BVI, Caribbeanand International News

Levons rebukes Wheatley, Flax-Charles over ‘greedy bill’ votes

Levons rebukes Wheatley, Flax-Charles over ‘greedy bill’ votes

There is simply no excuse or redemption for lawmakers who participated in passing the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Services) Amendment Act, 2021 which is sometimes referred to by members of the public as the greedy bill.
That was the position adopted by Ninth District candidate for the National Democratic Party (NDP), Coy Levons when contestants for the district faced off in a debate last Friday.

The controversial retirement package allows first-term lawmakers to, among other things, be paid a full two-year salary, even if they are no longer in office. Its provisions were met with vocal opposition by a small group of residents at the time, but lawmakers were unmoved and no changes were made to the law.

The issue has become a focal point of the election campaign ever since it was raised by former lawmaker, Myron Walwyn, with legislators now seemingly falling over themselves with promises of repealing the law and making attempts to distance themselves as beneficiaries.

A little tweaking

Incumbent District Representative, Vincent Wheatley, argued for the bill to be kept in place with minor adjustments and noted that it had been in discussion for decades. He said fearful lawmakers previously refused to enact any legislation, expressing that “the public will kill them” if they sought to look after themselves and better their living conditions. “We watched retired politicians suffer, lose their land, lose their houses,” Wheatley argued. “The bill came from good intent. Now, if the bill needs some tweaking, I have absolutely no problem tweaking that bill.”

Wheatley further argued that the bill was also designed more so, to protect future young politicians from victimisation and not to benefit the current crop of lawmakers. “After public life, you won’t believe the kind of treatment persons may mete out against you; because when you’re making decisions, you’re going to make enemies in that process and some persons can’t wait for you to be out of office to give it to you. They can’t wait. That’s how people are.”

I’ve had to assist former legislators with utility bills

Shereen Flax-Charles, who shifted her allegiance to the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), acknowledged voting for the law but confessed that, in hindsight, the Act needs to be repealed. She argued further that she had lobbied for a contributory pension fund for lawmakers and said the law is being broken around the territory because many employers simply do not have a pension plan in place.

She also acknowledged having to assist former legislators with utility bills, arguing that some have been unable to find jobs after serving as lawmakers because they are now considered politically exposed persons (PEPs). “Don’t don’t pay attention to what persons are saying,” Flax-Charles urged. “Get the facts because legislators really don’t make a lot of money. The PSs (Permanent Secretaries) are the ones that really clean up.”

No good intent

But Levons was adamant that there was no good intent on the part of legislators who helped pass the bill into law. “Let me put it to you quite blunt… the strategy of appointing a deputy [premier] to be able to take out of the bill the maximum amount of money shows me that the bill was not intentionally designed to help the legislator. It was designed to facilitate the movement of money,” Levons argued.

He pointed to the current Pension Act, which he argued only requires a small amendment that should rightly include public servants and lambasted lawmakers for not paying long-delayed public servants’ increments, even as they sought to enrich themselves through the ‘greedy bill’.

“How dare you sit down here and tell me that the civil servants don’t deserve to get paid, but you set the thing in motion for politicians to take out all the money,” Levons argued. “No, no, no. Stop your nonsense. Coming before the people, telling the people ignorance about good intention, Mr Vincent. No. I rebuke you with that kind of concept.”

He added: “You put your signature to the bill, Honourable Shereen. You put your signature, Honourable Vincent. Don’t come with no lame excuses about ‘we need to reform’. If it needed reform, why one of you didn’t stand up and say ‘me ain’t signing the bill’?”

Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner