The former legislators pictured above are each eligible to receive a portion of nearly $2.7 million under a now repealed provision of the 2021 law widely known as the “Greedy Bill,” according to information provided last week by Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley. From left to right: former premier Andrew Fahie; former Ninth District Representative Shereen Flax-Charles; former Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines; former At-Large Representative Neville Smith; former Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool. Photo: GIS

Former premier Andrew Fahie is currently imprisoned in Miami while lawyers wrangle over his fate after a jury found him guilty of a drug-trafficking conspiracy on Feb. 8.

But he is among five former legislators expected to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in post-term salary payments thanks to the 2021 law the public has dubbed the “Greedy Bill,” according to information provided to the House of Assembly last week by Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

Dr. Wheatley said a total of $2,698,004.97 will be paid out under a section of the law that was repealed last year but that still allows ex-legislators who served in the previous HOA to receive up to four years’ salary after leaving office — unless they turn it down.

These legislators include Mr. Fahie, who resigned his seat last November as he prepared for trial; former Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool, who retired last year; and four politicians who were voted out in the general election last April: former Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines; former Ninth District Representative Shereen Flax-Charles; former At-Large Representative Neville Smith; and the late former At-Large Representative Carvin Malone, who died suddenly last month.

None of the five living ex-legislators responded to Beacon queries this week on whether they will accept or decline the money, and the late Mr. Malone didn’t respond when he was asked the same question last year.

Controversial section

Dr. Wheatley announced the nearly $2.7 million sum during the Feb. 20 House of Assembly meeting after opposition member Myron Walwyn raised questions about payouts under the law, which is officially known as the Retiring Allowances Legislative Service (Amendment) Act of 2021. Specifically, Mr. Walwyn asked the premier how much will be paid out under the repealed provision to legislators from the fourth HOA — which was dissolved prior to the general election last April — who were not returned to the fifth HOA.

The provision in question stipulated that lawmakers who served one or two full terms in the HOA 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 redefined “salary” to include allowances, which today make up the majority of many legislators’ pay.

The 2021 law drew heavy criticism on the 2023 campaign trail, with several candidates promising to amend it.

The HOA kept that promise last September, amending the law to remove the controversial post term salary payments.

Citing legal reasons, however, lawmakers phrased the September amendments to permit members of the current and previous HOA to keep the payments unless they submit a written request explicitly turning them down.

Largest payout for Fahie

Mr. Fahie is apparently eligible for the largest payout.

Since he held office for more than five terms and his annual pay package as premier was around $150,000, he appears to be eligible to receive four years’ worth of post-term salary — around $600,000 — on top of his other benefits.

The other ex-legislators’ post term salary payouts under the provision appear to range from around $200,000 for Mr. Smith to more than half a million dollars for Mr. Vanterpool.

These payments come in addition to other benefits including a retirement allowance provided for life to any former legislator age 50 and over who served at least five years.

Under the original 1980 law, the monthly allowance was calculated as two-thirds of the maximum monthly salary paid to legislators while they served. By redefining “salary” to include allowances, the 2021 “Greedy Bill” also sweetened this deal — a change that was left in place when the law was amended last September.

HOA questions

In the HOA last week, Mr. Walwyn pressed Dr. Wheatley further on the topic.

“I’m wondering if the premier can give me a little further breakdown of the [nearly $2.7 million] and what it represents, particularly as it relates to the act itself,” Mr. Walwyn said. “Does this include pensions, gratuities and also those persons who are going to be getting paid while doing no work under the second part of the bill?”

The premier responded, “I don’t have it broken down in my answer, but I would imagine it would involve all payments made under the amended Retiring Allowances Legislative Service Amendment Act of 2021. It includes all the gratuities and all payments based on whether it’s tenure, etcetera.”

Already paid?

The premier’s responses appeared to suggest that the nearly $2.7 million had not yet been paid out.

Asked to confirm this point, government Communications Director Karia Christopher referred the question to the HOA clerk.

But a representative at the HOA responded that the request would be relayed to the clerk, who is out of office until next week.