Another NIS Glitch Affecting the Vulnerable

Submitted by Anthony Davis
NIS Building

NIS Building

It is our money and we want it now. “This is becoming the urgent plea of many Barbadians to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), despite an advertisement appearing in the Press that the department is upgrading its system and claims will be delayed. That is little comfort to four despairing young mothers who turned up at the offices of the SATURDAY SUN when their efforts to get some clarity from the NIS about their maternity benefits did not bear any fruitSaturday Sun

My, my, my!

How much more will this “people-centred Government” humiliate the lower echelons of our society? In the 1960s Jimmy Cliff sang: “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer . . .” This Government is taking us back to the days of slavery – with the difference being that the taxpayers of this country are NOT getting what is theirs. This makes the situation worse, because people have to go cap-in- hand to beg for what is theirs.

There is money for high-end toys for the boys, but the poor, the needy and vulnerable cannot get what is rightfully theirs.

The Minister of Finance has cut the funds to the various departments, so it is a very paltry excuse to be telling the taxpayers that they cannot get their money because the computer is being upgraded – for ten or more weeks. That computer must be very antiquated!

Does Government expect these women to carry out some extra curricular activities in order to be able to sustain themselves and their children? This is despicable, and scandalous! These are the same taxpayers who pay you thousands of dollars every month, and pay for your big rides and all of the perks that go with them – and they cannot get what is theirs.

Yet you, Mr. Prime Minister, have the audacity to say: “Barbados is alive and well”.

This would obtain if you are referring to yourself, and the members of this Government, because many Barbadians have been sold down the river, and don’t know where to get the next meal for themselves and their scions from. Every day one sees more and more vagrants – including females – on the streets of Bridgetown.

Are they alive and well? They may be existing but they are certainly not well. How many more must bite the dust before you start treating them like human beings who have the same human rights as you? There are now young mothers with their children in hand begging for help on the streets of Bridgetown when they should be getting their maternity cheques!

Is that what makes Barbados “alive and well”?

I don’t think so!

Will you pay the creditors who are breathing down the necks of these mothers?

Is this why Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, invoked the females in this country to have more babies?

What would happen if they went ahead with his suggestion?

They would only be bringing the babies into this world to suffer, because those that have been born are not being nurtured by this Government.

So that is another big no, no.

In the same paper, and on the same page, under the headline: “Tax amnesty ends soon” it states: “TAXPAYERS ARE being reminded that the deadline for the amnesty programme is March 15. The amnesty is being offered to all tax payers on interest and penalties accrued at December 31, 2014, in respect of arrears of land, value added and income taxes. “The amnesty has been granted on the condition that any outstanding principal must be paid on or before March 15, 2015.”

What about the value added and income tax refunds which this Government owes taxpayers?

When does its amnesty run out?

Value added tax was supposed to be hiked for one year!

How many months make a year, Mr. Minister of Finance?

Are you counting in Martian years?

The mothers in this country need to be treated better!

On the one hand you want to jail every man or woman who lays hands on a woman – which is right – but on the other hand you are doing them more grievous bodily harm than those who do it physically.

The mothers need their money yesterday – not tomorrow!

It is theirs.

When a nation goes down or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.” – Carl Sandburg

32 thoughts on “Another NIS Glitch Affecting the Vulnerable

  1. we need to stop letting pm feteing the vistors and bring some computer experts to solve the problem .

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  3. This is the second time in ten years when NIS was unable to process benefits, over an extended period. Each time they blamed the problem on the computer system but that is only partially true.

    In 2004 NIS commissioned a new computer that was supposed to handle the NIS’ computer needs up to the year 2035. The system was estimated to cost $9 million. Management was advised to run the old system alongside the new one to ensure that the new system was working properly. They rejected that advice and shut down the old system. The new system promptly malfunctioned which resulted in the NIS being unable to pay benefits for months. They eventually managed to get the new system up and running albeit functioning but well below what was expected. They continued throwing good money behind that system in an attempt to remedy the multiple problems that continually developed. Mind you the system was working below par but working nonetheless.

    After spending in excess of $60 million to get the $9 million system to work, NIS decided to purchase a new system. This system was supposed to be commissioned in 2014 but history repeated itself. They shut down the old 2004 system that was supposed to handle NIS’ workload until 2035 and started up the new system. The new system promptly malfunctioned with devastating effect. NIS IS AGAIN UNABLE TO PROCESS BENEFITS and refuse to tell the truth.

  4. Bro Cas correct is true. The decay of inefficiency permeating most Government agencies for the last fifteen years is driven by notion that there is no room for experience or merit only paper qualifications possessed by the managers catapulted to the top with woefully inadequate management skills.

    • @Caswell

      Your revelation brings into question the quality of journalism in Barbados. To have something like this unravelling at the NIS and kept in the dark from the public with no accountability is astounding.

  5. Blame technology for the incompetence and shortage of non existent funds. BARBADOS is in full FAILURE MODE.

    The question is not WHEN but IF Barbados will ever recover and see GOOD TIME agsin.

  6. @ Caswell\Balance

    From my lil knowledge of systems administration…..when adopting a new system should the old system and the new system not to have trial periods of at least 2 years of ‘parallel running’ to circumvent what Caswell has proported? It would be folly to think otherwise……why any good systems analyst should inform Govt to take steps to SUE the implementors for shabby work….that is if these safeguards were included in the contract…phewww !

  7. Wily Coyote

    I would not like you to spread panic with untruths. NIS has more funds than it knows what to do with them. The problem there stems from politicians interfering with the recruitment process and saddling not only NIS but the entire Public Service with a member of incompetent people as managers.

  8. @ andrew davis March 6, 2015 at 12:45 AM #

    “we need to stop letting pm feteing the vistors and bring some computer experts to solve the problem.”

    The following is from this morning’s Advocate.

    “Prime Minister: A matter of comfort


    By Ashlee Cox

    While it is recognised as the island’s responsibility to ensure that tourists are comfortable when they visit and vacation in Barbados, it is also equally important that locals are also comfortable, as that ensures that they greet the visitors in a positive manner.

    This was the view of Prime Minister of Barbados, The Hon. Freundel Stuart, as he presented remarks at the recently held Reception for Repeat Visitors, which was held at the official residence of the Prime Minister, Ilaro Court.”

    The PM’s fete talk is of no comfort to those four young mothers, and hundreds or thousands more, who cannot collect their NIS benefits.

    But the PM has to host the frequent visitor fete, because the great minds who have propelled tourism numbers to sky-rocket, the MOT and the Chairman and CEO of BTMI are off the Rok manning the Barbados booth at a Travel Show in Berlin – no doubt traveling first class, to launch their Brilliant Barbados promotion.

  9. @ Mr. Caswell

    One of the many things I like about you is that that you are “economical” with your words and thread carefully “where angels fear to thread”

    In your 1.31 a.m post you presented a GEM when you spoke of the NIS system that has cost an alarming $60M

    David [BU] in his inimical style speaks to the absolute absence of journalism skills that (once/) characterized our media when Harold and Al were young men, and had balls, before the advent of (the balls-less) Vivianne Gittens (Please note this is not a derogatory remark but just a statement of biological fact)

    Old Onion Bags goes one step further to propose a lawsuit against the LATCapital firm that KPMG Peat Marwick (Barbados) recommended and got, and continues to get? splendid yearly fees from for the build-as-we-please-as-we-go-as-we-learn-at-your-expense-NIS-solution.

    There is a thing about gatekeepers at the hedonistic Hotel California, it is extremely hard for you as sado-masochists, to wish to decry a fellow who only got caught eating a strawberry and whipped cream off a nipple, if you get my drift…

    • @PUDRUR

      To your point a civil society is made up of stakeholders who must play their part to protect the seams of a wholesome society.

    • Is it any surprise the NIS Scheme cannot produce financials given its inability to manage a robust computer system?

  10. @ David {BU]

    I like that “…a civil society is made up of stakeholders who must play their part to protect the seams of a wholesome society…”

    Does playing one’s part include disclosing the infelicities that you see being conducted in the government department that you are working in?

    You do know that, for some, for example Fumble and his goons (legion included? you do notice that recently even Legion has been singing half as loud, the glass in now half full/half empty i.e. even she/he/it is coming around) to disclose the names of the guilty “stakeholders e.g. KPMG is considered a crime guilty of a punishment worse than death?

    Translated as “firing from the public service and loosing your gratuity”?

    Now me and you and Old Onion Bags and Balance might know a little bit about these infelicities to make a fellow “cautious” but one of those NIS staffers who were working with Velasquez etc might be able to send an email of a voucher to show the exact nature of the problem, how long it was operational and how the big bosses were aware of it and covering it up.

    These fellows might, as is expected, be really afraid that when they send email and attachments from their system that the people receiving it might be like “PollDaddy” and IP trackers on Viviane system at the Nation and Peter Harris’ Barbados Today site jes’ waiting to get your IP address and share the so called confidential source with their big up friends .

    @ All uh Wunna who got de Dirt to Share but Frighten

    My grandson, the one that does work at the *** Bank in IT tell me that you need to use the best Email Anonymous platform to do things like this

    It real simple create the account you want, log in, add the attachments showing how de boss man ordering 200 bags of cement and sending half of dem to he outside woman house, you know, upfull nation-building things DEM, or the pictures of Minister Uncle Lookup, at the house in de Pine wid dat young ting, and Whaplax, hit the send button and it all over.

    Man you cud get real impressive wid namee man. Nobody going know it was you.



  11. The following is from March 6 Nation

    Warning to tax dodgers
    Added 06 March 2015

    BARBADIANS WHO ARE DUCKING and hiding from the tax man have been put on notice by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.

    The minister, who is expected to deliver the annual Budget next month and present the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in another week, said the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) was mandated to go after tax dodgers.

    Speaking to employees of the NATION during the company’s Editorial Forum earlier this week, Sinckler said people who refused to pay taxes or who paid on underreported income were going to be targeted by the BRA.

    “That is the biggest challenge for the BRA, the Government and the country. There are a number of people who work, who are self-employed in the informal and traditional sectors who are not paying taxes,” the Finance Minister remarked.

    I would suggest the biggest challenge, indeed “a monstrous problem”, for thousands of vulnerable Barbadians, some unemployed, is that they have not yet received their income tax refunds for the 2013 tax year.

    BUT, there is good news for them. According to a second story in the Nation, is Government is looking to honour its commitment to paying out an estimated $80 million in income tax returns, before it becomes a monstrous (political) problem for Government.

    Refund promise

    Added 06 March 2015

    BY THE END of June most Barbadians should have received their income tax refunds.

    Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler gave this assurance on Tuesday while addressing the regular Editorial Forum of the Nation Publishing Company Limited.

    Another bit of good news which he announced during his two-hour talk with staff of the media house was that Government’s revenues were on the rise again, but he admitted that the cash flow problems were not over.

    He said Government was looking to honour its commitment to paying out an estimated $80 million in income tax returns, up from the yearly average of $65 million to $70 million, before it became “a monstrous problem”.

    “I’ve told the staff that it has to be . . . resolved by June,” he said, adding the hope was that “if not all, a significant portion” of the refunds would be paid by then.”

    • @DD

      Did the MoF mention if the BRA will be going after Parris? If he did not he should shut the hell up!

  12. @ David March 6, 2015 at 3:29 PM #
    “Did the MoF mention if the BRA will be going after Parris? If he did not he should shut the hell up!”

    David & DD that is what you call a preemptive strike. Let us euthanize this cunt called Stinkliar before he becomes a total embarrassment to the country.

    Imagine Parris walking about owing the BRA millions in unpaid taxes with the total protection of the PM and the MoF has the gall to talk about self-employed people being the main the perpetrators of tax evasion.

    At least the self-employed are productive and not a leprous parasite like Parris who swindled thousands of CLICO policyholders out of their hard-earned tax-paid savings.

    The Press in this country, especially the Nation journalist in this case, is really piss-poor to allow that lying jackass called Sinckler to standup and shit a roll of lies in their faces without even a whimper of query or follow-up.

    Isn’t this another toilet roll of promises similar to the Four Seasons farrago of lies?
    We should ‘more’ believe that the life of the Emperor of lies was in mortal danger before we take the word of this preposterous ‘sick-head’ regarding the collection of taxes due from both the self-employed and those living the life of Riley Parris.

  13. Piece:

    In your post to Caswell, I take that as a “slip” of the unconscious; angels are not in the business of “threading” any man or woman!! Bushie as the wild man would correct you with the adage that that is the role of the yard fowl cock!!

  14. Why the Nation did not ask Chris about the $100 Million in Vat still outstanding and if it din easier to go after such large lumps sums from FRIENDS, than to put out an APB on poor Bajans who already bending over backwards from the austere taxation measures in effect…they shudda ask him how comes Froon likes so much entertaining and hubnubbing wid tourists but cannot find time for news conferences wid black peoples of ee kine.

  15. Has anyone ever enquired why Dr. Byer who was rejected at the poles was given the Ministry of Labour? When are we going to have some journalist with some fortitude going to investigate why the lowest paid workers in this country have not been paid there severance money? What is happening to the NIS? Is it just for our politicians to spend as pocket money? When is Leroy Parris & Mara Thompson held responsible for the failure of CLICO? ( Mara Thompson had to know what her dead husband was doing, she was the manager at the time).

  16. @ just asking March 6, 2015 at 6:27 PM #

    Has anyone ever enquired why Dr. Byer who was rejected at the poles was given the Ministry of Labour?

    Just look at that smile. It would brighten any Cabinet meeting.

    The one I wonder about is Senator Maxine – whose primary duty seems to be posing for pictures with foreign Ambassadors

    • A positive is that it smoked out Ian Carrington into facing the public. The only time we hear from public sector CEOs is when something awry. Did anyone take the opportunity to ask about outstanding financials?


      Did Carrington deny a Venezuelan connection? Not sure.

      On Friday, 6 March 2015, Barbados Underground wrote:


    • David

      I only heard a short excerpt on the news at 4:30: I did not listen to Brasstacks. However, what I heard suggests that Carrington was very economical with the truth.


  17. @ David
    The Public sector CEOs stay away from the spotlight for the same reason that Froon does….
    They KNOW that they are incompetent jackasses who are completely out of their depth …and that they only got the jobs they have via political maneuvers.
    After hearing the NIS CEO today it can be no surprise that the NIS is in such shambles….

    How the hell can a NATIONAL FINANCIAL SCHEME like the NIS not be up-to-date with financials….?????!!!
    …and TWO multimillion dollar computer foul-ups in ten years…?
    …well, if at first you don’t succeed, just try and try and try and try… we got the money…

    Then there is the press….

    Imagine the man says that he has been trying to GET THROUGH to VOB…BUT the lines were full….???!!!


    People cussing and complaining and NOT A BOY from VOB contacts NIS for the official story…. far less do a little digging for the REAL story…

    ….and Stetson Babb talking shiite bout “…..THIS is THE latest….”
    Latest shiite….

    Then again….perhaps the press knows that it is pointless asking serious questions of jackasses
    ……may as well ask AC….. same incoherent shiite….

  18. Artaxerxes, David

    Is it routine for an IMF official to visit outside of a scheduled consultation?

    I heard from a usual reliable source that an IMF official is here for meetings with the biggest liar ever to be a minister of government.

    Woe is we!

    • @Prodigal Son

      Barbados has agreed to take technical advice from the IMF, there is a tax review being undertaken for example. Under the circumstances it us not unusual.

  19. @ Caswell


    NIS has a lot of wothless government paper that they think is GOOD, talk to the CLICO folks they also have several millions of this worthless paper. Caswell you going to wake up shortly and find it was not a bad dream but reality.

  20. Without knowing the intimate details of the NIS’s problem, I will speak from a position of authourity from my involvement in ICT strategy and implementation and from at least 25 years of experience.
    Barbados is woefully lacking in the ICT arena. This position of inefficiency comes from a lack of vision on the part of ICT decision makers of which they are really none within the government.
    Let’s look at the supposed CIO of government, although that is not his official title.
    This person, who has been named Chief E-Government Officer can move about from ministry to ministry touting glorious projects which he proposes to perform but has yet to show one iota of value.
    One case in point, a government WAN or Wide Area Network, proposes to link all government Ministries, Agencies and Departments under a single “umbrella” to provide seamless communication between these parties as well as to manage costs which spiraled out of control as many MDA’s procured their own Internet and in some cases Wide Area Connectivity. This “silo ed” approach led to vendors of these services, namely TeleBarbados, Cable& Wireless now LIME and Digicel to a lesser extent, charging exorbitant and disparate rates to MDS’s for the same services. So, the lack of a regulatory framework resulted in price gouging for profit.
    Unable to bring stability to the services government purchases from these vendors, also led to poor and unstable services being offered to government as many departments opted to “cheap out” and purchase residential DSL services and similar services which in many cases could not handle the demands placed on them by the respective agencies.
    Enter a now useless and functionally defunct agency funded by government called the Data Processing Department.
    At governmental estimates meetings held every year, this department is continuously being questioned as to their value and is regularly bombarded and attacked by other government agencies for non-performance and a lack of strong leadership and guidance in the ICT space. In short, heads of departments feel at a lost with respect to ICT decisions that have to be made as they cannot engage The Data Processing Department for advice and direction.
    Apparently, the department is so widely disrespected and ignored that they have been nicknamed “The Department of Public-Sector Disappointments” by some insiders who claim that their leadership is diametrically opposite in vision and strategy and that there is pure turmoil, discontentment and low morale in the agency.
    Taking the government’s lack of a clear and defined ICT strategy, and coupling that closely to an umbrella agency responsible for government ICT strategy and policy which is dysfunctional and inept, can you expect that NIS to be able to function with any degree of efficiency?
    It is very easy to blame a “computer system” for the current mess at the NIS, but a computer system doesn’t procure itself, doesn’t install itself, doesn’t maintain itself, and certainly cant think for itself, although if it could, I bet that many decisions no left ignored would be made with some degree of logic.
    As I listened to the exceedingly poor speech delivered by the NIS director detailing why their system was not working, what I heard was nothing more than a bag of excuses. If this joker was worth his weight in cane trash, he would know that any system whether in the stages on implementation as a replacement to another system or as a new implementation altogether, requires that a backup or alternative system be on hand to act as a buffer.
    Just imagine if GAIA wanted to implement a new Air Traffic Control system and just shut down the current system before validating by way of extensive testing and remediation the new system, what would happen!
    Critical systems have well documented methods by which they are managed and this includes how they can be replaced so that no disruption of service delivery is experienced. Evidently, the NIS doesn’t have access to these documents.
    So, when an agency like the NIS goes out and spends $69M of the public’s money on ICT upgrades and the result is that these upgrades don’t work, and th epublic who has paid into their scheme is disadvantaged, those in charge should at minimum be branded as “Enemy Combatants” or at best, given the charge of High Treason and dealt with accordingly.
    Nothing is wrong with the technology at the NIS, everything is wrong with the people who purchase, manage and run it. Everything is wrong with their decision making processes, and how these are applied to technology. The technology is not at fault.
    This is a woefully feeble attempt at obfuscation!
    Delete those useless characters and see how Barbados will reap significant value from its ICT investments!

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