Barbados Underground (BU) has written extensively our concerns about the lack of public disclosure of the National Insurance Fund. Since 2006 Chairman after Chairman, Minister after Minister have promised to bring the NIS financials current with little success. The last time we sighted Dr. Justin Robinson on BU, Chairman of the NIS- who was not averse to posting to BU- he commented on the 01/11/2015 at 4:02PM as follows:
Walter, I respect your views, expertise and comments and I take being accountable to the public very seriously and I have responded to queries about NIS many times on this forum, in fact quite recently. What I don’t quite appreciate is the NIS ambush whatever the issue I am commenting on.
As I have said on many occasions, when I became a member of the NIS board in 2008, the last audited financials filed were for 1998, as a board we hired an accounting firm to help bring the financials up to date. As a result of that project the NIS has submitted its financial statements for up to 2014. The NIS is a government dept and as such has to be audited by the auditor general. The auditor general put out a tender for the large backlog of financials and EY was the only bidder. The audits have progressed much slower than expected for two main reasons. Firstly, the audits are going back well over a decade and secondly the 2004 audit posed a major challenge as this was the first year of the nis switch over to the sap system.
We have gotten the financials up to 2014 and cleared the audit backlog from 1998 to 2005 i think. I was not there when the backlog was created, but I am chairman now and the failure to have up to date audited financials is mine. I accept full responsibility, the failure is mine.
I still hope I can engage in a public debate on other matters without constantly having to explain NIS.
It is ironic the Walter (Blackman) mentioned in Robinson’s comment was also a frequent BU commenter until he landed a ‘pick’ hosting a talk show on the government the owned media outlet. We look forward to hearing him in his professional capacity as an actuary host a program which critically analyses the current state of the NIS Fund. We suspect the government ‘pick’ has effectively muzzled Walter and all for 30 pieces of silver.
Fortunately Barbadians have Charles Herbert who is head of the Barbados Private Sector (BPSA) and a respected actuary to share his view on the state of the NIS fund.
We do have real problems. But the truth is, all it is going to mean is – and we already have the highest NIS contributions in the region – they are going to have to go higher or we are going to have to cut benefits because we cannot realize our investments . . . . So I think cash flow is going to be an increasing problem for National Insurance like it is a serious problem for Government – Barbados Today
Here is what Robinson posted to BU on the 02/11/2015 at 11:49AM:
The NIS in Barbados is currently able to cover benefit expenditure from its contribution income. Given the population demographics and current contribution levels, unless either benefits or contributions are adjusted, at some point in the future the scheme will need to draw on its investment income and assets to meet benefits. I don’t think there is anything especially unusual about this. The NIS is very open about the fact that 75% of its portfolio is in government of Barbados of securities (its been around that level for most of the life of the scheme). Therefore if at some point the government of Barbados is unable to meet its debt obligations the NIS would be severely impacted.
Barbadians, an ageing population, find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Either our NIS contributions will have to be increased in the near future- already the highest in the region- or benefits will have to be reduced. As far as BU is aware the most recent actuarial study was received by government earlier this year but it has not made public. Barbadians are left to speculate about the state of the fund. If BU were to add our voice to the speciation we would hazard to state that the NIS is cash poor and Barbadians should be very concerned. We do not have the power of recall, 20,000 Barbadians marching appears not to have registered concern with the government even as a general election looms.
Is the NIS Fund cash poor?
As usual government will not tell the truth, it is up to Herbert and others to inform the population and let them know where the NIS Fund stands, government is focused on making political mileage to be reelected…so they will keep secrets…….being reelected is something they do not deserve.
I hope Walter can now appreciate why I dont trust politicians, after spending so many years in the US, he returned to the island only to allow himself to be reduced to another party hack, a thorough waste and stagnation of knowkedge.
They may want to spend the money before Mia looks to give it to COW for FOUR SEASON FRAUD, Mia is a crook like the rest she must never to become PM of Barbados, Owen and Mia got us here and the DLP cover up for their own greed as well known for the last 9 years .
The NIS has already started a back door and unannounced policy of reducing benefits. Under the NIS regulations, a person who becomes unemployed is entitled to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. The regulations also provide that a person, who loses his job through his own misconduct, can lose up to six weeks of the benefit.
As a cost-saving measure the NIS routinely reduces claimants unemployment benefits ostensibly because the now unemployed caused his own dismissal. They make this determination mainly from a telephone call to the employer.
On several occasions I represented persons who appealed against the decision to reduce their benefits and invariably the officer who made the decision to reduce the benefit is unable to adequately explain the reason for doing so.
Caswell are you saying the NIS Officer is acting under instruction? Why is the practice not being exposed?
If Caswell has this information how come the NUPW and the BWU not making this a public issue.Would it be the big rides benefits?
“Highest NIS contributions in the region”. Well, well, well, everything is most expensive or highest in Barbados: road tax, cars, food, construction, passports and latest debts, to name a few. So it is only logical that the contribution to social security is most expensive as well.
After the total collapse of the local currency due to the spiraling debts, the NIS will cover only 20% what is covered today, if one considers the looming devaluation and further ridiculous increase of customs and taxes from next year on.
The next government has the following alternative:
going on to feed the many lost souls in the public service (30,000 or 40,000?) + printing money + using NIS as public ATM + higher taxes -> result: economy, NIS and currency will collapse, doom and gloom
cut down the public service by at least 10,000 appointed officers + erasing or privatizing state agencies + debt restructuring -> result: 20% unemployment, NIS reduced, prospect uncertain.
What will NOT work is debt restructuring + keeping the many civil servants. You cannot remedy a structural problem (aka civil servants) through a one-time measure.
Should former Chairman Tony Marshall be held to account for the NIS dumping EMERA shares?
Was it a slip when Marla Duckeran let slip the foreign reserves was now at 300 million?
Was he not opposed to the sale of the Emera shares?
Was he not shafted shortly after this sale went through?
Did the PM not then moved the NIS from under Chris Sinckler’s portfolio and gave it to dumb Esther?
I was told that when the Director of the NIS was objecting to the way the minister of finance was taking up NIS money as he liked, the MOF used a veiled threat to the Director……….you better cooperate, or else……..the Director asked or else what….the MOF never replied.
The MOF should personally be held accountable for the misuse of our NIS monies as well as the Directors like Justin Robinson. He is complicit in the rape of the NIS fund………these people pretend to be men of integrity and sit down on boards just to be important and allow these morons to do as they like.
This minister of finance acts and behaves just like some of the thugs he represents.
The Government having had Shortfalls for many years in its Revenue, Borrowed the National Insurance Money Giving the National Insurance an IOU. So the National Insurance was Satisfied, they were Solvent but all the Cash the NIS had was going to the Government to pay their Current Account.
And it went On and On giving them an IOU and Taking All Their Money. So who do you think has to Repay the NIS?
Is it the Government or is it Every Bajan?
The Government does not make money in which they can pay it back. The Way we are Heading it seems that Government does Not Work for Us…We Exist to work for them making us Serfs to the State!!
Here we have to pay NIS TWICE because the Government wasted the money without making any Meaningful Changes to Reduce their Appetite and to Change their Direction.
Remember what Margaret Said…
@ prodigal Son
The MOF should personally be held accountable for the misuse of our NIS monies as well as the Directors like Justin Robinson. He is complicit in the rape of the NIS fund………these people pretend to be men of integrity and sit down on boards just to be important and allow these morons to do as they like
‘He’ does NOT pretend to be a man of principle….
Too many people know that he is PURELY a NATO man…
No Action… (shiite) Talk Only…
There has been a deliberate policy all around the world to transfer public assets into private hands and government institutions have been the main conduits.
It is therefore surprising that you would want to rightly condemn the officials heading these organs but at the same time heap praise on the leaders of private business which have been the targets and main beneficiaries of these massive transfers.
Of course, none of these matters could be properly understood unless within a context of a financialized economy.
No wonder the NIS Fund is in trouble, no structured management practices in place, it’s the usual political bullying, I am your master, oneupism mentally where those of limited intellect who found themselves with titles and status they never earned and certainly dont deserve, suddenly realized they have manmade power over others.
No wonder everything is broken on the island.
You can be a cause of great concern to Bushie at times yuh know…!!! 🙂
Whereas it is understood and expected that these things will escape the Dribbler and others, …that a fella of your intellectual acumen can so often miss the logic can be scary…. It means there is VERY little hope for this world.
When people allow themselves to be elected to SOCIETAL LEADERSHIP positions, they are taking on responsibilities that are mostly WAY beyond their comprehension.
Responsibility for the growth and development for the people that they allow themselves to be elected to lead.
Responsibility for justice, righteousness, cleanliness and and health….
…for education, …for providing for future generations….. etc
Boss… IT IS A MASSIVE UNDERTAKING.
When a private sector leader is appointed, he is taking on responsibility to be THE boss-albino-centric.
To acquire as much as is humanely possible (moral or immoral, ethical or unethical, righteous or unrighteous) for that organisation, independent of the concerns or considerations of all others.
These are two diametrically different animals that must be judged accordingly.
HOWEVER, a VERY wise societal leader may be able to convince /entice/ coerce/ browbeat a private sector leader into CHOOSING to execute his albino-centric objectives through moral, ethical, and even righteous methodologies….. it IS possible.
Perhaps you can see now how Bushie could be so pissed with a societal leader who defers to the private sector mantra …while at the same time admiring a private sector leader who is good at his (albeit albino-centric) trade…. while showing ethical inclinations.
Yuh gotta give Jack his jacket….. and yuh gotta judge persons against the ROLE that they have chosen (or been given) to play…
If politicians REALLY understood what they were getting themselves into when they offer to become societal leaders, almost ALL of the current lot would run hard… indeed, we would ALL take a VERY different approach to seeking out and appointing our leaders…. if we had any idea of what we were doing when we select ‘leaders’….
I have a friend who, after being home on sick leave in 2015 because of a work related injury to her leg, retired from work medically unfit in June 2016, Unfortunately, during that time, (between 2015 and 2016), she received only THREE (3) sickness benefit cheques.
An officer from the NI Department visited her to obtain the relevant information so as to process her medically unfit claim. She was also informed by NIS that since she is applying for invalidity benefits, she would no longer be eligible to receive survivor’s benefit (her husband died a few years ago) and it was immediately discontinued.
What annoyed my friend even further was the fact that she was given seven (7) different excuses (IN ANY ORDER) on each occasion she called the NIS department to query the status of her invalidity benefit:
1) The cheque was awaiting signature
2) The printer was not working
3) The Director of NIS changed something in the system that prevented the cheques from being printed
4) The cheque was in the mail
5) They were experiencing difficulty in processing the claim
6) The NIS does not have any money
7) The cheque was either posted the same week or was to be posted the next week
She has only received TWO (2) invalidity benefit cheques since June 2016, one in March 2017 and the other one in August 2017. And this was because on the last occasion she visited the NIS office, she cried because of frustration and someone took pity on her.
How do the employees at the NIS think? Here is a woman whose only other means of income was discontinued and the people in the NIS department can’t work out her benefits and pay them in a timely manner. After all, similarly to those in the NIS, this lady has bills to pay.
The speculation is that the NIS is experiencing a cash flow crunch.
The 7 answers are consistent. Each one is a different way of saying #6.
How can NIS have money…when COW, baloney, jerkham and Four Seasons have it locked away in their various scams…?
The challenge with the NIS is that the government is delinquent in paying NIS contributions and when it does has been in government securities. A real monopoly scenario.
Exactly……each excuse is a subtle way of saying “de NIS brek.”
Yes, government is repaying the NIS with bonds.
But since government is experiencing “cash flow” problems, where will they source approximately $400M when government papers mature in 2021 and 2022?
This is the national conversation we should be having. It addresses leadership which includes management and governance. The government has little wiggle room given the window of three months into the next general election to flash creative bookkeeping strategies. There is always the option to increase the statutory requirements to hold government paper by banks, credit unions and insurance companies.
I wish I could settle my debts like the government is doing with NIS. Would it not be wonderful to settle a bill with an IOU? Only in Barbados. Try missing a payment or two to NIS and see how quickly an enforcement officer will visit followed by a High Court order of intent to prosecute. Place the shoe on the other foot and government (Lucifer’s daughter/son) will rewrite the rules as they go along. Please be reminded fools in government, that (future) history can also be reversed and those convicted of social disorder today and considered criminals can one day be revered and seen as saviors of the people and elevated to national status. We could do with one or two more National Heroes.
Was Charles Herbert, the highly ‘respected actuary’, involved in the Mutual and if so was he part of the de-mutualisation?
If he is the same, then he has aa lot of explaining to do about the process of de-mutualisation, over and above the political obstruction about having black directors.
It is my belief, that the members of the Mutual were robbed of what was rightly there in the process of de-mutualisation because the members and politicians did not understand what it was about, and the loud mouths came in with their ‘political’ demands.
@Artax August 27, 2017 at 8:45 AM #
“where will they source approximately $400M when government papers mature in 2021 and 2022?”
Instead of paying in BBD, they will simply exchange the old matured papers with new papers. A new parliamentary bill will provide the legal basis. The new papers will contain various clauses for haircut, lower interest, extended maturation and even insolvency. Look what happened to the creditors of Greece: They had one paper in 2009 and ended with 10(!) papers in 2012 with different maturation and different value in their pockets. The transaction costs to sell these papers are higher than keeping them, so the papers are basically not marketable anymore.
Can the NIS afford not to get the best price for its C&W shares with all of these money issues?
Tell us -does the average Barbadian care about this matter?
With the Caribbean and particularly Barbados’ governments inability to manage their citizen’s money efficiently, competently and without corruption and with the slaves of parliament’s inability to sit with international players and negotiate contracts that benefit their people and not those they negotiate with….this article is definitely a cause for concern, it was written fpr a very valid reason.
“Caribbean region may face oil exploitation
Aug 26, 2017 Comments
Will the Caribbean region be next on the list of countries exploited for its natural oil and gas resources? It may happen. Reports have it that the big hitters, American companies like ExxonMobil and Hess, have turned their sights toward the islands. Will this bring good fortune to the citizens of these countries or will it bring more problems to the region? Only time will tell as the explorations by the major oil companies continues.
According to a CARICOM Energy Policy Report done in March 2013, Trinidad and Tobago are the largest oil producers among the CARICOM countries, followed by Suriname. Barbados has also been exploring the possibility of oil in its backyard in recent years. Back in 1998 they operated a refinery but closed it and began sending its oil to Trinidad and Tobago for processing. Other refineries have been operating in Suriname, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
The production in Trinidad has slowed progressively and new exploration has not yet started. Guyana has now joined in with Trinidad and Tobago as a major player in the oil industry because two years ago, ExxonMobil discovered some major reservoirs on the Liza oil fields and Payara reservoir. They have found approximately 500 million barrels. In Suriname, ExxonMobil has identified a potential for oil. This area is now being referred to as the Guyana-Suriname Basin.
By 2020 ExxonMobil will be drilling in Guyana with partners Hess and Nexxen, its American and Chinese partners. They are getting excited with the idea of drilling five more promising prospects by 2018, and then perhaps a dozen more … the numbers just keep going up. Newspapers report that “Guyana could be producing 120,000 barrels per day by 2020, and more than 400,000 by the mid-2020s.”
This is very exciting for some of these countries because many of them are listed among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. I spoke to a local Guyanese-American and she shared with us that her family members are concerned about what further exploration will mean to the environment.
“When we watch television covering all of the exploration that is going on, it seems that there is always some negative impact,” she said. “Exploration can kill the coral reef which will eventually kill off the fish. That will have an adverse impact on the fishing industry. Yes, finding oil off the shores of our country will create new jobs but at what cost? I think we are better off just continuing to exist as we have for centuries, off the land. We don’t need our country destroyed.”
The governments of these countries are not viewing it from that standpoint, they are endeavoring to strengthen their economies and become competitive on the world stage. They feel this is their prime opportunity to become a player in the oil industry and liberate their citizens from being slaves to the tourist industry.
So the main question is how will the government spend the money from these oil deals? Guyanese news reports the possibility of a sovereign wealth fund and projects to boost long-term growth: infrastructure changes with roads connecting the capital of Georgetown to the interior cities and Brazil; a modernized port; hydro-electric schemes; better health care and schools.
Whatever they do, they must not fail to realize is that this is a Catch-22 situation. They have to find that balance where they are able to utilize what nature gave them while working on revitalizing their economy. Oil may not be the answer for them. Maybe the best route is to continue to do the long-term research into renewable energy that will be long-lasting.”
David, apparently not. Or it may be the lack of media coverage regarding the poor $2.86 offer from C&W WI. Those persons in charge of the NIS and various pension and mutual funds with investments in C&W should be interested in this matter.
You should rest comfortable full in the knowledge that Chairman Justin Robinson is aware of the workings of the listed companies. Although truth be told the USD60 million should force even the dumb to ask questions.
The people responsible for these investments should be interested
Will post the above on FB Group.
For the NIS, 3,118,047 shares at $2.86 would be $8.9 million, but 3,118,047 shares at a more realistic valuation of $6.30 would be $19.6 million. Add to this the future income generated by $8.9 million versus $19.6 million.
as posted on an earlier C&W thread, Sir Hilary is a director. The same Sir Hilary who has been vocal on many issues related to the “public interest”. He was so interested, that he managed to attend 1 of 4 Board Meetings and 1 of 3 Committee meetings. I am reasonably sure he is a Sagicor rep, as he also sits on the Sagicor Board, and directly/indirectly they own/manage a greater share of C&W than all the other minority owners you listed combined.
Sagicor, along with NIS should be pushing their case. However, failure to be proactive over the past few years, leaves them now in a sticky situation, because they really have little power. It is like shutting the stall door after the horse has bolted.
‘Is the NIS fund cash poor’.
The NIS fund is clearly a shambles, both by balance sheet and operating assessment measures. There is no way that the proportion of Government debt held by NIS should be at the level it is at.
Let us be blunt and real about this. The NIS has been a slush fund, backup to that main slush fund, the ‘consolidated fund’.
The NIS is clearly under funded and as high profile people you mention have noted, government has not been paying employer nor employee contributions in.
How can a fund be solvent with reduced revenue and expenditures the same?
How can a fund be solvent when the investments that it holds are worthless or at least worth substantially less than the nominal value.
The NIS was a BRILLIANT idea that was conceived by COMMUNITY-CENTRIC thinkers.
It took collective contributions to ensure that everyone enjoyed a minimum standard of living – even in times of stress in their lives.
When the albino-centric low-lifes took control, it suffered the fate of all things that become subject to the control of selfish, wicked, spiteful people….. no more interest in community good, …just PERSONAL GRAFT.
Much like a PARRO getting his hands on the family savings account, and our community asset is now worth shit.
Imagine people like Kellman helping to decide that he and his PARRO mates in parliament were the best people to ‘invest’ our family savings…. building a lotta shiite buildings and multi-story car parks …. just because they could (…get kickbacks).
But then again, ….WE sat back and allowed the PARROS to control the bank book….
Even now, WE just marched up and down Bridgetown in the hot sun …. and the Parros are STILL doing as they like….
We must be BBBBBBs too…
…and a BBBBB people ALWAYS get exactly what they deserve.
@Bushie. I get it. But those who put themselves forward for public service should have the best interest of the country at heart, paramount.
We used to have that. Now we do not.
I understand that at the public seminar last week, the point was made and confirmed by Marla Ducharan, that the NIS would need to be recapitalized.
The question then is, with what, from what??? Where is the money going to come from to do this?
IMF is now a certainty. However, under IMF there will be scrutiny on spending.
I wonder then why there is a delay in going with an IMF program, knowing that the IMF will expect to supervise expenditures?
@June Naime August 26, 2017 at 10:54 PM “Remember what Margaret Thatcher siad ‘the problem with sociaism is thatyou eventually run out of other people’s money”
Maggie Thatcher is dead, let her stay dead ok.
It is a great pity that she and her kind never thought to say “that the problem with capitalism and slavery is that you eventually run out of other people’s forced labour.”
If the British would pay with interest for the more that 200 years of other people’s forced labour there would be enough money in the NIS fund to last for hundreds of years.
Is the problem money inflows to the NIS Fund or decisions affecting outflows.
@Prodigal Son August 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM “these people…sit down on boards just to be important.”
Dear Prodigal: Just a short note to tell you that sitting on boards does not make a person important.
And it does not matter whether it is a DLP board or a BLP board.
@Artax August 27, 2017 at 8:45 AM “But since government is experiencing “cash flow” problems, where will they source approximately $400M when government papers mature in 2021 and 2022?”
That will be Mia’s problem.
your question is not specific enough. If one invests in a Bond, and at maturity you get another bond, instead of cash, an outflow decision has affected your inflows? Given the multitude of other possibilities, without an annual report, it is like throwing darts in the dark, to GUESS exactly what the NIS is doing.
It depends on the yield and to what extent is the bond tradable/cashable? Seriously, you are correct.
Why is the government lagging on making the recent NIS Actuarial Report public? There is the whiff of a stench rising!
…without an annual report, it is like throwing darts in the dark…
Skippa, the only thing that could be worse would be to turn on the light …and find out that the dartboard is actually drawn on your ass, ….and that a bunch of international gangsters are standing around eyeing you – with some big-ass darts in hand….
The boat from the Bahamas, has encountered rough weather. The Report should reach by Xmas.
Stench rising? The NIS decomposition occurred sometime ago, that was smelly. Today there is just bones, they don’t smell.
I would suggest we immediately seek Republic status, that will change the conversation and shift the focus.
@ Crusoe August 28, 2017 at 5:36 PM
“The question then is, with what, from what??? Where is the money going to come from to do this?
IMF is now a certainty. However, under IMF there will be scrutiny on spending.
I wonder then why there is a delay in going with an IMF program, knowing that the IMF will expect to supervise expenditures?”
After dillydallying for too long at that fork in the road we have finally turned into the avenue of commonsense.that leads to the lender of last resort.
It’s a pity the medicine will have to be ‘more’ bitter and the proposed period of recovery much longer and significantly more turbulent had such a decision been made in early 2014 when Sophia’s voice of wisdom was loud and clear.
The longer the stupid procrastination of that date with destiny the more the Fumbling arrogant administration is painting itself into the corner of a sharp devaluation the longer it resists the inevitable visit to Dr. IMF.
If he and his gang had any decency and respect for Barbados they would ask the people for a mandate in October to do what has to be done before the financial shit hits the economic fan early in 2018.
Either get a fresh mandate to do what has to be done or pass the baton to another administration to carry the shitty end of the economic stick waiting to flagellate poor Barbados; a once good country but now saddled with a bandit of a government.
You serious Miller? This crew is a creative lot. The fork is still ahead. Don’t mind the sign said “Cul de Sac” miles back, they been building a new road further down. Surely in a change to a Republic they can cut loose some of the current debt, renegotiate a bunch more, maybe change the dollar and develop a whole new set of rules and laws. And election criteria. Froon for President!!!
@NorthernObserver August 29, 2017 at 8:37 AM #
That may be the plan, but if they go that route, we could as well pull up stumps and go home.
Confidence would go from zero to the negative range under Republic status.
Whose confidence? Investors or voters? There are several saleable Republic benefits, voters may bite on. Preferable to “facts” and track record, which only says “the others are wusser than we”.
http://www.nis.gov.bb/investments/ at March 31 2017
Government could sell part interest in its profitable assets like the port by issuing shares attaching call options, which government would have the discretion to exercise. The exercise price could reflect a minimum yearly return of maybe 8% to investors including dividends on the shares should the options be called. This would allow government’s intention to be the permanent disposal of the part interest with the option to repurchase the shares by an agreed period if finances allow and the asset is badly operated outside of government’s control while protecting the investors.
The NIS soaked up government public debts like tourists cocaine from Blackrock. Once you started, you never will stop.
The more reason why the NIS Director and Chairman should ensure that the NIS is not short changed on the return on its investments. So Mr. Carrington and Mr. Robinson, did the NIS accept $2.86 from its C&W shares?