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Searchlight accurately reported the facts about Gonsalves’ salary

Searchlight accurately reported the facts about Gonsalves’ salary

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has released to SEARCHLIGHT copies of his payslips, indicating that he did not receive a pay increase in 2011, as the SVG Green Party has charged.{{more}}

The Green Party in a September 21 article in The News and The Vincentian newspapers said Gonsalves received a $6,686 salary increase in 2011, citing the 2011 Budget Estimates.

SEARCHLIGHT in an October 2 article quoted Gonsalves as saying he did not receive a salary increase.

SVG Green Party leader Ivan O’Neal said SEARCHLIGHT, through its reporting, essentially called him “a liar”.

He demanded an apology from the prime minister and a retraction of the article by the SEARCHLIGHT.

“Mr Ivan O’Neal is a retired officer of the British Royal Air Force, with over 31 years of honourable and distinguished military service, including an Exemplary Service Conduct medal,” O’Neal wrote in an October 9 press release copied to Gonsalves and SEARCHLIGHT.

“Mr O’Neal’s integrity has been substantially tarnished by the article in the Searchlight newspaper. Mr Ivan O’Neal demands a public apology from PM Gonsalves and a retraction of his comments about Mr Ivan O’Neal in the Searchlight newspaper on 2nd October 2012,” O’Neal further wrote.

But Gonsalves this week provided SEARCHLIGHT with copies of his payslips for all of 2001 (including when he was Leader of the Opposition before the March 2001 election), November 2010, January 2011, and September 2012.

The payslips were stamped with the seal of the Accountant General.

The documents show that in December 2001, the Prime Minister received a salary of $8,769.27. His transportation allowance was $1,100, “staff” (now “Constituency Office”) allowance was $2,000 and he received a $1,200 entertainment allowance.

The prime minister paid $2,732.70 in income tax and the stamp duty deduction was $15.

In November 2010, the prime minister’s basic salary was $11,481.63. He received an entertainment allowance of $1,300, transportation allowance of $1,320, and $2,000 for his constituency office.

He paid $3,056.53 in income tax, while $100 was deducted to his credit union account and a further $100 to the Unity Labour Party, which he leads.

In January 2011, Gonsalves received a basic salary of $11,481.63, while his entertainment, transportation, and constituency office allowances remained unchanged at $1,300, $1,320, and $2,000 respectively, the same as in November 2010.

In January 2011, the same deductions as in November 2010 were made for his income tax, credit union account and party contribution.

Last month — September 2012 — the prime minister received a basic salary of $11,704.57, $222.95 more than his income in January 2011, but his allowances remained unchanged.

He also paid $3,128.99 in income tax — $72.43 more than in January 2011, in addition to unchanged deductions for his credit union and party.

But Gonsalves explained that the additional $222.95 he received on his basic salary is not a pay increase.

“Like all Parliamentarians, I received the normal salary increase of public servants, but not the increases consequent upon the Reclassification Exercise,” Gonsalves said in a handwritten note, dated October 15.

“Parliamentarians were not reclassified; as a result, the differential in salary between for example, a Permanent Secretary and a Minister/Prime Minister narrowed to the advantage of the Permanent Secretary,” he further said.

Meanwhile, Clare Keizer, editor of SEARCHLIGHT, said that the newspaper’s coverage was an accurate representation of the facts.

She further said the documents provided by the prime minister further supported SEARCHLIGHT’s reporting, eliminating any reason for a retraction. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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