Speaking at a media session on Friday, the territory cannot turn its back on elected officials who have served in various capacities are living a life that is less than citizens who are just starting out in the territory.
“That is wrong, and I stand by that. I don’t know the cost yet in terms of what it is they will get but they are working that out from the House of Assembly area but at the end of the day, they have allowed us to have a better life,” the Premier said.
“I am standing on the shoulders of them and the greatness they have done and the work they have put in and I know that whenever the time comes to give any elected officials anywhere in the world any kind of funding or allowances, it is always looked upon in a negative light. But they have served and quite a few of them in the past are deceased and their families were sacrificed, in terms of life was sacrificed to give us service,” Fahie added.
The Premier noted that he could not bear to see the struggles of some past elected officials and consequently, his government has decided to address the issue and try to provide for them.
“Still persons want them to don’t have anything and want their families to live in a subservient manner because of the sacrifice made. I think that is a far stretch and I cannot subscribe to that sort of thinking. I know I’m going to get some knocks for this by some persons when they do respond in the public domain but when people serve at that level – not to give them the whole treasury – that’s not what I am saying. But compared to what they were given, it was not measurable to the sacrifice that they made. So, I am one of those who stand committed to ensuring we honour their sacrifice,” Fahie said.
The Premier said while completing the exercise, it opened his eyes to some unfair legislation that are currently in place for the spouses of legislators. As a result, he said there is a lot of amendment to the laws needed.
“A lot of women are affected by this. In terms of public service, if the person dies, the spouse gets the benefits until she dies or until she remarries. If she lives and she doesn’t remarry then she gets it and if she lives and remarries it stops. That’s antiquated, that’s wrong and I found that out through the whole service and the legislation that we have,” Fahie explained.
“So, that now is an area that we are working on amending. Because no spouse, whether man or woman, but mainly it is a lot of women who suffer from this. If their spouse dies and they want to remarry after five or ten years or even 15 years and they are still living, that allowance is supposed to be theirs until they die. We are going to amend that and are working on that in the House of Assembly,” the Premier continued.