Senior Citizens Affected by National Insurance Glitch and LATE Tax Returns a Possibility

The National Insurance Office wishes to advise customers that a hardware malfunction has severely affected its computer network. As a result, the delivery of all benefits including pensions will be delayed. The NIS technical team has been working consistently to rectify the matter but it is anticipated that it will take about three weeks to correct the problem and restore the network to its full capacity. The National Insurance Office apologises for the inconvenience causedNIS Website (30.09.2014)

The National Insurance  Scheme (NIS) has advised that they have encountered a computer hardware problem and it will take about three weeks (they hope) to mail benefit cheques including pensions. It is unimaginable if the same malfunction were to occur in a private sector company the catastrophic impact it would have on the business.  The cryptic message delivered by the NIS fails to give insight as to the nature of the problem therefore Barbadian taxpayers and those directly impacted by the hardware problem are left to speculate as to how come.

Thousands of senior citizens who depend on pension (benefit) cheques – to sustain themselves – will have to find creative ways to survive for about a month. The thought of old people who do not have access to alternative sources of financial support having to survive in the period is heart wrenching. The inability of the Minister of Labour to propose alternative payment options points to an insensitivity (inability)  to respond in a crisis situation. And this is another component of the problem we hope is on the radar of the managers.

Barbadians have had to endure failure of systems at the Barbados Licensing Authority and of interest to BU the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in the last week. It is a fact of life that system failures will occur, it is the inability of managers of the systems to implement a robust contingency plan.

According to the relevant Act the Barbados Revenue Authority will have to release tax refunds by the end of this month or pay interest to taxpayers. Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on a Sunday talk show in July made light of feedback in response to concerns expressed about the possibility of late distribution of tax refunds – Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Commissioner of the Barbados Revenue Authority Margaret Sivers Meet Talk Show Host Corey Layne to Debate the Muni Tax. All reasonable people understand the government is challenged with finances but if the state of affairs continue with the government defaulting on a weekly basis on payments, the confidence the Governor of the Central Bank and others harp about will remain as elusive as the content of the FBI report or Transparency Legislation.

The problem affecting the BRA is more than a cashflow problem. The retrenchment exercise has wreaked havoc on the unit and key individuals who have the experienced about the relatively new system have left the department. The statement issue by the BRA’s public relations Officer Erica Lazare should be taken as the usual b*****t.

In the uncertainty about so many things there is the unabated silence of our leadership.


  • Only this morning there was the discussion in the BU household how can the media do more. So many causes where local media can cooperate for the good of the environment. Instead it is about oneupmanship.

    On Friday, 3 October 2014, Barbados Underground wrote:



  • I have and will continue to get this obtuse reaction from the media houses because they fully appreciate their role in preserving the status quo and will not be held accountable to the public for so doing. They are public relations specialists.. NOT change agents. So the Dennis Johnsons and David Ellis’s who have spent years convincing people that they are actually on the side of the “people” continue to be in fact the greatest enemies that the “people” could ever be faced with. They are masters at speaking with “forked tongues”, a kind of phrasing that allows them to be interpreted in a way that does not tie them to a specific opinion.


  • @ BAF
    You have hit upon something. You are right. Even here on BU people like Dennis Johnson gets a pass. This is how the system works by presenting all gradations of opinion to create an illusion of democracy, free speech, public discussion etc. when in fact this is to delude the many. If Dennis Johnson or anybody else on any radio station anywhere in the wolrd truely had an independent mind it would be impossible for them to keep their jobs for decades – absent some non-mainstream media we listen to.

    Same thing in politics. There is no difference between B and D, Republicans and Democrats, Communists and Capitalists and Environmentalist and Corporatists, they all sever the same god.


  • Balls and fortitude.

    For many these are much like the antithesis of the wind which, irrespective of the fact that you cannot see it, is there.

    I think that you must understand the David Ellis’s and Johnson’s of the world and explain away their lack of intestinal fortitude as a manifestation of “self preservation” and “how does one pay the bills” at this the eve of sunset and the golden years.

    As you start to leave this side of the veil the fact is that your marketability and job mobility in Bulbados starts to depreciate and, the syndrome of “and there arose a king that knew not Joseph” starts to take over one’s marketability.

    This is not Amurica where like a maturing wine, one can leave NBC and hear to morning america and like the Crown Jewel, command top dollar in that move.

    We are a 11×16 rock and our options are limited so irrespective of the personal beliefs of these goodly gentlemen, they must kowtow to the system which tells them “do not rock this boat” lest we tip you off” in the dead of night much akin to the $10M that ** brought to the island in **** and now is in fear of his life.

    In years to come, should we not see the conflagration that is impending, heralded by Russia, evidenced by ISIS/ISIL and which Hong Kong now will swiftly follow suit, this little cyberspace haven will be cited as the last bastion of free speech in Bulbados where, in spite of attempts by BLP and DLP agents, small, medium and large egos were allowed to come to ventilate on everything under the sun.

    Do not fault these men, nor the Maria Holders’ of this world, self preservation is the greatest driver and all other noble tenets are quickly eclipsed and lost in translation.


  • I fault them ..ALL of them. There is a war to be fought, for the survival of us all and that of our children’s children… and the enemy has only one lasting weapon, the agents of deception. This war cannot be won while those guilty operatives remain comfortable while marching towards retirement. There has to be casualties, preferably on their side.

    REAL support from the media is integral to the process of radical change. When it stands idly by, or worse, facilitates the incumbent power brokers by deluding the public, they must expect no better treatment to the average spy when brought before a tribunal.


  • Dennis Johnson and David Ellis work for private companies and are contracted to follow their detailed job description.

    They are not “the problem”.



  • They most definitely are … and the contracts that they serve… There is none so blind than those who REFUSE to see.


  • Self censorship, to the level the the ex- Director of news and Public Affairs has taken, and the sycophantic deference that Johnson pays to his every gesture, is obscene. Starcom is the oldest radio station in Barbados, with many regional sister companies to boot. THERE IS NOT A POLITICIAN ALIVE WITH THE BALLS TO PULL THEIR BROADCASTING LICENSE… not one … and they do not know this? They are just lazy and cowardly.


  • @ BAFBFP
    LOL….man drink little ice water nuh….
    What makes you think that Ellis and Johnson have the same perspective that you do?
    How do you know that they are not satisfying THEIR OWN drives to generate the kind of change that THEY want to see?
    This is just like your ” don’t vote” campaign…. You overestimate your own influence and importance….we all tend to….

    The truth, Boss man, is that if we were to take every player currently in the process and randomly switch roles every 10 years, we will ALWAYS end up at the identical place….there are just too many brass bowls for you (or anyone else) to polish.

    Perhaps Caswell has a point. Perhaps he knows only too well that were he to “BUP”, in a matter of months Bajans would be comparing him unfavorably with Freundel….
    Just like all human life comes to an end-phase when all systems begin to fail naturally, so too does the process of life-on-earth have an end-phase when a lotta shiite is inevitable….unfortunately, this is only the beginning…… So get the ice water…..


  • Dompey | October 3, 2014 at 3:10 AM |
    prodigal Son

    Who really cares what those British jounalists, who are obviously skilled in the art of frugality thinks or writes about Barbados? Do their pay the
    Spoken like a true ex-patriot , Bro…. “F*** Barbados. Had not for what a former Tourism Minister call the Fish & Chip tourists out of the UK, most of our hotels would have been closed by now. The British press,and for that matter, any press, has an obligation to report their findings to their readers who are paying big bucks, or pounds, to visit costly destinations like Barbados.
    The question who really cares?apply to a great number of Barbadian, judging from the present state of our environment, but there are many of us who genuinely care .


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ David (BU):

    What is the rationale (other than the fixing of a broken election pledge) for putting the BWA under the FTC?
    Isn’t the BWA a monopoly owned and controlled by government? Unlike the BL&P which is almost fully owned by a foreign entity and private individuals.
    There must be more in the mortar than just the upward price adjustment pestle.
    Can we speculate the BWA might just be one of the entities up for privatization and divestment as mandated by the IMF?
    Or is this move a way of finding a scapegoat through the FTC perceived regulatory ‘independence’ for a pending significant increase in water and sewage rates to pay for the sewage and water projects requiring foreign funding?


  • @BAFBFP,

    Starcom makes money from advertising revenue.


  • @Bush Tea

    BAFBFP is correct the media must play and integral/leadership role is always moving change. The individual perspectives of journalists do not override the tenets which drive the fourth estate.


  • @Miller

    The BWA owns a building that must be paid for.


  • @ David
    “The media” is just another set of lackies looking to make a dollar just like Baffy, you or Bushie….

    What play what integral/leadership role and always moving what change what?

    You REALLY feel that most journalists do what they do because of some righteous drive to save humanity and bring peace to our world….? LOL !! Ha Ha ….
    Looka move do!!

    Ellis is there because that was the best opportunity that presented itself and besides, he could not get the easy pick in government because he did not go to no bigup school like Hants.

    DJ only there because he and Eric Gairy could not get along …else he would be a minister in Grenada all like now so…

    These are just regular Joes doing regular shiite all for the regular paycheck at month end.


  • Correct .. and da is why I would like to cuss Caswell’s ass for complimenting Johnson fah de shite he do this evening…. Caswell yah impudent cock roach


  • @Dennis Johnson and David Ellis

    Some callers must be left alone to make their points even if they may from time to time engage in a style that you find offensive. The talk show should be about the callers more than the moderator. In the case of anti-American he usually raises a narrative that goes way beyond the bullshite 60% of the callers contribute in the name of preserving democracy. Because you are a moderator it does not mean you are equipped to intelligently engage 100% of the time. Let certain callers make their points and allow other callers and listeners to get what they can from the contributions.


  • Tax returns late and NIS payments delayed.


    Is that so hard?


  • or:

    1 minus 1 =zero


  • Simple Simon | October 3, 2014 at 8:19 PM |

    About right. I am waiting with my head ducked…..HOPING to avoid when ‘it’ hits the fan.


  • You know even if it were true that there has been a hard wear malfunction at the nis…the functions of this administration has been so non transparent to date that no one would believe them..which leads me to ask why bwa has been taken on by the FTC. Operational transparency my foot. I believe bwa is set for privatization. Has anyone noticed who is reading the smart meters?


  • Let us wait and see what tomorrow brings. The parts were to arrive by FedX today.

    What is the board headed by Justin Robinson doing about the government not paying any rent for the two buildings at Warrens? is there not a law that if a person lives in a property rent free for ten years, the person can claim the property.

    Was Barrack on to something when he pad lock the building a few weeks ago???


  • This

    David | October 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM |

    @Dennis Johnson and David Ellis
    Some callers must be left alone to make their points even if they may from time to time engage in a style that you find offensive. The talk show should be about the callers more than the moderator. In the case of anti-American he usually raises a narrative that goes way beyond the bullshite 60% of the callers contribute in the name of preserving democracy. Because you are a moderator it does not mean you are equipped to intelligently engage 100% of the time. Let certain callers make their points and allow other callers and listeners to get what they can from the contributions

    Well said. They need to be told this over and over. I resent the two of them pontificating on the airwaves which they monopolise like they are the fount of all wisdom. They need to be reminded over and over again that without the input of callers wise or foolish in their view there would be no program and that the role of moderator is to provide balance and not to hog the show.


  • @ balance
    “….I resent the two of them pontificating on the airwaves….”
    Don’t talk rot balance….
    While you are correct about Ellis and DJ pontificating, Bushie is shocked that you could leave out the pontificator-in-chief Wiki Wickham.
    Shiite man….the only reason for having callers is to introduce the various topics on which he then rants and raves…. Like if most people care what he thinks…

    After Market Vendor, he is THE most sickening thing on VOB.


  • @David
    No Sargeant todays lingo in IBM mainframes is as400.
    I was making light of the technology that existed in 1969 that was available to the Gov’t and linking it to today’s problems. Incidentally the technology in those early computers is less than what exists in my IPad or phone today.


    Holford wasn’t there during my short stint but the others were, I seem to remember that there was some competition for the top jobs initially but as the Unit expanded more positions became available. In the early days training for the operation of the system was provided by two Peace Corp volunteers.


  • are-we-there-yet


    My memory doesn’t work too well these days. However, as far as I recall, Pjop Williams took over the training (on the IBM 1401) around 1970. For about three years running he trained batches of specially chosen Public Servants on the operations of the IBM Mainframe computer and Machine Language programming. The choice of the students was based on performance in a transparent public service wide aptitude test. The top students at the completion of the training were offered posts in the Data Processing Unit (the DPU) and most took up those offers and constituted the early technical staff of that Unit.

    David Medford went over from Agriculture in 1969 (I think) and David Holford in 1970. David Holford developed a number of databases and systems which it would take a whole team of professionals to do nowadays. I think Harcourt Lewis was the head of the DPU up to 1970 when he, like you, moved to greener pastures. I can’t recall the name of the person who took over as Head of the DPU from 1971 to when David Medford assumed that position. Yvette Mellowes-Walcott, I think, took up the post after David Medford retired. As you might recall the post was a mid level administrative one on the Civil Service hierarchy and started out with Admin people setting up and running the DPU to where it later developed into a technical one where the candidates were well qualified in the field of computing.

    But this is probably very boring to any one else who might read it. In my old age I often reflect on how the public service of this day seems to have gone astray and I can’t help but feel that gradual political emasculation of the top posts and de. facto concentrating of real authority in Ministers could provide a large part of the answer.

    The current NIS debacle is a resultant (IMHO) of the strangle hold that Politicians and would be politicians have on the proper running of the system. If you are in touch with the political directorate you would know what I am hinting at.


  • This bellyaching about the media and playing a role is a joke!!
    What is being touted here is “media activism” but the reality is that in a 1×1 island it is near impossible to get the media to be “active”. It sounds all good and the right thing to do, but right isn’t always the best choice.


  • I read the above comments as ‘assuming’ that the matter IS system error and not an instruction / decision to pay monies to either (1) lack of Government funds or (2) whilst a wide fraud is being investigated (just a possibility, not saying that there is).

    You would be surprised how fast a system error can be rectified in ‘most’ systems nowadays.


  • Lincoln Carrington Harper

    are-we-there-yet :

    I note that in your recounting of the history of the DPU you have mentioned all those eminent Harrisonians. However you have omitted my good friend Bertram (Paddy) Carter who went to another place. However, that not withstanding, I thought that the NIS has an independent computer system. Perhaps, what is needed to avoid the current problem is complete hardware duplication. Though costly, I am sure that all of us hand-to-mout pensioners would be much happier in our paycheck-to-paycheck lives, if we could be better reassured when the check is really in the mail..


  • Or work with a local or regional company to serve as a redundant site, the private sector uses such an approach all the time


  • are-we-there-yet

    Lincoln Carrington Harper.

    You’re right, in a sense, but I was not aware that I mentioned only Harrisonians, just the ones who sprang immediately to mind! Bertram Carter was one of the people who did sterling work at DPU whose name I was trying to remember but it just wouldn’t pop up in my aged memory. Thanks for setting that record straight. I know and think very highly of Bertram. Bertram was the head of the DPU, preceding Yvette Mellowes (who was not a Harrisonian and I’m not sure if Harcourt Lewis was a Harrisonian or not). Harrison College was my old school but I do not wear that fact on my shoulder nor am I blinded to the sterling contributions of others that often surpassed old Harrisonians in many areas.

    I know little about the current IT, Hardware, Software and Human resource systems at NIS or at the DPU (if it still exists) but It is clear that establishing and maintaining a true redundant site or two is sine qua non for having a fool proof system for such an important process as that which the NIS carries out. David’s suggestion of formal sharing of hardware resources is a good one and indeed was used in the past (over 15 years ago) when backup software files for payroll and other sensitive and important areas were routinely maintained by the DPU of that time at a number of off site institutions that had the capacity for holding them.

    But, lemme ax yuh sumting? You tink dat the explanation that the public has been given about the NIS problem is the whole truth?


  • Have’nt seen the Newspapers yet!

    Is there any news on if the part for the NIS power supply has yet arrived by Fedex or whatever?

    On another, perhaps related front, Does anyone know if the IMF team is now here and when they are due to leave? If they are, it might explain why no funds are now available for normally very urgent and essential purposes and might be portents of serious happenings to come.


  • @are-we-there-yet

    The news report is that the IMF is in Barbados on a routine visit expected to last one week? Can a visit from the IMF be expected to be routine at this time? We allow these people to feed us PR gobble-gook.

    A check of the NIS website see no current update.


  • are-we-there-yet

    Another thing to watch for.

    Has the NIS lodged the monthly payments for those pensioners who opted to have their pensions lodged to their bank accounts instead of having cheques posted every two weeks by mail? Tomorrow is the date that these lodgements should be at the bank. Grateful if any pensioner who had opted for such lodgements would let us know if the lodgements were made.

    There are only a relatively few banks in Barbados that would have to be informed and authorized by the NIS to lodge the requisite amounts to the accounts of listed pensioners. Such advice would not be expected to require access to the high powered system that is now needing repairs.

    If the NIS does not pay such pensioners by tomorrow, IMHO, another different explanation would be necessary from the CEO or someone higher up.


  • @ are-we-there-yet If the NIS does not pay such pensioners by tomorrow, IMHO, another different explanation would be necessary from the CEO or someone higher up.
    Excuses and explanations are no longer necessary in Barbados. Just used the term ” seasonal” ,which in itself has no expiry date. Because long after this “season” should be reasonably over, we are still right up to our necks in it.
    Perhaps we will get better answers if we direct our questions to The Barbados Youth Parliament.


  • It appears that pensioners who have their pensions lodged on their banks have been paid today. But nary a word from NIS or the Minister on progress on the repairs to the system and if the promised placement of the cheques by this weekend is on target.

    “Freundelitis” ( the debilitating disease that stymies sensible communications) appears to have infected everyone in Government.


  • And right now property owners are beginning to receive ther “tax demand notices” land tax bills. The government is very efficient in getting those out on time.


  • We have sensible people calling for accountability in the NIS mess up and how does our MOF respond?


  • Silence!


  • I got my pension cheques yesterday. Many thanks to the NIS Technicians.

    Hope that the Powers that be will use this incident to reflect on and perhaps change their methodology for proactively and sensitively informing the population of how they are treating with problems for the society that might have resulted from problems in the economy and how such problems had been or are being handled.


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