Parliament for main opposition A Partner-ship for National Unity Joseph Harmon said that the negotiating parties for the Linden Commission of Inquiry terms of reference (TOR) knew nothing of the remuneration for the commissioners as this was the remit of the government once the TOR had been settled.

Responding to a question from the Speaker of the National Assembly on Monday about whether the emoluments of the commissioners were not a concern of the parties, especially the opposition, Harmon said this was an administrative duty which the government handled. This was during the examination by the Commit-tee of Supply of Financial Papers 3, 4 and 5, of 2012.

Financial Paper 3 had sought an allocation of $162 million as expenditure incurred in relation to the Commission of Inquiry and the operation of two technical teams established under the agreement between the Government of Guyana and the Regional Democratic Council of Region 10 signed on August 21, 2012. The Committee of Supply approved the allocation despite the opposition’s concerns about the magnitude of the spending.

Joseph Harmon
Juan Edghill

APNU Member of Parliament Jaipaul Sharma also asked whether the members of the tripartite party talks had any knowledge of the remuneration of the commissioners.

According to Minister within the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill, Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry Lensley Wolfe earned in excess of $16 million; Justice Claudette Singh in excess of $13 million; KD Knight a sum of in excess of $14 million; Dana Seetahal in excess of $12 million and Cecil Kennard in excess of $12 million. In addition, Edghill said, the counsel to the commission received $1 million while the secretary to the commission received $1 million.

Edghill said the fees paid to the commissioners were lower, comparatively, than those paid to others in commissions overseas. He stated too that the sum of $88.4 million was for administrative costs in relation to the operation of the COI.

In relation to the sum of $136 million disallowed for contracted employees at the Office of the President and $68 million disallowed for consultancy under the same head, Edghill revealed the name of the consultants. Among them were Steven Grin, who he said received in excess of $15 million; Kevin Hogan in excess of $13 million; Kit Nascimento in excess of $1 million; K. Mohabir in excess of $12 million and Dario Mcklmon who receive d $3.6 million. The legend in the financial paper read that the amount was in relation to climate change consultancies and legal fees.

The opposition MPs continued to reject government’s insistence on providing the bare minimum of information with regard to the sums requested.

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