Training on the job has its privileges
This is in response to the article titled “Temporary ministers paid $240 extra a day”.
“Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, was sworn in on January 10 as the temporary Minister for Tourism and Transport for ten days.”
A temporary minister in “training” while “shadowing” the official minister earns $2,400 in ten days of “training”?
“Mr Burt explained earlier this month that the ‘constitutional provision’ that allowed the Premier to appoint a Member of the House of Assembly or Senate as a temporary minister was not new.”
Yes, the Constitution does make this provision and, technically, the Premier can appoint as many temporary ministers to his Cabinet as he justifies each new temporary appointment.
But the Bermuda Constitution Order also clearly states under Chapter III, The Legislature, powers and procedures, section 46:
The Legislature may by law determine and regulate the privileges, immunities and powers of either House and the members thereof, but no such privileges, immunities and powers shall exceed those of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom or the Members thereof.
So would, or more importantly, does the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom extend this type of financial privilege to temporary ministers in “training” at Westminster Palace?
Because the query isn’t in the appointment but rather why a “trainee” who is “shadowing” is paid to do so?
In other words, what type of ministerial trainee is rewarded with a “financial privilege” or a “gift” above and beyond the basic MP’s salary at Westminster Palace in London?
And before David Burt sets out to create and deeply embed this type of precedent or extend financial “political privileges” to his backbenchers — even while he has the Governor in his photo-op — wouldn’t it be prudent to firmly and transparently establish whether this type of financial “training” privilege is a privilege known and falls within the established privileges of Westminster?
I think that the qualified opinion of Whitehall on the powers and procedures at the Commons House of Parliament (Westminster Palace) would clarify and settle this perplexing issue, as the payment for training an MP is a rather extraordinary political “financial privilege” by the Premier.
VALIRIE MARCIA AKINSTALL
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