Massive Pension Increase For Cabinet Ministers

Submitted by GoWEB Caribbean – Writer Caswell Franklyn


Caswell Franklyn - Head of Unity Workers Union

On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, the NUPW held a meeting of persons who were affected by the new tax on travelling and entertainment allowances. The following day the Daily Nation quoted the General Secretary as saying that government had attempted to appease the workers by saying that the deductions would be added to their pensionable emoluments.

Apparently, he was trying to explain that the amounts paid as travelling and entertainment allowances are not used to compute pension entitlements, however, they will now be taxed and added to the salary for pension purposes. As a result, those persons who are entitled to pensions would see an increase at the end of their working life, which would be any time between ages 60 and 67 depending on the person’s retirement age. This would require an amendment to the Pensions Act, Chapter 25, since the definition of “pensionable emoluments” excludes those allowances.

The promise to make the allowances pensionable is meaningless to officers who earn less than $4,090 per month, and who were employed in the Public Service after September 1, 1975. Officers in this category would only get a pension from the National Insurance Scheme.

A permanent secretary who receives a travelling allowance of $974.78 and entertainment of 1103.27 would see an increase in his monthly pension entitlement of $1,385. 37. This scenario assumes that: he would have been employed prior to September 1, 1975; he had been working for 33⅓ years; and that he received the allowances for 36 months immediately prior to retirement.

On the other hand, if the amendment were applied to the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Act the picture would be quite different and alarming. That Act makes provisions for the pensions of Members of Parliament. Like public officers the allowances are not taken into consideration when computing the pensions of retired parliamentarians. The table below shows the effect on the monthly pension entitlement of the Cabinet and parliamentary secretaries at current salaries.

Post Current Entitlement Proposed Increase
Prime Minister 11,287.53 14,334.11 3,046.58  

Deputy PM 9,595.02 13,481. 61 3,889.59 

Minister 8,465.67 11,129.23 2,663. 56 

Parl. Sec. 8,218.13 9,969.03 1,750.90

It is interesting to note that the politicians qualify for their pensions at age 50 after serving a minimum of 8 years to qualify for half of their salary. They qualify for ⅔ of their salary after serving 12 years. A public officer qualifies for a pension of ⅔ of his salary after serving 33⅓ years.

Call me naive but I believe that these massive unconscionable increases in monthly pension entitlements would be unintended consequences of the Budget, despite the emerging pattern. In 1991, just prior to the 8% cut in salaries, parliamentarians gave themselves an increase of 10%. Also in 1991 Government reduced the severance payment entitlement for all workers except Constituency Assistants. I am left to wonder what next?

0 thoughts on “Massive Pension Increase For Cabinet Ministers


  1. In 2011 $3 ooo is massive? What will it be in 2035? Enough for one week’s rent? A week’s supply of groceries?


  2. Caswell;

    You wrote this above
    “It is interesting to note that the politicians qualify for their pensions at age 50 after serving a minimum of 8 years to qualify for half of their salary. They qualify for ⅔ of their salary after serving 12 years. A public officer qualifies for a pension of ⅔ of his salary after serving 33⅓ years.”

    AS far as I recall, the pension entitlement for the PM is different from the above. Unless it was changed. My recollection suggests that the PM was entitled to his full salary as pension after only one day in office. Uh wrong?

    On another matter. I asked your view, in another thread, about the legality or otherwise of government deducting NIS from workers salaries over their working life and then taxing them again on those deductions, based on the full NIS pension. What are your views on this? Should’nt there be at least a 10% deduction on their pensions for income tax purposes?


  3. Checkit -out
    The arrangements for the Prime Minister’s pension is different. Section 3 (1) of the Pensions (Prime Minister) Act states:
    Every person who having been appointed Prime Minister on or after the 30th November, 1966, seases at any time after such appointment to be Prime Minister shall be paid a pension under this Act with effect from the date on which he ceases to be Prime Minister …
    Technically, the Prime Minister can go to Government House and be sworn in an then got to his office and write his resignation, and qualify for his pension. He does not even have to serve a whole day.

    According to Section 5, the Prime Minister is entitled to a pension of two-thirds of the highest annual rate of salary of such person at any time as Prime Minister.

    To answer your question about the NIS pension, I feel that it is immoral to tax the NIS pension when you already paid taxes on the NIS contributions. If I were you I would not worry about the tax on the pension, I would be more concern about the unannounced cut in the rate of the NIS pensions. The following is an article that I wrote some time ago, you will be surprised at what the authorities sneak by the country:

    After forming Unity Workers Union, I went to the National Insurance Department to ensure that we would be operating within the law. At the same time, I took the opportunity to collect some of the handbooks which explain the benefits that are offered by that department.
    I am aware that the method of calculating the NIS contributory pension had been changed recently. However, I was not aware that the new method would result in persons receiving significantly smaller pensions. But that was not the shocker: the new method now makes it easier for self employed persons to cheat the system.
    Previously, a pension was calculated based on the total value of the contributions that a person paid over the years. Now, the pension is calculated based the annual average of the best five years’ contributions. As a result, a self employed person can pay his contributions at the lowest rate for the greater part of his working life, increase his contributions to the maximum for five years prior to retirement and receive the same pension as a person who paid the maximum contributions for his entire working life.
    At this point it would be best to explain using actual figures. Let’s say that there are two self employed persons contributing to the National Insurance Scheme for 25 years: one paying contributions at the rate of $14.65 per month for twenty years and then at a rate of $627.90 per month for five years; and, the other paying contributions for the entire 25 years at the rate of $627.90. Both of these persons would receive a pension of $382.50 per week. Who came up with this madness? Don’t take my word for it, go to the National Insurance Office and collect their Self Employed Handbook and read pages 11 and 12.
    It is obvious that someone messed up. The new system is not equitable. Government must take another look and probably revert to the old formula.


  4. @caswell

    Are legislative pensions index linked? As such with each increase parliament would grant its member would not their pensions of ex members also rise ?


  5. DEY GOT SOME WICKED PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY

    A LOT OF THEM ARE TOP CIVIL SERVANTS WHO MAKE PROPOSALS THAT PUNISH POOR BLACK PEOPLE

    DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM
    UP WITH BLACK CONSIOUSNESS


  6. And??? And??? It seems that one is only entitled to a good pension if one comes from ‘over and away’ or if one comes from certain sections of society.

    Our leaders, including politicians, work hard for their office. There is no reason that their pensions should not be formed on the same basis as all others.

    You see MD’s from corporations given ginormous packages, who have done far less for this country, yet you complain about thirty persons who burst their blood vessels for the country, to go home and eat sardines?

    The money above is chicken feed. That must be Rihanna’s investment income for the month (and good for her).

    And y’all see this ‘expert’ from the UN or that expert from some other overseas body strutting about with their chest AND ass in the air and listen to their every word, but when it comes to our own people, you complain, that they are not worth their pay.

    Bollocks and bajan jealousy.

    Wunna complain about eveerything.

    Even so, who cares with what they are paid, with current life trends, and I am not being malicious here, they will not live that long anyway, especially with our health issues in this country.


  7. Instead of complaining about the above, why dont we start suggesting improvements for our economy.

    To start, how about increasing our education and healthcare expenditures, such that we can bring our educational institutions and healthcare institutions to a level of excellence such that we can , in five or ten years have a viable Visitor Healthcare Industry, for persons from the US, UK and Canada to come, have operations and recuperate.

    Also, so that our educaitonal bodies can have Visiting Student Graduates, in medical, finance and even at the undergraduate stage for things like maths and economics, sciences.

    Notice I am going the TOTALLY OPPOSITE way from other ‘commentators’.

    Invest in the future…it is learning that is the future, skills and excellence.


  8. Crusoe
    I think that you just like making comments, without anything sensible to contribute.

    Politicians like all other public servants serve this country. After retirement,all public servants should be compensated in such a manner that they can live comfortably, not just MP’s.
    They have a history of enhancing their pension entitlements, while reducing the pension entitlements for the majority of other public servants.
    Parliamentarians reduced the age at which they receive pensions to 50 years, while they systematically increase the age for others until it reaches 67. Eventually, they will be entitled to receive their pensions seventeen (17) years prior to everyone else. Is that fair?

    MP’s are entitled to receive 1/2 of their salaries as a pension after 8 years service. Public officers qualify for 1/5 of their salaries after 10 years. MP’s qualify for 2/3 after 12 years while public officers have to wait 33 1/3 years to qualify for the same pension, incidentally statutory board employees qualify for the same pension after 40 years.

    Public officers who are employed after September 1, 1975 qualify for both the National Insurance contributory pension and one from the Treasury, however, the pension from the Treasury is reduced by the amount that is paid by NIS. Parliamentarians receive both, whether they are employed before or after 1975.
    Why should MP’s, most of whom are part time, receive such generous pensions while full time public officers have their pensions cut, don’t they have to live comfortably after retirement like former MP’s.

    No one is asking MP’s to go home and eat sardines. You obviously do not know the price of sardines. Some former public cannot afford biscuits because the pension does does not cover the entire month. They are said to be living in gentile proverty. So Mr. Crusoe if you have nothing sensible to contribute you don’t have to show your ignorance.


  9. ”So Mr. Crusoe if you have nothing sensible to contribute you don’t have to show your ignorance”

    Wicked nouncer what! What ignorance? I have not spoken on ignorance. I said plainly that there is no reason that Parliamentarians should not have their pensions based just as the pensions of others.

    The basis of calculation of payment of pension payments should be applied across the board, a fair rule is applied the same way for all.

    As such, pensions are applied on the salary earned, which in this case now eccompasses all their emoluments.

    There is no reason to penalise one group.

    Your complaint is thus not their pensions per se, but their earnings.

    Reality is they earned their salary.

    If I speak from ignorance, you speak from illogical thinking, with no sound basis for objection to the basis of calculation of their salaries, other than you personally think that they earn too much.

    But, that is your issue, no one else’s. The Parliamentarians studied hard for their law degrees, medical degrees, engineering degrees etcc.

    Good for them

    You want quality, you pay for it. You want to pay peanuts, you will get monkeys.

    You, who represent a union, tell someone to not contribute???

    Don’t like alternate opinions / arguments, do you?

    THAT is interesting.


  10. ” I am left to wonder what next?”

    Lordy, you really dont know what going on, do you.

    What is next is that prices are going up, up and up. Internationally, partly driven by the cost of capital and partly by the oil price rises.

    Hence, the purchasing power of the Barbados salary, particularly as employers cannot give raises in failing industries, will go down.

    Very simple. Does not take much.

    Job losses, already rife, will increase. No jobs…no unions. Except NUPW of course, Government is a generous employer.

    Oh and I speak of what I know. What a number of us on these blogs including Straight Talk, Green Monkey and myself have been ‘contributing’ (you like that word), for years.


  11. By the way Franklin, ‘Crusoe
    I think that you just like making comments, without anything sensible to contribute”
    —————
    I am glad that you have made your position on education / healthcare and potential alternate industries clear per my suggestions, that you see nothing sensible in investing in either education or healthcare industries.

    Fortunately, yours is only one opinion and I am sure that others will see the potential for these, alternat industries, particularly with current industries here failing more as time goes on. The service industries are still our future and viable service industries will require educational excellence.


  12. Crusoe;
    With respect I have to agree with Caswell.

    You said ” I said plainly that there is no reason that Parliamentarians should not have their pensions based just as the pensions of others. “

    You are wrong! Caswell clearly showed that Parliamentary pensions are definitely NOT “based just as the pensions of others”. Read his submission again. It shows clearly that in almost every respect the pensions of parliamentarians are treated differently and with significant advantage to them, as compared with public servants.

    Caswell has given chapter and verse to support his case, which, as I read it, is not saying that parliamentarians salaries should be cut or that they don’t deserve their salaries, but that public servants should be treated more equitably in so far as pensions are concerned.

    I think he is just pointing out the contradictions.

    You said “The Parliamentarians studied hard for their law degrees, medical degrees, engineering degrees etc. Good for them
    You want quality, you pay for it. You want to pay peanuts, you will get monkeys”

    Have you considered that there are many other qualified people in Barbados working in the Public and Private sectors who have the same kinds of qualifications you quote above, indeed many of them are better qualified than the parliamentarians and they have no special facility to determine their own salaries and pensions.

    Why are you so sensitive to Caswell revelations? Sounds as if you might have intimate connections to parliamentarians.


  13. Mr. Crusoe
    I am sorry that I offended you. After what you have just written I realise that you really don’t understand, and I should be trying to enlighten you, not criticise your reasoning.

    I am not concerned about the salaries of MP’s. I feel that their pensions are out of proportion with those of other public servants.
    The formulas (formulae) for calculating the different categories of pensions are different, as a result MP’s receive significantly more for working a shorter period.
    What they are doing is like looting the Treasury. I hope that you might be able to see through your bias long enough to recognise that MP’s make laws to benefit themselves without any independent oversight. This is not a party political issue both parties behave similarly when it comes to feathering their nest.


  14. C.Franklin, (&checi-it-out)

    Okay. Life is too short for nonsense and we each do not know how much longer we have anyhow (Lol, I really cannot give a hoot about my own pension..honestly).

    So, apologies to you too.

    Now, I take your point on the years of service and difference in BASIS of calculation (as opposed to the inclusion of entertainment & travel where I was focused on).

    I know that civil servants work very hard. But, can we not say that Parliamentarians go above and beyond the call of duty to the country, that when they step through those doors, they earn some benefit for their toils, as representatives for the people, of the people?

    This can be taken two ways. First, that different than a civil servant, they can and will be called day, night all hours to attend to business. Those eight years will drain them like no other.

    Another consideration, is that if they are properly recompensed, they are *less* likely to be tempted to bribes etc.

    Maybe you disagree with one or both of these assertions. Maybe, they should be honoured to serve, full stop.

    But I personally think that yes, to ensure that the twenty , thirty or fifty persons, who have retired and served for a significant term, should be entitled to early retirement.

    That is my opinion, you probably disagree.

    But a thought.

    Have you seen what politics does to people? The rest of us have it hard enough, but their health gets ruined.

    No?


  15. Crusoe
    Let me help you remove the scales from your eyes.
    I agree that people who serve in stressful or dangerous jobs should be allowes to retire early. Attending Parliament for one day per week, and not every week, sitting on top of a Ministry and having public servants write your speeches and position papers is really stressful.
    What about policemen who have to chase down young fleet-footed criminals. They will be required to retire at age 67 years. Should they not benefit from early retirement.
    What about air traffic controllers who are responsible for plane loads of people?
    What about Court Marshals who have to go into dangerous areas unarmed to arrest defaulters?
    I could go on but I hope you get the message, politicians are not the only ones with stressful jobs.


  16. Crusoe;
    Let us distinguish between Parliamentarians and Ministers. Parliamentarians work in parliament for just 1 day per week but are usually on call 24/7 for their constituents. Is that stressful work in comparison to many other workers in the Public service? I’m not sure.

    Ministers are supposed to work on a fulltime basis. But as I’ve stated before, the real work of a Ministry is carried out by the Public Servants. Not the Ministers. The Ministers are only expected to determine the policy of a Ministry. As Caswell stated, their speecehes are written by speech writers. The Permanent Secretaries run the Ministries, not the Ministers. Their constituency work is delegated, by most, to their Assistants who are paid out of the Consolidated fund. Their work should be in no way stressful, nor arduous, in comparison to the Public Servants who are operating at senior levels. They determine their salaries and conditions of service unlike other Public Servants.

    You mention that their health gets ruined. How many Politicians suffer from work induced illnesses? I am certain there are not many. Was David Thompson’s illness work related? Most will say not. Was Mr. Lowe’s illness work related?

    You make an ostensibly good point re. correlating quantum of pay and susceptibility to bribes. But in practice I suspect that good pay does not equate to a person being immunized from taking bribes. That has to do with character, self respect, brought-upsy, etc. One of the problems here is that many Ministers, once they have tasted the good life that their Ministerial status brings, try to ensure by any means possible that they provide for themselves to be able to carry on that life style for the forseeable future. Unfortunately, they have the means to do so. They can legislate their own salaries and conditions of service and they are often in positions where they can earn significant extra curricular income.

    But there are some good Ministers who work beyond the call of duty to advance Barbados. Unfortunately, not all are like that.


  17. Ok Crusoe, Saswell ANthony and others. What about those of us in th eprivate sector who cannot collect our full NIS pension until we are 67. If we went to work at 18 as many of us did, it means that we have t put in 49 years of full time work before we can collect a pension.

    Under our curent rules my 21 yeear old son can be elected to Parliament at 21, serve for 8 years and collect a nice pension at 29; or if he was Prime Minister he can serve for one hour and collect a nice Prime Ministerial pension the same day I am told, and if he dies the next day and leaves an 18 year old widow she can collect a nice Prime Ministerial pension from age 18 to age 112, if she lives to be as long as our current oldest Barbadian, and she never in her life has to even work a day or pay a cent in taxes in Barbados.

    I know this example is extreme but under our current law it can happen and this can’t be right, when other good hardworking, tax paying Barbadians have to pay, and pay, and pay for nearly half a century before they can collect.

    Something ain’t right.


  18. We know very well (although like good Bajans we like to pretend) that most of our politicians who died early or got very sick early had their health ruined by

    1. rum
    2. outside sex
    3. lickerishness
    4. cigarettes

    The idea that they are getting sick and dying from hard work is a LIE.


  19. @Random Thoughts

    Which politician got sick or died early from “outside sex”? Did some jealous husband/wife catch them in the act and ensure of their early demise? Does that mean any politician who has “inside sex” is guaranteed a long life?

    Death is part of the human condition, it will come sooner or later


  20. Caswell / check-it-out / Random,

    I understand your comparison to the other jobs, to be fair. However, I also am of the opinion that you underestimate the stress in Government. I am not being uncharitable to you, just simply I think you happen to underestimate it.

    Check-it-out also puts forward the alternate view to the bribery issue which I too appreciate, that underlying self-respect and character determine trustworhiness, I have seen people with much still do anything in their power for more, not even politicians.

    However, it is a point that is accepted as a possible deterrent, to eliminate at least some of the potential for bribes.

    Random Thoughts, no in your example your son would have to wait until 50 for the pension.

    Remember too, that we must compare like with like. What do top Managing Directors get as salary, as pension packages?

    Mostly, as we have seen recently, these individuals walk away with generous packages unlike anything their employees get. Even after shorter years, that is a fact.

    While you might argue that one must compare public servants to Ministers, not Ministers to MD’s, I will ask why not the latter?

    Surely these Ministers operate at that level? Are they lesser for serving their country, even if only for for eight years?

    And one cannot say that they are less capable for sure, I have seen a few MD’s who are dolts, yet fare very well monetary wise.

    Lastly, I am sure that you know that worldwide there is an issue with the continuing pensions, due to ever ageing population trends.

    Barbados is not an exception, as you would know this is why our pension age has increased. I wont even go too deeply into ‘borrowing’ from the NIS, by Government, that has its own implications.

    It may even increase again, so maybe you will get your way, when everyone is asked to work longer, even MP’s.


  21. @Crusoe

    Where you argument can be challenged is the tenure of a CEO compared to the civil servant is usually shorter because of performance measures.


  22. Sargeant asked “Which politician got sick or died early from “outside sex”?”

    Out of respect for their children I won’t name names. But one was my classmate.

    Again Sargeant asked “Did some jealous husband/wife catch them in the act and ensure of their early demise? ”

    No a jealous wife did not catch them perhaps if she had she would still be alive today. HIV/AIDS caught him. And some years later she followed him to the grave. He was under 50 and she was barely 60.


  23. If we give ourselves inflated pensions now and if politicains feel that it is justified to retire/draw pensions at 50 why do we feel that our children and our children’s children will tolerate this nonsense Why do we fool ourselves that the coming generation won’t cut our pensions when we are 70, or 80 or 90 and at our weakest and most powerless

    We have seen politions end up in the almshouse already, why do we feel it won’t happen again. Today’s current politicians will ALL be powerless old men and old women in 30 short years.

    If in our greed we deplete both the public and private pension funds, then our children will cut our pensions, not so much because they are mean spirited, but it will be the only sensible acturial decision.

    WE FOOL OURSELVES IF WE BELIEVE THAT ANYBODY IN BARBADOS CAN AFFORD TO START DRAWING A PENSION AT 50, when the current life expectancy is about 75? Are we so foolish that we believe that we can pay pensions to large groups of people for 25 years or more?


  24. Random thoughts I am enjoying your commentary on the politicos.

    look how skinny many politicians look when get in the house, and look how fatted they look when they leave.

    It is a shame that many pensioners are having a very hard time making ends meet while politicians scooping ladles full of stew on their plates. I hope I am alive when to see the day Politicians pensions are cut. This is shameful for a country like Barbados with very little or no natural resources have people drawing pensions at the age of 50. A true sugarcane republic we are.


  25. @Random Thoughts

    From your subsequent posts I can’t determine whether you mean one or several politicians died from having “outside sex” but from the example cited the same could be true of the Banker,Nurse,Carpenter or Gas Station attendant etc. However, it is not a hill to die on so I’ll move on, BTW why did you change your moniker? 🙂


  26. I said in another post that Politicians always “get paid” thus if you give a group of people the authority to determine their own salary and benefits what do you think they will do?

    As k any politician if they think that such generous pensions are deserved after two terms in office and they will point to other jurisdictions like Canada where the same applies but the qualifying age is 55. In Barbados they’ve reduced that age down to 50 (nice work if you can get it). In Canada many people also bitch and complain but in the end the politicians they elect stick to the status quo.

    The gravy train continues to roll.


  27. @Sargeant

    Agree with your observation for sure.

    If the actuarial study some years ago recommended extending the qualification age why not too the members of parliament?


  28. This is off topic but has anyone heard that the Minister of Finance & Economic Affairs portfolio is to be taken from Sinckler and given to David Estwick?


  29. @ Gatekeeper

    No I haven’t heard of the rumour. Given the recent pm announcement there wasn’t going to be reshuffle can’t I put to much faith in the rumour. Though the pm can change his mind at any time.


    • If there is not going to be a reshuffle, yet again, a valid question for PM Stuart is why does he feel the need to field one of the largest cabinets in our history, and what about his light workload?


  30. ‘what about his light workload?

    Lol. Y’all really dont have a clue, do you. JMGM died in office, so too did EWB. Arthur started relatively young, so survived.

    You really think FS can handle any more pressure?

    Lol. THIS is what I mean. Think it is like running a corner shop, or candy factory or Broad Street shop?

    Except the MD’s of the last two probably earn more than the PM.

    And maybe the corner shop person too, depending where it is and how much tax he/ she DECIDES to pay.

    Lol


  31. Crusoe
    Why don’t you quit? You are making no sense. You stick to your position despite the evidence to the contrary. You are fast becoming boring. Stick to topics that you know something about!!!


  32. David

    Your question re the disparity of raising the age limit for ordinary citizens to receive pensions against the backdrop of the Parliamentarians maintaining their qualifying age of 50 is an excellent one. It would be fun to see what response you would get from any elected representative be they B or D. I believe that this is one issue where you would get consensus from both Parties.

    Don’t say that elected representatives from different parties don’t have unity of purpose


  33. Anthony;

    re. Crusoe’s post of 9:05 pm. Your posts seem to indicate that you are good at researching information related to parliament, etc.

    I am relying on a poor memory and impressions etched into that memory long ago. But it might be worthwhile to research the actual work loads as a function of the Ministries in their portfolios and the number of parliamentary secretaries or consultants in the PM’s office that worked to reduce the workloads of the 4 PM’s that Crusoe mentioned.

    My impression is that JMGM Tom Adams had a typical PM’s workload for a Caribbean PM and was assisted by relatively few Parliamentary Secretaries / Consultants. I dont recall how long he survived in the PM’s post before he died in Office. It is rumoured that he died under mysterious circumstances.

    EWB, Errol Barrow also had a typical PM’s workload. He took time to “recharge his batteries” when he lost power and returned as PM sometime later. He also had a typical PM’s workload and perhaps fewer assistants than JMGM. I also don’t recall how long he survived in the PM’s post before he died in Office. It is also rumoured that he died under mysterious circumstances.

    Owen Arthur is still with us. He was a workaholic and drove himself and his assistants up the wall with hard work. He had intimate knowledge of the workings of all the Ministries under him. He had more Parliamentary Secretaries / assistants than Tom Adams or Errol Barrow but fewer than David Thompson

    David Thompson, even before he got ill, had changed the way that PM’s operated in Barbados. I think he was Barbados’ first Executive PM. He surrounded himself with more Assistants than the previous PM’s. Made a point of not getting involved in the work of his Ministers and had time for significant extra curricular activity. he survived for a little less than 3 years in Office. Everyone eventually knew the cause of his death. It was not due to stress in the workplace

    Grateful if you could put some figures to the above as I may be totally wrong. I think that the premise that it was the hard work of the office of PM that sent the 3 deceased PM’s to their grave is totally fallacious and that one may need to look for another common thread in the lives of the three that might explain their “early” deaths. I don’t think it was the PM’s duties that did them in.

    A PM’s job is admittedly stressful but the job provides numerous creature comforts and perks and awesome powers that allow any sensible holder of the job to himself reduce that stress to a manageable level.

    I think Freundel Stuart is an eminently sensible man. If he does not take on the work load of a typical PM I am sure he has good health reasons for doing so which may or may not be related to the inherent stress of a PM position. The fact that it appears that he does not intend to take on the portfolios of a typical prime minister but chooses to remain with the depleted work load of a very sick David Thompson should speak volumes to those who are willing to listen.

    However, I think that Barbados deserves more effort from its PM at this time than that within the capacity of a terminally sick man as suggested by the significantly reduced portfolios carried by the last PM in his dying days.


  34. David;

    I also think that your point about the disparity between the age of retirement for Politicians and the rest of the population is a good one.

    I think that Prime Ministers and the other Ministers essentially deserve the salaries they provide for themselves through their legislative power. However, I’m not so sure about their pensions and provisions for discriminatory pensionable age. They should not be exempt from the strictures they place on the general population and, as you state, if an actuarial study, suggests that pension ages should be raised it should be raised without exception.

    Politicians of all stripes would probably justify the disparity on the basis of the importance of their jobs vis.a.vis all others; the short time span of a typical political career; the vagaries of the voters who regularly throw the politicians out of office; the need to maintain their standard of living when out of office; the “red herring” that many of them would have given up promising private sector careers to work on behalf of the people and cannot go back to those careers at the levels they should have reached; and because they have the power to make it happen.

    Of course, none of the above reasons would withstand serious scrutiny, but they are all that I can come up with that a politician would use. IMHO, politicians consider themselves, despite whatever they may say to the public, recognize that they have the power to make it so in terms of their salaries and provisions for themselves in pension rights etc. and they grasp the opportunity with both hands.

    Just like the passing of FOI legislation with teeth and no loopholes, don’t hold your breath re. the rationalization of pension ages between the general public and politicians anytime soon.


  35. David

    I have a lot of time for the DLP Gov’t and I still do, but I think that David Thompson could have sent a strong message from day one by having a smaller cabinet. The electorate would have said this man means business and we will put our shoulders to the grindstone and get things back on the right track. Now the size of the cabinet is 19 Ministers, why are Todd and Lashley Ministers in essentially the same Mimistry.? Couldn’t the Ministries of Hutson and Benn be consolidated? There are several other examples and the pundits can figure them out but I don’t know of any democratically elected Gov’t where the size of the cabinet is larger than the back benches, what we have is many chiefs and few Indians.

    David Thompson supported Ronald Jones in his effort to retain the Presidency of the Football Association, I would have given him an ultimatum …. Minister or Football but perhaps Thompson was hamstrung by “owing” Jones for his support during the former’s “Bassa Bassa” with Mascoll. If Jones has enough time to run the Football Association perhaps his work load is too light.

    Recently Freundel gave a speech at a Foundation community sponsored church service where according to the newspaper report he said treachery was not taught at his school, and he lauded L Harford for the many values he instilled in him, but the newspaper didn’t report, and my sources didn’t indicate that he said any thing about leadership.

    I think he missed a golden opportunity because the one attribute that Skeete instilled in his charges of that era is leadership. He always said that there are many followers but few leaders so from where I sit I am hoping that Freundel could show us examples of what he was taught at school.

    Job No 1 Freundel, reduce the size of that cabinet.

    It’s just too large


  36. @checkit-out

    So far in my research for info i have encountered very little online dealing with cabinets before the last 2 elections. What i can say it that david thompson seems to have taken on the most ministerial portfolio at the beginning of his tenure as pm but as such had parliamentary secretary to help deal with load.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.