Transparency By The National Insurance Board A Must In 2011

Tony Marshall, Chairman of the National Insurance Board

One issue which has resurfaced coming out of the recent miscommunication by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to pensioners is the unavailability of a recent NIS certified financial report. A check of the NIS Website shows the most recent financials posted as at 2007.  Governments over the years have always borrowed from the NIS fund but the current economic hardship has forced the government to lean on the fund in an unprecedented way; or so it seems.

The importance of the NIS to the stability of a Barbados society cannot be underscored enough. Why should Barbadians in 2011 not expect our government to implement necessary systems to ensure a timely certified financial statement of the NIS fund? Barbadians need, as a matter of urgency, to leverage the education provided to us. One way which we can do so is to hold our government and others who hold public office more accountable.  The fact that this government and others gone before continue to hoodwink Barbadians by dillydallying over the implementation of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation are two good examples.

Barbadians should note carefully the strategic goals of the NIS:

  1. To ensure timely processing of benefits
  2. To maximise compliance in terms of collection and achieve full compliance
  3. To maximise return on investment for the Fund
  4. To ensure efficient world-class customer service
  5. To establish a cadre of competent, efficient and highly motivated work force
  6. To improve internal and external communication at the Board

Item 6 is of special interest in light of the recent communications fiasco which has embarrassed the NIB, Minister Byer-Suckoo and by extension the government. More importantly the role of the NIS Board to realize item 3 is difficult for the public to measure because of the unavailability of current certified financials. The explanation offered by government spokesmen that in the low interest rate environment which is prevailing investments in public projects offer the best opportunity for better yields is a risky policy.

The  NIB is headed by retired banker Tony Marshall, head of management studies at UWI, Cave Hill Justin Robinson and others who are highly qualified to know what is required of managing Barbados’ most important fund. We need more transparency in how the NIS is being managed and if the public is to judge by the fiasco which reared its head last week, we should become very concerned.

0 thoughts on “Transparency By The National Insurance Board A Must In 2011

  1. @ David

    Is it me or has Dr. Avinesh Persaud AND fOUR sEASONS refused to tell the people of Barbados how much money is need to complete the project? We keep hearing how much more money is needed to restart the project, NOT A WORD ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY IT WILL TAKE TO COMPLETE IT.

    I suspect that if the Minister of Finance, the Cabinet or the line Minister, Dr. ester Byer Suckoo instructs the NIS to fund this project against their will and good judgement, then there will be political consequences.

  2. Hants |

    No … I say raise money and build a ship building yard and then start building medium sized cruise liners as opposed to hotels and villas. Cruise liners are after all the hotels of the present and future … And not for sale either, but for use by a socialist government for the betterment of ALL Barbadians … (But please ignore me, as advised …)

  3. Sonapanic;

    What political consequences what?

    We are a bunch of sheep. The DLP base will go along with anything that the DLP leadership does and good PR will take care of the rest, especially with a BLP that seems intent on committing political suicide.

    This matter aptly illustrates the poor state of the body politic in Barbados at this time.

    Where is the outrage? When one considers the NIS – Four Seasons situation in juxtaposition with the current revelations on the CLICO – JM debacle, on which this blog has said nothing, we are nearing rock bottom.

    • @checkit-out

      What are you talking about?

      In fact if you see a gap in BU commentary or there is something of note which you could capture in writing and submit why don’t you do that?

  4. The Dems political chickens have come home to roost. When in opposition, if they were really the government in waiting, ( I do believe now that they did not expect to win, bearing in mind their supporters are always on Brasstacks saying that they did not expect things to turn out the way they have or we did not not know things would get so bad, Maxine McClean comes to mind), had they supported the project and not played politics along with the BWU, this whole project may not have turned out the way it is now.

    Pity that Butch Steward is now saying that the place like it has a jinx. Should the NIS invest our contributions in Four Seasons, I say no, let the owners find a private source. The Head of the Bankers Association said last week that the banks here are awash with money as Bajans are not borrowing. I heard recently at a meeting that Dr Persaud is raking in thousands of dollars monthly as the consultant. But who are the movers and shakers behind this project, do we know?

    I fear that the taxpayers of this country are going to be on the hook for this project and the Coverley project as I do not see those houses being sold. Recently the Maloney man said 200 houses were sold, last week the Minister of Finance pull another number out of his hat and said 300 were sold. He then proceeded to insult Bajans by telling us that we grew in villages with palings touching one another and we now want houses on one acre of land. He really is annoying. I wonder how much land his house sits on!

  5. BAFBFP wrote “build a ship building yard and then start building medium sized cruise liners.”

    Right or wrong at least you are” thinking outside the box.”

    This 4 seasonings project should be privately financed. It is not a road or a bridge and Government money should not be used to finance a risky venture like this one.

    If it is viable let the rich invest in it. barbados has good infrastructure and a good work force.

    Sandy Lane Hotel and Sandy Lane Estate were financed with private money.

    • @Hants

      Government has placed great priority that this is a shovel ready project at a time when they need to create jobs quick. The viability of the project maybe of secondary concern.

  6. @Prodigal……..I agree with you 100% and the lies that are coming out about the houses at Coverley will one day explode with the truth. It is clear that the Minister of finance expects that Black people should remain in the Villages and not aspire to own more land. You see we have a standard for White people and one for Black people. We are damn fools if we elect this government again.

  7. Prodigal Son wrote “Pity that Butch Steward is now saying that the place like it has a jinx.”

    Butch Steward is a Hotel owner in Jamaica where they allow “Private Beaches.”


    In the 70s a plan for Club Med North was conceptualised to be located at Maycocks Bay but no private beach no Club Med.

  8. I had a chat with Mia Mottley at the stadium following one of her Lime promoted football matches.

    She reminded me that as the Attorney for the Four Season Project she is anxious to see it re started.

    She however indicated that if and when it re start it would be bad news for Owen…as he knows the potential a restarted Four Seasons can potentially do for the economy particularly in the 1st quarter of 2012/2013.

    I found that very enlightening .

  9. @ Prodigal Son

    Don’t mind Maloney and Sinckler about Coverley. Them ovens ain’t selling and them (all two both) vex bajans ain’t lining up like chickens.

    The facts are that the lots (land) at the Villages at Coverley are still owned by the NHC. A curious bajan only next pay a visit to the land registry and or the land tax department for the scoop on the sales, or lack there of.

    I am informed by reliable and unbiased lawyers in Barbados that a check with the land registry will reveal only twenty one (21) conveyances registered for the Villages at Coverely.

    If Mr. Maloney is right, then I would be interested to know why only 21 conveyances are registered at the end of October, 2011 and don’t tell me NO NONSENSE about you got sales pending conveyance completion, that dog aint hunting.


  10. @ Fractured BLP Party

    With the greatest of respect, Mia is hardly impartial in the matter, she stands to make money in FEES plus any opportunity to knock OSA will not be missed.

  11. The question for those with a vested interest (financial and political) is whether they can contain the true facts until after the next election. I suspect NOT, the truth (especially in little Barbados) is like smoke, you can’t hide it.

    ” Generally when there’s a lot of smoke… there’s just a whole lot more smoke” – George Foreman

  12. @ Man

    When the project is complete (whatever that means) and the NHC takes over the responsibility for the unsold houses (going to be nuff of them) and providing you know a politician or two, you might just get one at that price. LOL.

  13. Log In Register Now! Today’s Front Page Live Events Place An Ad Isle I Do ePublications @titude Magazine

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 Home News Commentary Lifestyle Business Sports Community Blogs Classifieds – Advertisement – Business Authority: A bank reveals how many homes it has foreclosed on12:06 PM
    Breaking NewsBusiness Authority: A bank reveals how many homes it has foreclosed on12:06 PM

    Coverley houses soon ready
    print share 6 comments Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley (third left) listening to a point made by Sergeant David Springer.
    Sun, July 11, 2010 – 12:00 AM
    THREE HUNDRED HOUSES at Coverley, Christ Church, will be made available to Barbadians by year-end.

    And 70 of those are to be handed over to prospective homeowners on July 24.

    Yesterday Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley, officials of the National Housing Corporation and project developers, were at Coverley, at a section of the development called Tamarind Loop, where they fine-tuned plans for the July 24 handing-over ceremony.

    It was revealed that some fortunate householder from the initial 300-houses phase would have the opportunity to win a car which is already parked in the garage of one of the completed houses.

    Developers are utilising a building system that allows for the houses to be constructed in a factory and transported to the site for erection.

    The private/public sector project of 1 026 homes is divided into 17 villa neighbourhoods with a combination of two-house styles in each area. Tamarind Loop villas is the first completed village comprising 47 three-bedroom and 23 two-bedroom homes. Each house sits on approximately 2 500 square feet of land.

    The project also includes a state-of-the-art sewage reclamation facility, which once commissioned, will treat up to 450 000 gallons of sewage from homes and commercial buildings daily.

    The housing project will also include a town centre – Coverley Square – that will feature retail, recreational, medical and day care facilities.

    The expected completion date for the entire project is 2014

    • Maloney the head of the firm building the Coverley houses stated on national radio 200 houses out of the 400 were sold with 700 more to go. Bear in mind a similar project is planned for Bushy Park.

  14. 15 months after the bove article appeared in the Nation News, what is the status of the project? The number of conveyances registered and the number of houses occupied don’t support what was being alleged at the time.

  15. Maybe Coverly can become a retirement community for the likes of Hants who has been living in a Townhouse in Canada for the last 15 years.

    Sonapanic I can turn the oven into a fridge.

  16. What is very clear here is that political operatives are going to any extreme to justify the Four seasons project. The facts are that Stanford is no longer around to support it. The Indian man came from over and away with all his financial guruism and the first thing he wants to do is to spend the NIS money. The project hardly had bajans employed at it; the majority of its employees were Korean or Chinese. So where shall this employment for bajans come from. The indian man shall do like the ones at the oval import indian labor.

  17. To Sonapanic:
    The investors in Stanford’s bank thinking of sending people here to investigate whether it was feasible to go after the project, but it is fraught with so many ills that they seem to have decided not to. When Stanford was arrested the project stalled.

  18. Fractured BLP Party said-
    I had a chat with Mia Mottley at the stadium following one of her Lime promoted football matches.
    She reminded me that as the Attorney for the Four Season Project she is anxious to see it re started.
    What adds more than pestle in the mortar is Owen Arthur in today’s paper proclaims he supports Four Seasons he does a bit of political gymnastics but at the end the day the short man in Sinckler corner in making Four Seasons a reality. The two BLP yardfowls posting under different handles day in day out in a quandry.

  19. @david

    what does your sources say happening with the coverly project? I heard it was from as low as 20k to as high-30K pound a month he (persaud) getting plus allowances.

  20. @Prodigal Son

    maybe we should let the minister live in their housing project for 6 months to year and then we see what they would send to be built.

  21. “David | November 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM | @Hants …Government has placed great priority that this is a shovel ready project at a time when they need to create jobs quick. The viability of the project maybe of secondary concern.”

    I am not sure if David or Hants made this statement, but if the viability of the project is not too important, why put money into it to employ Chinese or Indian labour? Why not write cheques to Bajan workmen to NOT come to work. If the project is a dead dog I am sure that a good number of Bajan workmen would be happy to stay home and hug up their girlfriends rather that spend time in the hot sun labouring over a shovel just so the government can say we have created jobs. No point putting manpower into a non-viable project

  22. “The architects worked with feng shui master Patrick Wong to situate the various pavilions, as well as the landscaping, which includes water features such as a 79-foot infinity pool and five ponds stocked with various marine life, including koi and sharks”

    It is a pity the developers didn’t work some feng shui more on the project. And what is a feng shui master anyhow. It that just a Chinese name for a good old fashioned obeah man. And if an obeah man was required for the project at Freshwater Bay/Paradise beach you mean to tell me that the developers had to go to China to find one? when we have so many Bajan obeah men and obeah women out of work.

  23. And who is taking care of the sharks now that the project has stalled. I hope that nobody had released them into Freshwater Bay?

  24. Feng shui what, the developers levelled the trees on the site and then benched the land, in other words, carved out a wedge of rock to make the terraced effect, that my friend is not Feng Shui. Thats called greedy property development.

    In an attempt or in preparation to restart the project, the management

  25. Are these the same folks who built a solid bridge (a dam) across a watercourse at Westmoreland? and when Barbados has 8 inches of rain in 8 hours as happens every 40 years or so and the dam uptured and sent hundreds of millions of water at high speed into the village of Weston, which water washed the house of the calypsonian and the calypsonian the Great Carew himself into the sea where he drowned; and washed a boulder as big as an 18 x 10 foot chattle house down into the village of Weston and destroyed the homes of many householders and caused the Barbados taxpayers millions of dollars to resite dozens of people.

    And we should trust them with our NIS money.

    I have one question.


    • Several tree were to be planted on the Paradise property and others were cut down. What is the status of this project?


      Just that the project is experiencing financial problems.

  26. @ anthony


  27. I wonder if the marshall- a man of high principles and integrity and of independent means- will be refusing to sit in the chair when the decision to invest in the 4 Seasons project is handed down from on high.
    We are waiting with baited breath to see who wins. The marshall or the naughty consultancy boy?

  28. by paradise property you mean 4S david ? It currently rusting away. they will be quiet of bit of remedial work need to be done when the project start back from plumbing to electrical to structural to some finishes.

    on coverly

    Well we see the trucks taking the precast piece everyday. Think they near 600-700 almost completed or finished. I they launch their own mortgage company few month back wonder how that doing. I wonder if bank when they do their property valuation ( they suppose to ) for mortgage they think they are over valued and either tack on addition points to cover any possible future foreclosure or deny them?

  29. prodigal son, your comment”had they supported the project and not played politics alog with the bwu, the project might not have turned out that way” very apt and perceptive comments prodigal for that is indeed what it is that scared the foreign investors away. the dlp operatives aided and abetted by mosderators the marsha and to a lesser extent hickory dickory dock ellis bombarded the airwaves day after day with negative and sometimes acrimonious comment against foreign investment and the four seasons project; but i would lay the blame mostly at the foot of the bwu who was seeking publicity to make up for battles lost in recent times..

  30. I wonder why we can’t use $100 million or so of NIS funds to build a new hospital and another $100 million to build a new public library, and yet we are thinking of putting $50 million or so of the people’s National INsurance money into this failed project?

    When the project principals are sick thay have access to the best hospitals in Europe and thier children have access to the best libraries in North America and Europe. And our children????????????????????

    The NIS funds belong to us and to our children yet we can’t touch a cent for for the good of our health or the good of our children’s intellect, yet we are about to let sweet talking strangers spend our children’s money building second or third houses for strangers.

    We must ask ourselves one hard question, how come these strangers can’t manage to borrow money in the capital markets of North America and Europe? And if the capitalists won’t lend them money why do we plan to lend than money from our social insurance fund?

  31. Random Thoughts | November 20, 2011 at 6:19 AM | Are these folks bull shitting us?

    No. We are doing it to ourselves – always have – hopefully not always will.

  32. In the end the NIS will do what Sinckler wants!

    The money will be put into this bottomless pit!

    There is no such thing as transparency in Barbados.

    The professor will become richer, Sinckler and the other politicians will get their pieces of the action under the table and the NIS leaders will get a few crumbs for joining the band!!

    So who will be the losers…..the PEOPLE…..they’re always the loser!

    ….and the Government will put on quite a show, everyone will look like a winner…..just borrow a few more millions to coverup….if Greece, Italy, Spain, the USA and others can do it…..why not Barbados!

    We will all be owned by the Chinese anyway… the way where is the PM….in China again!!!

  33. Quoting TooManyLawyers “Sinckler and the other politicians will get their pieces”

    Will these pieces be 40 pieces of silver juist like the ones Judas Iscariot got for betraying Jesus?

    Here endeth the sermon for the day (since it is Sunday)

  34. It the NIS backs this project I hope Bajans will come out in their numbers and march against this. For goodness sake let us all get up off our backsides and MARCH !

  35. • CLICO


  36. Pingback: Do Not Touch Our Blasted NIS Money! |

  37. Miller; Thanks for putting it all together.

  38. Miller if you and others can clearly see the writing on the wall means that there are many many blind people governing this country.

    The DLP is on a Political suicide binge. It is clear they haven’t a clue about financial restraint. Ok let us look at If they back the 4 seasons project, when the work is done the workers will be out of work, the villas will be empty with no one standing in line to buy them. There goes our NIS money down the drain. What then? Look around and see how many luxury villas and town houses are vacant and waiting on rich people to buy them. We are really living in a fool’s paradise as well as a pimper’s paradise. The government has put Barbados up for pimping and you know what? There are no takers!

  39. @millertheanunnaki

    You forgot the 110 million loan to the bta, tranport board, UWI . Where uwi & bta budget each is 100+ million

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