Red Thread issues a stinging letter on the salary increases for ministers: “If they were earning more in their other jobs, why didn’t they stick to those jobs and give others a chance to fill the government positions? We never asked them to sacrifice their high-paying jobs at the expense of us..”
“I do not object to the increase in salaries. I have a list of personnel from the previous government who were being paid higher salaries…” says GPSU’s Patrick Yarde remarking on the 50% increase in ministers’ wages. For his part Yarde has failed over the past 14 years to get an increase for public servants of more than 9%. And the Times pursues the increases with the help of David Hinds: “ For me, the issue is not whether the salaries should be increased or not, or the fact that the rate of increase is higher than that of public servants; I suppose one can make a case for both. But I am concerned about the optics of it.” But it’s the quantum of the increase that makes the optics troubling. They could have done 20% and not cut short the honeymoon.
The newspapers all run with the juicy story of Hits and Jams Director Dwidth Ferguson now being a fugitive from Canadian justice and facing charges of cocaine trafficking.
Of course this casts a shadow over the HJ entertainment empire including the radio and TV stations and the fun park, all abetted by the previous government. Going forward, the question will be whether established corporate sponsors are comfortable to be associated with the organisation. If Ferguson was only an employee/DJ/entertainer as some media describe him this morning it might be OK. But as a director it becomes complicated.
This story has legs. “Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma on Wednesday stated that he believes new supporting documents claiming to provide a breakdown of the $100M loan from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) to the RPA were fabricated and does little to support former Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy’s explanations of how the money was spent…Sharma showed Stabroek News a spreadsheet which breaks down not only the alleged $100M loan but also an additional payout to rice farmers by the GRDB to the tune of $42M. That’s it! Get the documents out in the public domain.
KN obliges with two stories of previous government misuse of funds: Millions of dollars from the NFMU were spent on “the PPP’s failed Fibre Optic Cable from Brazil and the One Lap Top per Family project.”AND NCN spent $6.6M on 17 employees stationed at the Office of the President as phantom bloggers.
Colwyn Harding, who has accused a police constable of raping him with a baton, finally got to testify about the ordeal almost two years later. (SN)
And here’s what passes for sports journalism: “GT&T pumps millions into rugby” “Courts hands over award to ‘Jackie Chan’; Richardson; “Mike’s Pharmacy provides uniforms for Young Warriors cricket team”. (Chronicle)
(Promissory note photo courtesy of SN)