New National Insurance Board Reads More of the Same

The following comments by Northern Observer were extracted from the NIS.Government Paper for Trash blog.

Comment 1
WHO is on the NIS Board? WHO replaces Carrington as head executive?

I rarely agree with T.Inniss, but what claims to Chairmanship or leadership of a body as complex and important as the NIS does Mr. G-E have? Being the BEC rep on the last Board is not a ringing endorsement. This has a very smelly political odour. This is a more important role than most Ministerial appointments. And this AP is showing up in too many significant roles, a little separation is a good thing, especially in Financial related roles.

The last Board was a monumental failure, largely I believe, because of persistent political interference. This new one, at least the reported lead directors, is set up for a similar potential failure.

Comment 2

Old Board

  • Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman
  • Mr. Wismar Greaves, Deputy Chairman
  • Mr. Martin DaSilva, Member
  • Mr. Ian Gooding-Edghill, representative of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation
  • Mr. Colin Jordan, representative of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association
  • Mr. Victor Felix, Chief Labour Officer (Ag.)
  • Ms. Avonda Carrington, nominee of the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs
  • Ms. Roslyn Smith, General Secretary, National Union of Public Workers
  • Ms. Toni Moore, General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union

Sooooo, The former BHT rep Jordan, is now the Minister in Charge
The former BEC rep Gooding-Edehill, (successful BLP candidate in 2018 election) is now Chairman. Persaud replaces Greaves as Deputy, Lawyer Haynes replaces DaSilva as member.and we await the other 6 who are nominees as shown above.

Remind me….is this the Board of Barbados Hotel and Tourism or the NIS?

Shows the PM is clearly NOT SERIOUS about having the NIS as anything but a continued long arm of the MoF. Pure patronage. After 12 long years of NO Annual Reports and this is the best she can do?

Government’s restructure program requires holders of government debt to agree to new terms and brings into sharp focus the critical role of the National Insurance Scheme, and of interest, its investment policy executed under successive governments.

The NIS is the largest holder of government paper and was mandated by the last government to buy what has translated to be ‘high risk’ government paper. The mismanagement of the fund threatens first to disrupt the peace of mind of our senior citizens who have done what was asked of them in the productive years.

A badly managed NIS threatens the social stability of Barbados.

Has the NIS been true to its tagline- its your lifeline?

The blogmaster has posted many NIS related items in the last decade. Sadly, there has not been any improvement in the perception of the BU household regarding how the fund is managed. Such a position is supported by the most recent 15th NIS Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Fund, Published, AND, the inability of NIS Boards to lay up to date audited financials in parliament for over a decade.

Here is the real issue for the blogmaster.

Successive NIS Boards appointed by DLP and BLP governments will continue to influence investment decisions because it is seen as a ‘lender of last resort’. A new approach would have seen the Mia Mottley government implementing measures to ensure the NIS is ring-fenced from political interference.

The blogmaster has to agree with comments that question the composition of the current NIS Board. It is evident there is no cataclysmic shift in the government’s approach.


132 thoughts on “New National Insurance Board Reads More of the Same

  1. @VC
    Understood and agreed.
    You omitted the option of speaking out like DrW and getting fired.
    Possibly one option given the path the NIS has taken, is a reconstruction of the Board, and the introduction of an AGM.
    Measures to improve accountability, in all aspects of its operation.

  2. I am NOT AN ECONOMIST NEITHER AM I AN ACCOUNTANT, as many of you commentators here, i am a “watcher of people”, so to speak heheheheheh

    Mine therefore is not a science but it requires some art and observation and patience.

    It would therefore seem to me that, SINCE SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS seem incapable of staying way from the “clutch po*ey” of the NIS, that the IMF should have, as a condition of its loan, prescribed what the government can and cannot do with this local piggy bank.

    I mean after all sometimes, even when de fadder warn you not to go back by de house to he daughter or not he going shoot you, you still try a ting out by the pear tree, by the gully, and she mudder, who is familiar with pear tree tracks on the back of legs, tell de fadder, who come and complain for you while you in Youth Fellowship and everybody in de church and de district find out and (sorry de ole man get carried away with that story)

    Anyway, wunna get the imagery of what “not being able to stay way from something because it is good.” by my dirty ole man mind

    It would seem to me, an amateur at these things NIS, that the existing NIS portfolio is junk bonds and investments in useless unrealised and unrealiseable income. Yet it is always being used for shady deals

    De bright son of a neighbour here, albeit that de boy a lil “sugary”, is part of his school’s gifted kids programme. Dat boy actually pun a programme called ***, i going get the link for it, but it is many of the schools here where they learn to invest with a virtual portfolio and things like that

    Why cant a pilot be established where as a preliminary sortie into the real world of finances that such a virtual investment be undertaken by a select team of the NIS in conjunction with someone from the Central Bank of Barbados?

    De ole remember that there was a Cherverning Scholar by the name of Kirk ?? who, 18 years ago, was such a whiz kid and he did so well with his mastery of the Virtual Stock Market that it afforded him a second degree all paid!!

    This is not rocket science and what is needed is people who understand how International Investments for sovereign entities need to be managed

  3. Apart from the silliness that is BERT, what is the BLP government’s economic strategy to rescue the economy? Silence is no excuse.

  4. Tron October 5, 2018 2:54 PM

    “Jester Ince was the figure who told Barbadians two years ago that the Barbados Dollar has no value. So Jester made some good point despite the fact that he was Big Sinck´s bloody assistant.”

    If “Jester Ince” said that “the Barbados Dollar has no value”, he was not making “some good point”, he was telling an outright lie.
    I am aware of the fact that many persons on BU believe that the Barbados Dollar is overvalued. However, just as many, or more, believe that the 2 to 1 exchange rate has served us well in the past, and so we should continue to use it.Not one of them asserted that the Barbados Dollar has no value.
    The real value of the Barbados Dollar lies in the way it snares corrupt politicians. The Barbados Dollar pales in comparison to the US Dollar and other international currencies. The politician who doesn’t want Barbadians to know their business, spends a lot of their working hours establishing international networks, and closing international deals.Ultimate kickbacks are measured in foreign currency and deposited in foreign accounts.
    This was the “international” business model used by errant politicians in the beginning. Somewhere along the way, the rules changed. Using the USA as an example, Barbadian laws, broken by Barbadian politicians, have now become the basis for laying money laundering charges in USA courts. All of the foreign currencies misappropriated from Barbadian taxpayers, and sitting in foreign jurisdictions are now at risk of confiscation. Uneasy now lies the head that knows of millions of stolen dollars lying exposed in foreign accounts!

    The corrupt politician who has to take whatever he/she can get from “local” sources, and then have these Barbadian Dollars deposited into a local bank account or credit union, still feels protected by the system up to this point. No charge, no trial, no jail time foreseen. When things change, these politicians will be on the hook for money laundering. The banks might be the first to bring them to the attention of the authorities. The central bank might be powerless to intervene and save any individual.

  5. Many on BU weep for the pensioners. Not me.

    The pensioners wanted free bus fares and they got free bus fares. Remember the advert in 2013 and how they voted in 2013.

    The greedy pensioners must be reminded that Barbados is still no brothel. So they should not expect to get the invoice for insane voting BEFORE the bus drive. The free fares worked more like a broken marriage. After the Barbadian pensioners opted for 10 years insane fiscal policies, they receive now the fat invoice.

    Lesson to learn: There is no such thing like a free bus drive. There is only a bus drive where you are billed ten years later with 500 % interest.

  6. @ Walter Blackman October 5, 2018 6:54 PM

    Walter, It is always a pleasure to read your comments. I agree that Barbados needs a stable currency. My only concern is that the nominal value of the Barbados Dollar is above productivity.

    Many tourists tell me that Barbados is too expensive. Around 2000 the prices in Barbados were moderate. Now they are higher than Switzerland, but you do not get any added value for it. It is impossible to attract more tourists since only the top 1%-earners from abroad can afford a holiday in Bim.

  7. @ PUDRYR at 6 :16 PM

    Why is it, like slaves, we need some external force /power to do what we should do for our own welfare? We need no IMF to tell us we should not overload a segregated pension fund with GoB Treasury notes, debentures, loans to build GoB buildings under the BOLT system etc

    .NIS executives and directors have gone to International conferences where the experiences of countries that pursued this practice caused problems. So the consequences of such practices is in the living memory of the Institution.
    As i said we have the skills.It is not rocket science. One requires some advanced maths and statistics.But there are computerised packages that do the computations,.Some are black boxes. But as usual if the expert is foreign ,he is better. Local talent is undervalued. Too bad.

    Every economist knows the dangers of excessive quantitative easing and credit creation. Last time it took place BNB was the scape goat. This time around the NIS is the scape goat. These are areas taught in the economics program at UWI.

    So the bottom line:Keep the politicians away from making final decisions which are better left to the technocrats. Do we need to write that into the Constitution? And stop taking advice from persons not qualified to do so.

  8. Every economist knows the dangers of excessive quantitative easing and credit creation. Last time it took place BNB was the scape goat. This time around the NIS is the scape goat. These are areas taught in the economics program at UWI(Quote)


    What are the dangers of excessive quantitative easing? If liquidity is the fear, and thus fuelling asset bubbles, that can easily be managed. When was there quantitative easing as a deliberate policy (as against a government simply mismanaging the economy) in Barbados? And what led to the demise of the BNB, apart from an awful miscalculation by Owen Arthur?
    Have you ever heard about a form of government called a democracy?

  9. “.The politician who doesn’t want Barbadians to know their business, spends a lot of their working hours establishing international networks, and closing international deals. Ultimate kickbacks are measured in foreign currency and deposited in foreign accounts..”

    a la Donville du bracelet de cheville..

    Ah heard many ministers from the former administration who believed themselves invincible and untouchable are all deathly afraid of touching those million dollar bloated offshore accounts et chient des briques….as they damn well should…all those accounts should be frozen and the money returned to the people of Barbados.

    If Mia had just one functioning brain cell in her head that is what would have been done au cours des quatres derniers mois..

    ……return the money to the people, but no, she is telling herself she has some right to write off those thefts of millions of dollars, LIKE IF IT IS HER MONEY, but if it was, she would have made sure someone went to prison for stealing from her…so I don’t know what game she is playing….at the expense of the people, who now has a 290 million dollar debt to repay the IMF…tranche by tranche….

    ……that shit could never be fair when all she has to do is ask FBI for help to recover all the stolen money these ministers earned through crime and drag some of the other thieves who ripped off the NIS off the island, freeze their accounts and return the money..

  10. By the way Jepter Ince qualifications are: BBA in Insurance and Risk Management, and an MBA in Finance. He fits TInniss’ idea of the requirements to chair the NIS Board. What are the the results of his tenure at NIS? One need not be a specialist in an organisation’s core activity to successfully manage its Board. This idea is entrenched in our myopic, outdated way of thinking, and it inhibits our national development. Time for me to take a break from BU, where some contributors are either experts in every sphere or only believe what they write when it does not apply to the person in the mirror. lol.

  11. @ Enuff at 10:02 AM

    Is certification in a subject area the same as qualifications for a job?
    Earlier in this discussion Simple Simon made the point that a transcript from the Institution granting the diploma is more useful in assessing candidates for a job. We have for years asked for references from persons acquainted with the candidates ability. We also do face to face interviews. Even with all these indicators some misfits still slip through the selection process.
    One also need to ask what is the rating of the diploma- granting institution.
    My remarks have nothing to do with the gentleman under reference in your submission. They maybe too general for some bloggers but need to be considered.

  12. @ Vincent Codrington,

    Still waiting for your answer to when was quantitative easing adopted as economic policy in Barbados?

  13. @Enuff
    One need not be a specialist in an organisation’s core activity to successfully manage its Board. This idea is entrenched in our myopic, outdated way of thinking, and it inhibits our national development.
    I’ve excerpted part of your post but essentially what you are hinting is that paper qualifications mean diddly squat when it comes to fulfilling certain obligations so showboating Harvard, Cornell etc. means that they were there for the beer.

    I do partially agree that one doesn’t have to be a guru in a particular field to successfully manage it but it depends on the field and the supporting cast. Here you have a body where the majority of the decision makers are there due to their positions within certain organisations and not for any skill or expertise that they can assist with the institution’s mandate and unless they can provide particular insight into the direction of the enterprise they may as well be passengers on a vessel on an uncharted journey.

    BTW I notice that the Chair is one of only 3 MPs without the preface Hon. attached to his name, one of the downsides of a 30-0 “redwash” is that some of the boys will be disappointed so there has to be an opening somewhere but one would think that a Cornell alumnus would surely have made the grade to one of the more prominent Cabinet positions.

  14. The main function of the chair is to guide the discussion,hear all views, and arrive at a consensus. He needs not be technically qualified in the subject but he needs to be perceptive and wise. The technical competence has to come from Management and Staff who prepare the Board papers.

  15. NIS in good shape after debt restructuring

    Article by
    Colville Mounsey Published on
    June 28, 2019
    The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) will not be hampered in the long run as a result of the major haircut that the state-run social security system took when Government restructured the domestic debt under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.

    This revelation was made by NIS Manager of Investments Luther Jones who explained that while the fund holds a significant amount of the now lowered Government paper, the exposure is not as great as some pundits have suggested.

    Responding to a question during a forum hosted by the NIS at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Wednesday night, Jones explained that while the programme would result in losses initially, the backend of the arrangement will put things back on an even keel.

    “The reduction in the bonds will result in a reduction in the principal and interest. However, the interest rate in the latter half has increased by 100 per cent and it is anticipated that the amount of money to be received at the end of the 25-year period will compensate,” he said, as several members of the audience asked for more specifics.

    Government owed the NIS $460 million in arrears up to July last year. As at September last year the NIS held just over $3.2 billion in government paper, which means that the fund will bear the brunt of the debt restructuring. Under the domestic debt restructuring bondholders will get reduced interest, longer maturities and in some cases, a reduction in principal.

    The NIS will see write-offs of Government debt of about 17.5 per cent per annum for the next four years, while the Central Bank’s Government debt will be written off to the amount of around $1.6 billion or 16 per cent of GDP. This is expected to give Government some short-term fiscal space, but pundits say both institutions would eventually need to be recapitalized.

    Back in January, former Prime Minister Professor Owen Arthur, criticised Government’s decision to restructure some aspects of its debt.

    Questioning Government’s decision to restructure the debt held by the NIS Arthur a former minister of finance, said this move was nothing but “reckless endangerment”. Pointing out that the NIS’ funds did not belong to Government or the National Insurance Board, Arthur said the money belonged to the people of Barbados and was only being managed by the fund “on the basis of a trustee relationship”. He therefore expressed concern that the fund could take a major haircut of close to $1 billion as a result of the debt restructuring.

    However, Jones assured Barbadians that NIS is in a financially healthy position with a number of investments that would more than make up for any shortfall.

    “The National Insurance does have a sizeable amount of Government bonds but at this point the fund is very viable and I don’t think we have a problem going forward… At this point we have about $4 billion in investments and we believe that would help with the situation,” he said.

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