Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Time for MPs to be provided with MORE paid support staff,....

We want to be a First World Parliament - but the problem is with what we provide to our individual Members of Parliament...only salary and some allowance...for attendance, etc..

There must be allocations for each and every Member of Parliament to have a Personal Assistant (to be able to do the needful when our MP is in Parliament or some meetings), a Research Assistant or 2 (who will be responsible for doing the research necessary for the MP to raise good questions, and good comments. Remember the MP has to peruse all kinds of Bills - and be able to raise relevant questions and clarifications, and this is not really possible because not all MPs have the requisite legal skill/knowledge and exposure or time to do this on his/her own research- hence the need for Research Assistant/s to assist the MP) , a Stenographer/Clerk (someone to take down notes and minutes, etc.) , a Secretary to man the MP's office in the Parliament House. Yes - each and every MP must have an office in the Parliament Building.

There must also be provision for rentals for service centres in the Constituency - plus for 1 or 2 staff per service centre.

How many service centres should an MP have - maybe he should be having 1 for every 15,000 registered voters in his constituency. So, for a constituency that has 60,000 registered voters, the MP is entitled to have and maintain 4 service centres - with 8 staff.

We need to create laws that provide for these things for each and every MP. We cannot expect MPs to use their salaries and allowances to hire basic support staff, -

Look at the US Congress - every Congressman has a pool of support staff. Salaries be paid by Congress.

Likewise, the salaries of the staff of MPs should be paid by the government. If an MP needs more staff, then he/she will have to find the money to pay for the extras.

We are talking about minimums here - and sadly today after more than 50 years of independence, we do not provisions in law that will assist the MP to be a better people's representative - a more inteligent one as well - who will have 'inteligence' flowing from his mouth rather than some stupid derrogatory remarks or unnecessary comments. WHY? Because now he has his team of research assistants/support staff who will be able to brief the MP (or educate the MP on major concerns about this Bill and that Bill) - Result:- Better MPs, Better Questions, Better Debates, Better Parliament ....

The Minisiters, Deputy Ministers,....have their support staff in their relevant Ministries - but alas, they too will need separate and different support staff when they have to discuss debate matters that concern not their relevant Ministrys.

We must not stop at MPs - but similar provisions must also be provided to ADUNs....

{Oh yes - the other things that may need is Driver, etc - }

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