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Eustace: I use my $1,500 allowance to assist people

Eustace: I use my $1,500 allowance to assist people


Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace says that because of the economic downturn in the country, he is forced to spend the $1,500 office allowance granted to him as representative of East Kingstown to assist persons in need.{{more}}

Eustace was speaking on the ‘New Times’ programme last Monday, June 6.

He said that at present, he has a list of 293 people who are seeking assistance from him.

“That is in my office, plus what I get in calls,” Eustace explained.

In fact, according to the opposition leader, the country is in such a state that more names are being added.

“And they making noise that I using my $1,500 allowance to assist people – what am I to use it for?” Eustace lamented.

Eustace was responding to criticisms that since being appointed Leader of the Opposition in 2001 he has not established an office as representative for East Kingstown.

In the 2011 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, the figure of $276,600 has been budgeted to pay office allowances to elected members of the House of Assembly.

This figure works out to just over $1,500 per month for each of the 15 elected members.

But according to Eustace, this amount is not enough to adequately meet the needs of his constituents.

“The amount of $1,500 in a constituency of 7,000 voters is not enough,” he said, adding that he spends more money than that in his constituency every month.

According to the 2011 Estimates, Eustace also receives $153,000 each year, or $12,750 a month, to provide office accommodation and support staff to the office of the Leader of the Opposition.

The office of the Leader of the Opposition is located at Democrat House, the headquarters of the New Democratic Party.

The opposition leader’s office allowance, along with the salaries and allowances of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Ministers of Government, The Speaker, Elected Members, Senators and staff of the House of Assembly, is paid through the House of Assembly.

This arrangement was also in place when the Unity Labour Party (ULP) was in opposition.