Concern About the National Insurance Scheme
Submitted by Anthony Davis
The National Insurance Scheme is backlogged with sickness benefit claims. Barbados Today has learned that the backlog is resulting in scores of individuals waiting to receive their sickness benefit payments, some as far back as November. And while it is not clear how much longer those persons will have to wait, it is at this time uncertain if unemployment benefits will also be affected by this wait. – NIS PILE UP BACKLOG OF SICKNESS BENEFITS CLAIMS CAUSED BY ‘TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES’ on the back page of “Barbados Today” dated 03 January
My, my, my! Now we have gremlins running about the NIS Department. I wonder how come. I hope that it is not contagious. Can it get any worse?
We have to keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t spread to other departments. Are there really “technical difficulties” being experienced by the department, or they of a pillaging kind? Why did Mrs. Hunt have to pass the buck to the marketing and research department? I would not have thought that such problems would come under the jurisdiction of that department. Is there no specific IT Department? Was she too busy, or was she afraid that Mr. Maddens questions could be too difficult to answer, and therefore evoke one that could be embarrassing to the Government? Was there a directive not to talk to the press on this issue because the Minister of Finance does not have an answer yet? Could it be that the answer is a million-dollar one?
If the difficulties are really “technical”, why have they not been solved up to now as they go as far back as November – almost three months ago? I find it difficult to comprehend that an IT team is taking so long to find and solve the problem. Please do not tell me that the NIS does not have its own IT team, and has to bring in one where necessary. That would be worse still. I surmise that the “technical difficulties” are really pillaging ones, as the Minister of Finance has dipped into the funds as if they were his own piggy bank.
I have heard that the funds will run out in 2018, but it is unbelievable that difficulties are already being experienced with them! Even staffing may be a problem, Mr. Lowe, unless you are au fait with who is being fired by Government? What should those who will be unemployed do when they go home? Shall they really live by “faith” alone during this economic crisis? Will Government set up a food bank where they can get their goods and other supplies free? They would still have to pay their rent, mortgage, and electricity, gas, and water bills. How about clothing for their scions, and themselves? This has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous!
My mind boggles as to why you have not received the report yet – almost three months after the problem started – and whether it is so important to have before you. If it is really a technical glitch, why, in this age of computers, is it taking so long to be found and solved? Does this not show incompetency on your part and that of your department if it is really responsible for technical matters? Why has the actuarial review not been done since 2008? That is being lackadaisical to say the least. Is there subterfuge in play as with many other Government problems? I think that the Minister of Finance owes the population – and especially the tax payers – an explanation on this one.
This will not get better, but fester if nothing is said and done about it. It is high time to tell the truth to this country. It deserves it.