Under the Governor-General’s Emoluments and Pension Act, 2006, gratuity is payable in full to a governor general on the day he/she ceases to hold office.
Dame Louise – who was the country’s head of State acting on behalf of the Queen, officially demitted office at midnight Wednesday, after seven years and one month on the job.
Her gratuity is reportedly estimated to be about $260,000, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the aggregate of the salaries paid during her tenure in office.
In an exclusive interview with OBSERVER yesterday, Dame Louise said she was informed of government’s inability to pay via letter yesterday from Acting Prime Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.
The letter from which she read, indicates, “As far as your gratuity payments are concerned, the government is constrained to meet your expectation for immediate payment due in part to auditing procedures of government and the lack of sufficient funds to meet the payment of your gratuity in full at this point in time.”
Dame Louise said, although it was her expectation to be paid, she decided not to protest, “out of respect for Her Majesty.”
“If they haven’t got the money, you can’t get blood out of stone. But, I have it in writing and I’m prepared to demit office although the Act says all these things must be given to me, my emoluments, everything on the day I demit office. It was done for Sir James Carlisle with respect,” Dame Louise said.
She added that she’s uncertain whether her year plus vacation owed would be considered as service to bring up her years of service to eight years.
If that is done, then government would be required to continue to pay Dame Louise a full salary of $184,140 per annum, full housing allowance of $96,000 per annum, exemption from paying Education Levy, Medical Benefits and Social Security.