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I need a pay increase—Rambharat

Monday, September 17, 2018
Clarence Rambharat

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat says it is no secret that he wants a pay increase because of the significant workload.

“I would like to be paid more, honestly, and it is not a secret I have said it in numerous debates in the Parliament,” said Rambharat on Saturday at the launch of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) south branch and the re-introduction of the Mobile Banking Unit at Gordon Street, San Fernando.

Noting the ADB’s recent wage negotiation settlement, the minister said, “With increase comes expectations.”

He said he receives at least 100 messages on Facebook daily from people with most of the messages beginning with “I want” or “I need.”

He said that was a culture in this country perpetuated by politicians.

“We hold ourselves as the ones who could give and deliver and do everything. We behave as though public service does not exist,” Rambharat said.

He said a Member of Parliament, who is not a minister or a parliamentary secretary, and a graduate assistant receives a $17,000 salary.

He said, “A Member of Parliament basically does not sleep. The demands are significant. I am not even talking about the time on the road...$17,000. A senator, not like me, I don’t complain too much because I am a minister, a senator without a portfolio gets $14,000. This week I have been in the Senate on three occasions, on one occasion in a debate that lasted 13 and-a-half hours. So that I am not complaining about me, but I am saying I am sure that a lot of my colleagues believe that they should get more money. I believe that Senators and MPs without ministerial portfolio should be paid a far better wage.”

While not always people will feel fully compensated, the minister said, “I am sure on many days you will feel fully rewarded in what you have been able to do.”

On the issue of land tenure, the minister said there were about 30,000 files at the Land Management Division and everyone has a role to play.

“I heard someone say that Dr Rowley should serve another 40 years, well 40 will not even help me. It is an enormous exercise,” he said.

He suggested that farmers’ groups and the ADB forward names of farmers who needed assistance with land tenure.

ADB’s chairman Winston Rudder said the ADB might have to review its business model which is wholly and solely dependent on state funding.

He said, “Whether that is a sustainable model as we move ahead over the next 20 years and the expansion that we expect in the agriculture community, in the fishing community, in the agri-business community, the size of loans that we will be expected to deliver, could we continue to depend on yearly subventions from the state? That is a question that we need to address as we craft our strategies for the future,” he said. See Page A8


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