Former legislator Eileen Parsons has moved to set the record straight, saying persons should note that she doesn’t benefit from the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) (Amendment) Act 2023 otherwise known as the Greedy Bill.
Earlier this week on Tola Radio’s Morning Braff show, Floyd “Heritage” Burnette said some politicians and residents often use Parsons as an example when discussing the relevance of the Greedy Bill and how it will help retired legislators who often have medical and other expenses.
During that discussion, Parsons called the radio show and stated that neither she nor legislators who served during her time in office stand to benefit from the controversial Greedy Bill.
“I just heard from a friend that it is being said on the radio that the government pays my medical bills. I don’t have any medical bills,” Parsons told hosts Heritage and Cindy Rosan. “I am covered under Medicare in the United States and when I had medical bills, what I didn’t pay, Medicare paid. But I don’t have any medical bills, I don’t get sick.”
Rosan then commended: “Well, this is a shocker because your name is used when they talk about taking care of our former legislators.”
Parsons then explained that the Greedy Bill was passed to take care of legislators who served from the year 2019 and onwards.
“We are not getting taken care of. I think this thing (the Greedy Bill) is for those who were elected from 2019 onwards. Those of us who were elected before are not included. I would have been glad to get some, but those of my legislative generation were not included,” Parsons explained.
“Heritage, I tell all of you about these rascals, you know,” Rosan said after Parson’s explanation.
The former legislator then chimed in, “well I wouldn’t say they are rascals because I was a former one (legislator), so then I’d be a rascal too.”
According to the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) (Amendment) Act is only applicable to legislators who served in the Fourth House of Assembly from the 12th March, 2019 and subsequent Houses of Assembly.
Among other things, the law first stipulated that lawmakers who served one or two full terms would be paid two years’ salary upon leaving office.
Those who served three or four full consecutive terms would get three years’ salary, and those who served for five or more terms would receive four years’ salary. The law also changed the definition of “salary” making it legal for former legislators to get even more funds.
After much public criticism, many of the provisions were repealed in 2023.
However, members of the current and former House of Assembly can still keep their benefits under the 2021 law, unless they submit a written request explicitly turning them down. It’s not clear if any legislator has opted out of the payments under the law.
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