Concern About the National Insurance Scheme

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of National Insurance Board

Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of National Insurance Board

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.

41 thoughts on “Concern About the National Insurance Scheme

  1. How long has it mean since Chairman Robinson promised us right here on BU that NIS audits would be commissioned and clean financials presented for public viewing? In the absence of clean financials the government has sucked NIS funds based on what?

  2. Is there a recourse to the Courts of Justice?Can the Leader of the Opposition say if this is possible?Why have we not got protection of our hard earned funds from 1967,protection from rotten politicians.There has to be recourse for the pensioner when this type of situation arises..




    • One would really believe that if there is one issue which should raise the blood of the average Barbadians is the mucking around of the NIS Fund by greedy politicians who are clueless about how to manage the economy of Barbados.

  4. Just when you begin to think that things cannot get any worse, in this god (and the Devil) forsaken country, someone comes along and start fiddling with the sink plug that keeps this island afloat in the sea of #2 .
    Is NIS about to travel the same highway as CCCB, Trade Confirmers, Redjet and CLICO?
    Are we Barbadians are just going to sit back, like the Jews going to the NAZI gas chambers , and utter narry a word?
    Pretty soon we will be seeking refugee status in Haiti.

  5. @ GP

    why don’t you cool it nuh?! You serious?
    How the hell could you expect to just drop this on the men so…?
    With all the gloom and doom facing us (or so most of us think) now, do you seriously think that Bajan bowls are able to even contemplate what you are talking about?

    The sudden and complete destruction of both the spiritual and commercial heads Babylon is too distressing to be even contemplated….and these are clearly imminent.

    Try and let the people enjoy what little time we have left nuh…even in spite of Stuart and Sinckler..and their relatively minor issues….

  6. Doom and gloom and…

    Canada’s budget surplus could exceed forecast, Flaherty says.

    In an interview with CTV’s Question Period Sunday, Canada’s MOF Jim Flaherty’s assessment of the budget surplus fell in line with an estimate from the parliamentary budget office a month ago that the government could achieve a SURPLUS of $4.6 Billion by 2015.

  7. So Bajans in Canada should be able to continue sending home $CAN.

    Help from the Diaspora is needed even though wunna does cuss overseas Bajans and returning Nationals who contribute half a Billion bds per year.

  8. When the vast majority of numbers going onto the relevant NIS books are provided on the basis of criminal evil TAXATION, and when the amount in TAXATION going to the government has been thankfully less in recent times, it will become absolutely clear then why, thankfully, the expected insufficiency of numbers will show up in the relevant NIS books (our sympathies nevertheless go out to those people who become victims of this despicable NIS system) when the political economy and services industry sectors of Barbados have entered into their seventh successive straight year of political depression.

    When the monies (and we are only dealing here with actual monies no silly computer numbers being juxtaposed with monies) that are taken in (however they are) under the aegis of the NIS, are going to be generally merely recorded or referred to as received in the relevant NIS books, and instead are going to be constantly cycled and recycled back into the wider money circulation processes in the country, via their being taken to the Central Bank of Barbados and by extension money banks, and then re- released back into the money circulation system eventually (minus the ones thought by the said Central Bank to be unsuitable for circulation purposes), it will mean then that are really NO NIS Funds with money in them but NIS Funds made up of mere NUMBERS.

    When the NIS has to give out CHEQUES to pensioners, qualified unemployed, sick, disabled people and maternity women, and even some business people WHO DO NO business with the NIS but with other areas of government, it will mean then that the entire, backward government HARDLY has income or payments, or the mean thereto – to cover the monies due to these increasing numbers of people on the so-called NIS’s benefits list money list, and instead will improperly unfairly have to rely almost 100 per cent on the money bank, credit union systems and even the cash tills of many private businesses accepting NIS, to make sure it honours its words and social financial obligations to these various people.

    When there are entire reductions in the amounts of actual monies taken into money banks, credit unions, and finance houses by money depositors and by personnel of security firms contracted to take money from the Central Bank of Barbados to these financial institutions, it will mean then that there will be less money to be doled out by the relevant financial institutions on the NIS’s behalf than at any time when money is circulating at a greater rate in the country.

    Surely, these are some totally unacceptable, crude, deficient, and reckless ways upon which many aspects of a financial system are run and operated in this day and in this age in this country and no doubt there will eventually be significant corrections and implosions in many aspects of this system once these stupid and backward DLP and BLP factions continue to grossly mismanage many of the affairs of this country.

    Remove the damned DLP and the blasted BLP now.


  9. There are no gremlins in the SYSTEM, it’s strictly a matter of NO FUNDS. NIS is BROKE thanks to government incompetence. NIS is sitting on lots of Government JUNK paper, unfortunately the JUNK paper will not pay the bills. The question everyone should be asking is what next will nou be funded by NIS, pensions, unemployment etc.

    Riches to Rags.

  10. What ever became of the loud mothed ‘long stopper for the DLP’,the big mouth KHL Tony “Bowels”Marshall.He was made a senator and nary a word from this knowall called ‘de count’by former work colleagues but pronounced minus the ‘o’.This is the man who knows more about the NIS than he is willing to share with the public,because he is sworn by the GG to shut to shaving cream up,and not say a word on the accounts of the NIS.Bajans get sell out a’gen by one of their own,big mouth ‘Bowels’ Marshall.

  11. @ Wily Coyote | 06/01/2014 at 8:49 am |

    The future integrity of the NIS is at serious risks and one can only conclude that Bajan workers looking forward to a pension are going to be sadly disappointed in just a few years time.

    Such a fear can only be allayed and the probability of the funds collapsing be gainsaid through the presentation of up-to-date financial information about the various funds that make up the Scheme.

    We are most disappointed in Justin Robinson. He has been an abject failure. We believe two years are really too excessive a timeframe to complete the preparation of financials for, say, up to the financial year 2011-2012.

    Dr Booby Robin(son), you have been a total let down and an intellectual fake given your pseudo training and academic exposure in the field of Management.
    We are prepared to question your credentials. Are you a political pimp or a professional operator? Where are the financials you have been promising us here on BU for the last 2 years?

  12. RE Bush Tea | 05/01/2014 at 11:15 pm |
    @ GP
    why don’t you cool it nuh?! You serious?
    How the hell could you expect to just drop this on the men so…?


    • Good to hear the minister of finance saying that audited financial statements for NIS. Have been brought up to date and awaiting approval from the accountant general.

  13. @ David | 06/01/2014 at 3:48 pm |

    Come on Dave, the man is a bullshitter par excellence. The man only mentioned the finalization of NIS financials after reading BU.
    Didn’t Marshall and Robinson promised the same thing? Let us see the NIS publish “draft interim” financial statements on the website and we will be impressed.

  14. @ David, Re your 4:10 pm post, why should we take minister Sinckler at his word?
    Why this press conference is being held before the COB issues the 2013 final quarter report defies logic.

  15. LOL hot lashes for me. I have to remind the BU family that when Tony became Chair the last set of financials laid parliament was for 2001, so around ten years were outstanding. I have continued the work started by Tony and we have had progress in clearing the backlog. Auditing stuff from so far back takes an unbelievable amount of effort.

  16. @ Justin Robinson | 06/01/2014 at 4:28 pm |
    “I have to remind the BU family that when Tony became Chair the last set of financials laid parliament was for 2001, so around ten years were outstanding.”

    So why are you still employing those incompetent accountants at the NIS?
    Why are you burdening the contributors to the scheme with the extra costs of engaging the services of third party accountants while keeping on the payroll people who can’t differentiate between a debit elbow from the their credit arse?

  17. David;
    You said above “The GoCBB’s report should not be affected by the MoF’s rant conference.”

    But you might agree that the MoF’s conference, to be totally transparent, and fully descriptive of the economy in which the Minister’s measures are taken, should have been informed by the GoCBB’s report on the Economy.

  18. @AWTY, Given minister Sinckler and Dr. DeLisle Worrell’s ability to put a positive spin on the performance Barbados economy every time they make a speech, I would want the data in the COB 2013 last quarter report to formulate my questions if I was a journalist.

  19. David;
    Did you get it right about the Minister’s statement on the auditing of the NIS financials? You said “Good to hear the minister of finance saying that audited financial statements for NIS. Have been brought up to date and awaiting approval from the accountant general.”

    Justin Robinson said “I have continued the work started by Tony and we have had progress in clearing the backlog. Auditing stuff from so far back takes an unbelievable amount of effort.”

    There seems to be a difference in the two statements that one might possibly be able to drive a truck through.

  20. Bajan in NY;
    I wonder if the MoF will have another Press Conference after the GOCBB has his.

    David; I only heard the latter part of the Press conference in which the MoF appeared to be defending his record stoutly and indeed holding his own. Grateful for your (or other members of the BU family) impressions on the statement itself and the Q&A session.

  21. @ are-we-there-yet? | 06/01/2014 at 4:43 pm |

    It is this type of contradictory obfuscation that that peeves people.
    The MoF is a most shady unreliable character with a lying track record to prove so, going as far back as the Four Seasons restart promises from 2010.

    I would much prefer to listen to, albeit disappointed, Justin Robinson on the true financial state of affairs of the Scheme.
    Why would the Auditor General hold up audited accounts stretching back to 2001 according to Justin’s confirmation? Why not release those from say 2002 to 2010 to at least give some show of confidence in the NIS operations?



  23. No comments on Owen Arthur calling Mia’s profound idea for an eminent persons group “a gimmick.”?
    See thru is not going to disappear until Mia disappears from the humiliation he heaps on her. She was quite unconvincing in her reply to Sinckler’s rounded and solid press conference. The Finance Minister acquitted himself well.

  24. It’s sad that the DLP came to office using the slogan ” We will not lie, cheat or steal” seeking to save the country from a tired BLP with VECO and 3S rumors of feasance of non, mis and mal. It’s impossible for the citizenry not to feel betrayed other than political yardfowls of any ruling party. When the political parties stop playing Russian Roulette with the emotions of a citizenry hungry for good governance. The masses seems powerless to get the attention of politicians who become arrogant and dance to the tunes of their corporate sponsors.

    Sadly this government ask for unity of purpose and fails to engage the masses on issues that will impact their daily lives. Someday the people will say no more and I pray the our parliamentary system is reformed before the clock strikes midnite.

    Could not believe my ears today when I heard Minister Sinckler blaming the graft, theft, mismanagement , unprofessionalism associated with his party on a world recession.

  25. Did anyone get the formula minister Sinckler gave for upcoming the solid waste tax? Did he say 0.03% on improved site value?

  26. The MoF as far as I can recall said that the financials for the NIS were four years behind in 2008 and that those years were now audited. Justin Robinson is however saying 2001. Oh well.

  27. Yes, Enuff, I remember Tony Marshall talking about 4 years which I thought at the time was unacceptable especially since NIS employs accountants. But both Tony Marshall and the current chairman promised financial statements long ago.

    I wonder about the veracity of the statement in today’s paper………..I know someone who is sick and has not received a benefit for over four weeks. How are the poor that this government cares about to survive?

  28. @Bajan in New York,

    Stinkliar floored me with that one. In the budget he said…0.7%, the Donville had his say and said it was probably a typo and should be 0.07%. Now without going back to Parliament, the minister is saying 0.03% and now we are not sure from he said if it is on the site value or the improved value, he did not seem to know which one.

    What a minister of finance we have!

  29. Dem spennoff all the de money, you doh onnstann dat? Billionaires Four Seasons get plenty, REDjet did want a piece, and yuh kin bet all Dumble friends livin high on de souse pon we money de NIS lend out fuh dis projeck an dat projeck.

    Wuhloss, poor man back brek today fuh carry politician tuh every parish yesterday. .Better we dump all dem jackasses at de fuss crossroads and leff dem fuh bray and walk back home dem self self.

  30. It was a very wise plan and exceptional foresight of the DLP to pursue the completion of the St John Polyclinic. If the NIS funds do dwindle up, we can always convert it to a District Hospital, or more appropriately an Almshouse.

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