It is time for a change – change the retiring allowances (Part 1)

It is time for a change – change the retiring allowances (Part 1)

While it is a common practice throughout the world whereby parliamentarians are remunerated after retirement from Parliament, it does not mean it is right or fair especially when it comes to these small islands. I am now convinced more than ever that the main beneficiaries of our political system are the politicians themselves.

The three main reasons why some countries introduced retiring allowances were as follows:

  • When some parliamentarians enter politics, they gave up the opportunity of getting a payout from their previous job before they had the chance to retire;
  • The parliamentarians chance to re-establish their careers are diminished after they retire from politics.
  • To encourage a caliber of persons to enter politics who would not be interested in entering politics otherwise.

Perhaps reason 2 is applicable to TCI but quite frankly, many of our politicians never had an established career prior to politics.

The retiring allowance is not sustainable as it is costing us millions of dollars like SIPT. Therefore, now is the time for the Government to amend the retiring allowances ordinance for future parliamentarians. Obviously, it is too late to change the retiring allowances for parliamentarians that are already qualified

The Turks and Caicos Islands Retiring allowance ordinance is applicable to parliamentarians (elected or appointed) who served two full parliamentary terms and by the way the terms do not have to be consecutive. The payment of the retiring allowance is due to the parliamentarian at the age of 50. They can get it younger than 50 if they have medical proof of being incapable to serve as a legislator due to permanent infirmity of the mind or body. The legislator gets paid for life on a monthly basis at a rate of 2/3 of the highest annual rate of the basic salary paid to the legislator. The legislator can also opt to receive a one – off gratuity payment but the life monthly retiring allowance will be reduced. The reduced retired allowance is calculated at a rate of ¾ of the regular retiring allowance and the gratuity is calculated at the rate of 12 and ½ times the annual rate of the reduced allowance.

The premier’s current salary is 140,000 and so if the premier retires, the premier will get $93,333 annually ($7,777 a month) for life. The deputy premier’s current salary is $126,000 and so if the deputy premier retires, the deputy premier will get $84,000 annually ($7,000 monthly) for life. A minister’s current salary is $113,400 and so if a minister retires, the minister will get $75,600 annually ($6,300 monthly) for life. The other elected or appointed legislator ‘s current salary is $70,000 and so if she or he retires, he or she will get $46,667 annually ($3,889 monthly) for life. The speaker’s current salary is $75,000 and so if he retires, he will get $50,000 annually (or $4,167 monthly) for life.

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