Bill to cap former presidents’ benefits passed
-will Ramotar sign it into law?
The National Assembly last night passed a Bill repealing the controversial 2009 Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act and it is now left to be seen if it will be signed into law by President Donald Ramotar.
Passed by acclamation, the Billm which will also replace the law, faced heavy opposition from the government, whose members called it names such as vindictive and frivolous and meant only for political titillation.
Government MPs argued that the legislation was pointless since it will in no way affect the pension or other benefits and facilities of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, former President Sam Hinds and current President Ramotar.
The Act had been at the instance of former President Bharrat Jagdeo and he had been severely criticised over the last two years for engineering a bill with sumptuous benefits for him and other former presidents.
The mover of the bill, former Finance Minister and APNU MP Carl Greenidge made several amendments to it in the final minutes prior to its passage yesterday including the substitution of the word convicted for the word charged, meaning that if a former President is convicted of an offence, and not just charged with an offence, then the benefits are deemed null and void.
Greenidge also added the words ‘per month’ in Clause 3 of the Bill where it speaks to a former President receiving a sum not exceeding $5,000 for utilities.
Greenidge said that the purpose for bringing the bill to the house was to ensure that there was a common understanding of what needed to be corrected. He noted that the “Former President’s Benefits and Other Facilities Bill” seeks to remedy the deficiencies in the 2009 bill.
He stated that the pension that is availed to the President is done so using a very generous formula. He said that the quantum of the President’s pension and benefits is exceptionally generous and needs to be revised.