Sonia Mateo a Senator of the province of Dajabon, Dominican Republic, became the butt of the jokes in her country lately after comments she made on Thursday morning during an a telephonic interview with a local morning show. In an attempt to justify a salary raise for both chambers of the Dominican legislature, Senator Mateo complained “Do you think it’s fair that sometimes I walk around Santo Domingo and I can’t even afford a little water bottle?”
The legislators announced their decision to raise their salary from RD$70,000 Pesos (US$ 1,555.00) to RD$125,000.00 Pesos ( US 2,770.00). After Sen. Mateo’s outrageous claim of poverty, a good Samaritan started a GoFundMe petition her behalf to collect money to help her afford ” little bottles of water. At the same time, the hashtag #AguaParaSonia went viral on social networks in the country. Dominicans have certainly found irony in Senator Mateo’s complaint because most families are expected to make due with a minimum wage of RD$ 7,000 ( US 150.00) per month.
Participacion Ciudadana, a watchdog civil organization opposes the wage hike authorized by the legislators declaring it illegal. Also the president of the lower chamber of representatives Lucia Medina declared her opposition to her colleagues’ pay raise arguing that it conflicts with Article 140 of the Dominican constitution; which refers to the rules of payment increase for public servants.