Prove That NIS Is Sound Before Investing In Four Seasons

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Government was advised, by an actuary, to take steps to protect the National Insurance Fund because they had calculated that the NIS Fund would be in trouble by 2035 if pensions were continued to be paid at the then existing rate. They reasoned that Barbados was an aging society, and with current life expectancy and a declining birth rate that there would be too few persons contributing and too many persons receiving pensions for the scheme to remain viable. The Government had several options to ensure the fund’s viability, and this is what they have done so far:

  1. Increase the pension age with the hope that more people would die before attaining pension age;
  2. Increase contributions;
  3. Change the formula for calculating the pension, resulting in a much smaller pension; and
  4. Give people the opportunity to receive a reduced pension if they applied early, and an enhanced one if they deferred applying for their pension. They guessed that there would be a neutral effect on the fund because the people who opted for early pensions would somehow be offset by the numbers who deferred. Unfortunately, hundreds opted for early pensions and less that 10 deferred as yet according to my information.

The corrective measures clearly show that the NIS Fund is under stress. It is inconceivable that the fund is as healthy as the Minister of Finance is telling the country. For the sake of argument let us assume that the Government is correct in their assertion that the NIS Fund is healthy. Then they must also explain why they thought it necessary to sell off the NIS shares in the Barbados Light & Power Company which were paying handsome dividend yearly, and projected to do so for the foreseeable future. If they needed cash so badly that it forced them to sell off assets, how can they justify the gamble of putting $50 million in the Four Seasons apparent white elephant.

In whose interest is the NIS Fund being managed? Everything that the Government has done to date to protect the fund has proven to be detrimental to the individual interest of persons who contribute to the fund. On the other hand people like the Canadian company Emera, CLICO and now Four Seasons are reaping the sweets of the labour of Barbadian workers.

The Minister maintains that the fund is healthy, and I sincerely hope so, but how can he make this assertion without the benefit of audited financial statements for a number of years. Where did he base that conclusion?

The National Insurance Office is in a very poor state in terms of the management of the fund. I challenge them to deny, with proof, that the NIS fund is so poorly managed that they were unable to detect an ongoing embezzlement for years which resulted in the loss of millions. The only became aware of the embezzlement when a commercial bank brought it to their attention.

Some Years ago, I was representing a lady who NIS accused of receiving a benefit in duplicate, which she denied. I well remember, at the meeting to resolve the matter, I identified, by job functions, the persons that were embezzling NIS money. Rather than deal with the matter, I was threatened with a lawsuit for defamation. Years later and millions of dollars later, I was proven correct by the arrest and confiscation of assets of one very junior employee from the area that I had identified years earlier. So don’t tell me that the fund is sound; you just don’t know, you might be counting money that had already been embezzled.

147 thoughts on “Prove That NIS Is Sound Before Investing In Four Seasons

  1. I agree with you. The board should always act in what they view as the best interests of the fund and its beneficiaries. Thats why i think they sold the BL&P shares and I await their verdict on four seasons.

    Of course reasonable people can disagree on what is in the best interest of the fund.

  2. What a breathe of Fresh air ! Good responses from Trained Economist!Miller you have been outwitted on this one, I will continue to watch from the gallery binoculars in hand

  3. WHY is it that Bjans are not out protesting these things everynight , everyday, on soap boxes, everywhere ???

    Soft cowardly bajans ???

    When will it happen ??
    Never you say ??
    Do I say Shame on spineless, gutless , ball less Bajans ??
    Jerkers ??


  4. @ ac | November 22, 2011 at 10:44 PM |
    Continue to star gaze. But you should note I don’t look back and seek to blame the past administration for almost everything under the sun and use it as an excuse for current inaction or poor decision making. I deal with the present and the future; but of course learning from the past but not dwelling therein.

  5. @ David

    Does the proposal from Mark Maloney for the Empire Theatre include:-

    1. A Microbrewery?
    2. Slot Machines?
    3. Movie Theatre?

  6. The artistes of Barbados have not been forced to demonstrate yet but for the Empire site to be used for the purpose you suggest may trigger a response from them.

    Where can we read the proposal?

  7. the Accusation of alleged Embezzlement is cause for concern in any organization.There will be some difficulty to identify and quantity this hence the promotion of the former Director to another organization maybe maybe a good tactic, if it is followed by an investigation by an accounting firm We will have to watch carefully.

  8. @ David

    I don’t gather the artist are minded to demonstrate. Agitate yes, but not demonstrate.

    God help Barbados the day that beer and slot machines are put in the Empire Theatre to justify its restoration and God help the political party in power at the time when such decision is taken.

  9. Is it just me or the young people are sounding wiser than the old people?

    In the face of a crippling global recession Owen and Frendel are saying that Barbados can [retty much maintain all that it used to offer in much the same way. Owen suggests that he can find new growth streams to fiance the status quo. Freundel just says the status quo remains.

    Sinckler is prepared to do some tough things, while Mottley seems to have some clear dieas about reforming the nature of public services. It seems to me that its a pity neither is party leader.

  10. @ Old School

    In the collective-responsibility style of Cabinet government (or politics) its a bit disingenuious for you to attribute the tough choices to Minister Sinckler.

    That not withstanding, what else besides taking so-called tough choices, has Minister Sinckler done to be leader of the DLP administration and by extension, Prime Minister?

    Barbados is in turbulent waters, this is not the time to experiment with youth and exuberance especially when one of them have plumbed the debt of the water and demonstrated an inablity to swim much less captain a ship.

  11. The social gains made by this Country can be wiped out if we are not careful. The middle class, having pulled themselves out of poverty by the boot straps of education risk being sent back to the starting point.

  12. @ Antz | November 23, 2011 at 9:00 PM |
    “The middle class, having pulled themselves out of poverty by the boot straps of education risk being sent back to the starting point.”

    The existence of a viable but dependent “middle” class in a small but fairly well off developing country is a creation of the State. Its nanny type protection and cuddling of this social buffer would always come under threat once the “freeness” social regime is seriously compromised by a major fiscal imbalance sustained over a period of time.

    This is one pseudo structure that will “Cave” in under the weight of bureaucratic and academic overload from on top of the Hill! Free Hill will not be a pit stop to the working poor house of refuge at Black Rock.

  13. Yesteryear, all our worries seemed so far away||Now today we have to pay||I believe in yesteryear

    Suddenly, life is getting hard for me||Will I survive this day||How I yearn for yesteryear

    We did something wrong for too long||And we did not care||Lets examine yesteryear

    So much time has passed||Now I fear||We can’t go back to yesteryear

  14. Captain, the ship is sinking
    Captain, the seas are rough
    Shall we abandon ship?
    Or shall we stay on it
    And perish slow?
    We don’t know, we don’t know.
    Captain, you tell we what to do.

  15. @ Self Test | November 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM |

    How can the ship be sinking when the ship’s bursar who is, in the eyes of the media, always at the helm steering the stable ship carefully to the IMF port despite warnings from the moody forecasters known for poor standards of very bad weather of cyclonic proportions lies along the current shipping lane mapped by the deck hand pretending to be captain?

  16. Sinckler:
    “What S&P is saying is that Barbados needs to stick to its fiscal programme. They’ve not said that the programme is wrong, they say we need to stick to the programme through the next year, ensure that you bring the deficit down, and take whatever additional measures may be required to ensure that you buttress and enforce that fiscal deficit consolidation.”

    Standard & Poors:
    “The downgrade reflects the continuing weakening of the government’s fiscal profile,” S&P said. “In addition, there is an increasing risk that delays in the fiscal consolidation might lead to debt surpassing currently projected peak (61 percent of gross domestic product on a net general government level and 102 percent on a gross central government level) in 2012,” the firm added.

    In sync?

  17. @ enuff

    When you said “in sync” did you really men “in sink”?

    When will the garden gnome at the Central Bank make an appearance and refute S&P?

  18. staying the course not going to be easy because gail force winds ahead which is gonna effect everybody pocket books. S&P has in effect sent the warning! Now Minster Sinkler has to do whatever it takes to avoid further devastation.


    Selective hearing is your damnation, or ignorance of the highest degree. Sinkler has made it clear, they will strnegthen the safety nets, they will not lay off civil servants, , they ar enot curtting social entitltements, a changed tune from March this year. Arthur has said entitlements if required to be cut hsould be odne ina particular way to preserve the interests of vulnerable and make it possible for the middle to carry their costs. What tough thing you say Sinkler talking bout. Stupse.

    I would suggest if you have info on embezzlement, you need to speak. Accusations with no evidence is nothing more than Thompson did to BLP – corruption, corruption, blowing smoke because he offered no evidence out of office; in office brought no evidence, in coffin as vocal on it as when alive.

    • Bajan Truth

      You told “Old School” that selective hearing is his/her damnation, but it seems that selective understanding is yours. Read my post again. You will see that I said that NIS only became aware of the embezzlement when it was drawn to their attention by a commercial bank. Also, if you read further, you will see that someone was arrested and charged for the offence. I am not blowing smoke but I must ask: what are you smoking?

  20. SElf Test has a point what are these ministers eating. Tourism has blown out; when Health sits down the table has to moved to contain his over size trough; Todd’s bush jacket size has changed upwards and a belly is evident. Sinkler only look small the other day in a picture with Terry Bascombe. Only Freundel is keeping trim. People we need a calypso on what are our ministers eating.

  21. ac you continue to show a lack of understanding in these important economic issues threatening the livelihood of the people of barbados. keep out of the conversation less you embarrass yourself.

  22. it is unfortunate that i cannot put my confidence in the economic pronouncements of mr robinson because of his too close association with the ruling party which he tries to defend even when his comments compromises his integrity

  23. unrest in our biggest market.

    Mass strikes began across the United Kingdom on Wednesday, with up to 2 million workers walking off jobs in schools, hospitals and police stations in protest over proposed pension reforms.

  24. balance | November 30, 2011 at 9:26 PM |

    ac you continue to show a lack of understanding in these important economic issues threatening the livelihood of the people of barbados. keep out of the conversation less you embarrass yourself.

    Balance yuh got muh ROFLMAO

    AC … still in de gallery wid yuh binoculars? Dere is a muzzle pon the bench wid yuh name pon um next tah yuh …please try it on for size. LOLLLLL

  25. Quoting Self Test | November 24, 2011 at 1:58 PM |
    “How many tubs of ice cream a night are these ministers eating?”

    Hopefully enough that we won’t have to pay them any pension out of the little money NIS will have left.

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