MP Marlin-Romeo: “Cut salaries of MPs and ministers by 5 percent”

POSTED: 02/2/15 1:06 AM

St. Maarten – Independent Member of Parliament Leona Marlin-Romeo made a good impression in her first address during Tuesday’s budget-debate. To the point and sticking to budget-related issues, the rookie MP fired a torrent of succulent remarks, mostly geared towards areas where she considers budget cuts still possible – and she did not need one-and-a-half hour to get her points across. Though it was not at the top of her list, in the end she proposed a salary cut for ministers and members of parliament

“We have to start adopting cost-cutting measures,” she said. “It is hard to believe that certain cuts are not possible at the ministries or at the parliament.”

Marlin-Romeo first addressed travel expenses. “Why not cut back on business trips and invest in video conferencing equipment? Why travel first class if business class or economy class would do?”

The MP also addressed energy-efficiency and the use of paper in the government organization. “Turn off the lights at the end of the day,” she said. “Take back al the government phones from non-department heads. Stop hiring consultants and invest in our civil servants.”

Marlin-Romeo furthermore pointed to “the many buildings we rent with hardly anybody sitting in them. Yet another cost-saving measure would be to do away with the student support services organization S4 and to transfer the task for guiding students in the Netherlands to the St. Maarten House.

Study financing also warrants a critical review, Marlin-Romeo made clear. “Provide financing only for critical studies and for studying in the region.”

She asked about the number of civil servants that are on the payroll but seldom, if ever show up for work. “We also have to look at members of parliament who are not working fulltime,” she said.

Rounding off her address with the remark that “the laissez-faire attitude towards travel has to stop,” Marlin-Romeo suggested cutting the salaries of minister and members of parliament by 5 percent.

When former Democratic Party M Roy Marlin made a similar suggestion in a budget-meeting last year – going as far as submitting a motion for this purpose – the other fourteen members of parliament kept their noses down. With the exception of the initiator, nobody signed Marlin’s motion.

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