The Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, Maurice Merchant, rejects a misleading story carried in the Observer newspaper, concerning remarks made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne about salary increases for parliamentarians and public servants.
In its January 11 edition, The Daily Observer carries a story, that Prime Minister Browne is contemplating a pay increase for parliamentarians, including ministers of the government.
Mr. Merchant points out that the Prime Minister said the exact opposite of the inference in the Daily Observer story.
The Director of Communications emphasised that, indeed, “the Prime Minister’s exact words were as follows: “Many of my ministers since last term would have said to me that at some point we have to review parliamentary pay”. The Prime Minister was clear when he continued by saying: “I don’t know when that will be. Clearly, we cannot do it now because of the COVID situation and so on”.
Mr. Merchant said, “The words spoken by the Prime Minister can be heard on the website of Antigua Newsroom where it was posted by that Internet news portal’.
“It is most unfortunate and misleading reporting by the Observer newspaper to omit from its story, the pellucid statement by the Prime Minister that no consideration can be given to an increase in pay for parliamentarians at this time or at any time in the foreseeable future”, Mr. Merchant declared.
In the interest of fair reporting and acceptable standards of journalism, the Observer Newspaper should consider correcting its misleading article, by highlighting the Prime Minister’s words, rejecting an increase in pay for parliamentarians given the adverse impact of COVID-19 on government finances.