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Town Councillors, staff to get increased stipends, salaries

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.

Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon Wednesday announced Cabinet’s approval of a 5% pay-hike for staff of Guyana’s Town Councils and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) while the elected councilors have seen an increase in their stipends.

These increases, Luncheon said during his post-Cabinet press-brief , are to be financed through revenue collected by the local governing entities themselves as Luncheon said they are payable “to the extent that the NDCs and the Town Councils was able to fund the increases.”

In an interview with Caribbean News Desk on Wednesday afternoon, Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker explained that the increase in stipend for councilors was decided on several months ago. He said “it increased by $10,000 a month for the Chair, $5,000 for the Vice (-Chair) and $3,000 for (ordinary) councilors.

Where NDC’s are concerned, Whittaker said their staff will receive a 5% increase across the board (which is) payable from January 1st, 2015.” He said though, that based on 2014 financial performances, three NDCs, as of last year, were not in a position to afford the increases.

While declining to name the three NDCs, Whittaker said that better performances this year may very well see the increases being paid.

Asked if members of the controversial Interim Management Committees (IMCs), set up by government in various areas, would benefit from the increases, Luncheon said that because officers of these bodies are appointed, as opposed to elected, Cabinet is undecided on whether they should also benefit from the increase.

There are 65 NDCs and 6 Town Councils across Guyana’s ten regions.