National Insurance Scheme Lends Transport Board 3.577 Million Dollars

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

Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman, National Insurance Scheme

DISMISSED TRANSPORT BOARD WORKERS are getting every cent of their long overdue severance pay, thanks to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. Very reliable sources have revealed that the cash-strapped statutory corporation that provides island wide public transport services had, through the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW), sought the assistance of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to meet its obligations to retrenched workers. As a result, yesterday former worker Mark Watson collected his cheque for more than $71,000 and told the DAILY NATION he was headed to the credit union to pay off his mortgage. “The DAILY NATION also learnt that the Freundel Stuart Cabinet was also told: ‘A decision was taken that the Transport Board should approach the National Insurance Board for a loan in the sum of $3,577,000 to settle the outstanding severance payments due to workers. The National Insurance Board, at its meeting on September 2, 2014, considered and approved the loan request with the following conditions precedent to disbursement. . .”

Once again the Minister of Finance, with the help of his man at the head of the NIS Funds, is plundering those funds. I am sure that the fired workers are happy to receive their money so that they can pay their bills, and look after their families otherwise. However, I fear that this decision will come back to haunt them as the NIS funds are being depleted – not only to pay them, but to pour millions of dollars into the ruins of the “soon-to-start” “All Seasons” and other projects!

It is mooted that the NIS Funds will run out in 2030! When are you due for pension?

It’s okay for the members of this “people-centred” Government to pillage the NIS Funds, because they do not have to worry about their own pension payments as they will be paid by the tax payers of this country. It’s most likely that the retirement age will be raised some time in the near future, otherwise there wont be enough money left to pay you as people are living much longer. If I were you, I would put aside some of the money you get to help you down the road!

That payment is nothing but subterfuge. I guess we can look forward to more taxes soon.

“A false friend and a shadow attend only when the sun shines.”

26 thoughts on “National Insurance Scheme Lends Transport Board 3.577 Million Dollars

  1. Pingback: National Insurance Scheme Lends Transport Board 3.577 Million Dollars - Vibe Audio StationVibe Audio Station

  2. Not to worry!

    One of the gossip columns in yesterday’s Nation hinted that a team of Dr Estwick’s far eastern friends had made a recent visit to Barbados re. his Alternative Financial Plan that had been shot down by the PM and Cabinet earlier this year and that things now looked very promising from that angle.

    So we should soon have enough Foreign Exchange from the Oil Rich mid-east to set the NIS back on a firm footing, pay off all our debts and avoid the devaluation strings attached to IMF assistance.

    So fellow pensioners, don’t worry, be happy! Better days are coming.

    • @Are-we-there-yet

      You are obviously being facetious. At the root of our problems is behavioural. Have you seen any change to aggressively curb consumption behaviour and to produce/earn more?

  3. Yes! I am being facetious.

    No! There is no visible change so far re. the behaviours you highlight,

    But, if the IMF report (see today’s nation front page) is anything to go by, the next 5 months are going to be very dread, especially for pensioners like me and those who previously had various tax exemptions going back decades.

  4. It is about time that this inept Government demit office one way or the other. There was absolutely no need for the Transport Board to incur any debt, to meet severance payment cost, from NIS or anyone else. These idiots did not realise that the NIS would be required by law to pay the severance payment to the workers if the Transport Board was unable to pay.

  5. David; re. Caswell’s 6:15 post.
    Could BU get another opinion on this from one of BU’s Legal posters?

    If Caswell is correct his first sentence above should seriously come into play as no government, as inept as to borrow money in these times when there was no legal need to do so, should not be the Government.

    But then I am speaking against my best interests as with the current solution Government would have to repay NIS since the Transport Board is a statutory body. But if Caswell is correct, then there would be no question of repayment by Government, thereby hastening the day when NIS will run out of funds.

    Did someone say that such is likely to be of no concern to this Government as the MP’s would have got their pensions long before that happens?

    • Is it unreasonable as taxpayers all to request sight of the terms of the loan approved by the NIS Board to the TB?

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if Ding Ding fields a party next election and promises to void pension payments to this sorry sod of political clowns who now form this “grovelment”, I and all like me of similar thought would vote for them in a flash.

  7. Caswell;

    If you are correct, are’nt you giving Government actionable advice on how to deal with the question of sourcing funds for the imminent second installment of lay offs and staff reductions in statutory bodies to meet the numbers that the CBGovernor has said must be achieved by the end of this Financial year? Too bad that advice looks like it will put serious pressure on the ability of NIS to fulfill its obligations to contributors in the near term.

    I pity the GoCB, the MoF, the head of the NIS board and all other persons who have to make strategic decisions related to trying to keep Barbados’ economy afloat. It kant be ezee!

    • Are-we-there-yet

      The Transport Board is different from most of the other statutory boards, they were treated as private sector and were contributors to the severance fund at NIS, and therefore their former workers were entitled to make claims on the fund. However, most of the other statutory boards had terms and conditions for their workers that were similar to the mainstream public service which included entitlements to pensions. Workers at statutory boards who are entitled to pensions are not also entitled to severance pay. Those statutory boards are not contributors to the severance fund, like the Transport Board, and their former employees are not entitled to claim severance from NIS. Government would have to borrow to pay them but not the TB.


  8. EVERYBODY knows that the DLP Government is incompetent but the people wanted to give them a chance because the foolish people said that they were tired seeing Owen Arthur , Mia Mottley , Barney Lynch, Gline Clarke, Dale Marshall, and the other Ministers pon their T.V. (They said so) That is the careless talk that does come from Bajans.

    The idiots believed that what they took for granted would continue and the Country would continue to have things like low unemployment and salary increases . The DLP went ahead feeding from the fatted calf right down to the bones. And the rest is history and misery (LOL)

    The DLP is really feeling around like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black ugly big nose cat .The DLP just dont know what they are doing and by the time they find out Barbados will be down the drain – Sorry !! They now understand that they made a mistake.

    • Perhaps the hysteria that the NIS fund always evokd would not be the case if audited financials were to be laid in parliament.

  9. While we are very happy to learn that former Transport Board workers (or most of them so far) have received their severance, we are extremely enraged that, according to the Daily Nation of Thursday, October 23, 2014, the NIS has agreed to ‘lend’ the Transport Board $3 577 000, to help settle its severance issues with the former workers, and that the Ministry of Finance has agreed to service directly this ‘loan’.

    We are angry primarily because – contrary to what the NIS has over the years been falsely making other Barbados misbelieve – that there are these unemployment, severance, etc., Funds, there are really NO such funds.

    Quite unlike local Funds like Fortress Funds, Fund Access, these funds that the NIS has been purporting to have are mainly paper, computer, electronic set ups, bordering on phantom organizations.

    So, on that basis and that basis alone the NIS – whether via the said so-called funds or not, has no capacity to lend anybody any money, including the Transport Board, as if that can really be done, when it really cannot be.

    Clear unmistakable evidence of the fact that these NIS Funds do not exist in real terms is where the former Transport Board workers – just like many other people and businesses that have been doing business with the government, would have had to do – would have had to take their cheques with them to Republic Bank or any other named financial institution, to show them that they had the authority to collect their due.

    So, in truth and in fact it is this evil wicked TAXATION system, as well as this vile dysfunctional core financial system, that the Ministry of Finance of the government of Barbados has over the years been using to help deliberately falsely misrepresent the basis of the notion that the NIS has these funds and that these funds have funds of their own.

    And what a contagion of lies that continues to point the PDC towards the circumstance of Barbados becoming a second rate third world country in the not too distant future.


  10. Caswell; Thanks for the explanation. So, If I understand you correctly, the Government, i.e the Ministries of Labour, Finance and the AG’s office and the NIS itself, have messed up bigtime in this one and saddled itself with having to repay a loan from the NIS, for a committment that the NIS was legally bound to pay by virtue of the Severance Pay act or some such similar act.

    If I also understand you correctly, there is no other or perhaps only a few other statutory corporations that are in the same position so Government will have to pay future severed workers from these corporations if and when the promised rationalization of statutory corporations is implemented, not NIS. Of course the NIS will most likely be the source of any such funds to be borrowed so my pension might still be looking shaky down the road from what looks like constant pillaging of the NIS.

    • AWTY

      You understand me correctly.

      There are 21 statutory boards that are pensionable under the Statutory Boards (Pensions) Act. If government send terminate workers from those boards in circumstances similar to redundancy, and the workers have 10 or more years, they are entitled to pensions and gratuities immediately at whatever age. They are not entitled to one-off severance payments. Government is aware of this but have decided to cheat the workers.


  11. @ David
    Perhaps the hysteria that the NIS fund always evoke would not be the case if audited financials were to be laid in parliament.
    the real hysteria comes from the fact that those responsible for the production of these performance reports continue in position as though all is well…..
    Don’t these people have professional responsibilities? don’t they have names?
    …that Board members continue as though producing these reports is doing the public a favour….
    …and a Government that seems to like it this way …. spending money based only on the current bank balance…..

    what a collection of bowls….

  12. Caswell Franklyn | October 26, 2014 at 6:15 PM |
    It is about time that this inept Government demit office one way or the other.
    the other??????????????????????????????????

  13. @ Colonel Buggy…the other???? Down tools every man jack and shut the effing country down. While such would prove very costly the draw back is there would be no pension for the patient squatters, and it really can’t get any worse for the poor since ” He that is down need fear no fall.”

  14. are-we-there-yet | October 26, 2014 at 6:43 PM |

    “David; re. Caswell’s 6:15 post.: Could BU get another opinion on this from one of BU’s Legal posters?”

    Caswell is correct, severance payments would be paid through the NIS tribunal after a hearing on the issue by the NIS legal team.

    It must be noted that employee NIS contribution is 10:10% of which 0.75% goes towards unemployment. Also, employer NIS contribution is 11.25% of which 0.75% goes towards unemployment as well.

  15. Heavens almighty @David 11:52 post – The composition of the Board looks like a Who’s Who of DLP sycophants. It’s now wonder that the goodly Senator handed in his resignation as Chairman before his reputation as a knowledgeable banker was tarnished. Tell me, if the Government can’t settle a High Court judgement with Mr Barrack, how are they going to repay the NIS? The NIS also has to be reminded that the money is not theirs but is being held in trust. Somebody’s sorry donkey(s) had better be held accountable for raping the fund.

    • @Fear Play

      That is a link to the 2008 Board to make a point.

      The argument by Minister Darcy Boyce and others is that the government is the lender of last resort to the fund therefore if it has to borrow from NIS to sustain the economy it is a nobrainer.

    • fyi


      In conducting any discussion about the National Insurance Scheme of Barbados (NIB), its policies and practices and the nature of its investments, I think it would be useful to start by outlining the structure and investment decision making process of the NIB. The Investments Unit at the NIB evaluates investment opportunities and proposals, and prepares recommendations in the form of a board paper which is discussed by the NIB’s “Investment Committee.” The Investment Committee makes recommendations on each proposed investment, which then go to the Board of Directors for ratification or rejection. In light of this structure let us then look at the composition of the board and the investment committee.

      The Board of the NIB is Tripartite in nature with the Minister of Finance appointing three (3) members, the Chair, Deputy Chair and one other board member. The two main trade unions on the island, the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Workers Union, and the two largest private sector bodies, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority and the Barbados Employers Confederation, each appoint a representative to the board. The Ministries of Finance and Labor are also represented on the board. The investment committee is comprised of the Chair, Deputy Chair, a union representative, a private sector representative and a nominee from the Barbados Central Bank.

  16. HAMILTON A HILL | October 26, 2014 at 11:31 PM |
    @ Colonel Buggy…the other???? Down tools every man jack and shut the effing country down.
    When I checked last, Barbados’ global position is 13 degrees 10′ North and 59 degrees 32′ West.
    The above will only happen here ,if we were shifted to a new global position of 18 degrees 15′ North and 77 degrees 30′ West.

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