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Opposition objects to 179% increase in stipend for senators

By Kimone Witter    

The People's National Party (PNP) is opposed to the massive increase in the per meeting stipend for senators.

The PNP says it was notified on September 14 of the Ministry of Finance's decision to adjust the stipend.

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Peter Bunting says he wrote to the Clerk of the Houses Parliament, Valrie Curtis, on Monday expressing strong objection to the substantial increase in the stipend, which has moved from $53,000 to $148,000 per meeting - a 179 per cent increase. 

Mr. Bunting says the concern of the opposition caucus in the Senate revolves around the size of the increase, its timing, and its insensitivity to the current national context.

"We firmly believe that such a significant increase in stipend for senators is neither justifiable nor appropriate, particularly at a time when crucial issues affecting essential public servants remain unresolved. In the interest of preserving public trust and confidence, we urgently request a reconsideration of this decision. We propose that these funds be reallocated to areas where they can make a more immediate and positive impact," he urged. 

Mr. Bunting said the position of the opposition senators has been communicated to Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson.

He has also requested that the Clerk to the Houses of Parliament conveys the information to the Ministry of Finance.