Pensions Under the Barbados Revenue Authority

Submitted by Frank Forde

Officers from the legacy agencies who opted to go over to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in 2014 are still waiting on a settlement of their pension benefits.

When the Barbados Revenue Authority was set up there were some decisions that impacted on some employees and which as a matter of urgency must be addressed. The matter concerns pension payable to former employees of the legacy agencies. There are divergent views on whether the employees of the legacy agencies were seconded from the public service to BRA for two years or were they employees of BRA, as the functions and their duties were taking over by the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) on the 1st April,2014. My analysis below will show that the officers of the legacy agencies who opted to go over to the Barbados Revenue Authority on the 1st April 2014 ceased to be covered under the Pensions Act, Cap 25, Public Service Act, Cap 29 and the Pensions Regulations, 1947.

If one looks at the situation which was faced by the Ministry of Finance, consultants and the project team from the BRA, it was the problems of staffing the Authority with the necessary skills to carry out the functions assigned to the Authority There were no other employees except those from the legacy agencies with the required training that were available to carry out such functions, so there was no other alternative but to take over the employees of the legacy agencies.

Prior to the Barbados Revenue Authority Act 2014-1 being proclaimed, personnel from the Ministry of Finance and the project team held a meeting in December 2014 with officers of the legacy agencies at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre. In attendance were technocrats from the Ministry of Finance, PAD, Ministry of Civil Service and the project team from the Barbados Revenue Authority. This meeting informed the officers of the transitioning of the legacy agencies to the proposed Barbados Revenue Authority.

The following options were put to the officers in blunt terms:

  1. The transitioning officers were informed and warned that should they not opt to go to the Barbados Revenue Authority, they would be without a job and those who were not at the pensionable age would have to wait until the said age in order to qualify for pension benefits; The case re Campbell vs GOB at the CCJ was quoted.
  2. Officers who were 60 years and over would not be hired by the Authority;
  3. Officers who did not agree to work with the Authority would have to return to the public service or retire if there were no vacancies available;
  4. Officers would not be disadvantage in respect of their pension benefits;
  5. They pension rights would continue under the Authority.

A letter from the Barbados Revenue Authority, dated 10th March,2014 was issued to the Officers where an offer of a position with the Authority on a secondment, the effective date being 1st April,2014.

With the coming into force of the proclamation of the Barbados Revenue Authority Act 2014-1 on the 1st April, 2014, the officers of the affected legacy agencies had not informed the Public Service Commission of their intentions nor were they told the effects of the changes arising from the proclamation of the Act. At the 1st April 2014, officers who had not opted to go to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) were locked out of the computer system. These officers in the legacy agencies sat in the offices until they received notification from PAD, either to be transferred to another department or placed on special leave. The other officers who opted continued to perform the functions that they were doing before the 1st April, 2014 until the 7th April, 2014 when they received a letter from the Personnel Administration Division that the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission had released them on secondment to the Barbados Revenue Authority for the period 2014-04-01 to 2016-03-31. The officers were concern about the secondment as this affected many of them who were acting in higher posts. As a result of the secondment, the affected officers were denied the benefits that were due to them under the Pensions Act, Cap. 25 and the Pensions Regulations,1947. Officers acting ceased on the 1st April 2014 when they transitioned to BRA as they were no longer acting in the public service.

In connection with the pension rights of officers whose rights by law must be preserved under the Pensions Act, Cap.25, Public Service Act, Cap. 29 and the Pensions Regulations,1947, I quote sections of the relevant laws to show the impact on the officers transitioned to the Barbados Revenue Authority. The Public Service Act- Part 1V, Appointment, Transfer, Promotions, Secondments, states at Section 21(1);

  1. “Section 21 (1) Where a person who holds an established office is seconded to service under another Government or under an authority, body or agency approved by the Governor-General for the purposes of this section, referred to as “an approved employer”, that person shall, during the period of the secondment, cease to receive the emoluments attached to that office but shall nevertheless, if the approved employer agrees to pay to the Government of Barbados a contribution in respect of his pension during the period of secondment at the rate prescribed by the Governor- General, be deemed to continue to hold that office for the purposes of the Pensions Act.” Under this Section, there are several conditions that were not satisfied; (a) There were no provisions in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the legacy agencies for the Financial years 2014-2016, therefore, there are no emoluments attached to those offices. (b) There were no contributions made by the Barbados Revenue Authority to the Government of Barbados in respect of officers’ pensions during the period of the secondment at the rate as prescribed by the Governor-General. (c) There is no rate nor emoluments to calculate the contributions, therefore, the officers cannot be deemed to hold those offices for the purposes of the Pensions Act. Furthermore, under Section 21(2)(a) and(b), the Governor-General cannot appoint persons to those offices as if they were vacant because there are no emoluments attached to them and (d) The Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) was not an approved employer and this was confirmed by the Ministry of the Civil service.
  2. Part 1 – Preliminary 2 of the Public Service Act, Cap 29 states that “in this Act, secondment of a public officer” means the temporary transfer of that officer from a substantive office to another position or employment outside the public service at the request of the Government of Barbados or the entity to which the officer is transferred.” This shows that BRA is not an approved employer for the purposes of the Pensions Act, Cap.25 as the secondment is outside of the public service.
  1. Section 8(1) of the Pensions Act, Cap. 25 states that “Subject to subsections (2), (4) and (5) and section13A (2) no pension, gratuity or other allowances under this Act may be granted to an officer except on his retirement from the public service. One of the following cases which is relevant is the case at Section 8(1)(d) which states that on retirement “on the re-organisation of his office for any purpose.” This case states that an officer may be granted a pension where his office has been reorganised for any purpose.
  1. Section 5 of the Pensions Act, Cap.25 states at section 14 that “If an officer to whom a pension has been granted under this Act is appointed to another office in the public service, the payment of his pension may with his consent, be suspended during the period of his reemployment.” This section does not apply to public officers who were transitioned to BRA.

The following recommendations were made by the Ministry of Civil Service to the Ministry of Finance in 2016;

  1. “that the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) be declared an approved employer and the relevant contributions be made to the Treasury to preserve the pension rights of the seconded officers; and
  2. that the computation of pensions would assume that the service of the transitioning officers was continuous so that any combination of acting in the legacy agencies and the BRA would be included in the calculation. The BRA would pay the difference in the pension due.”
  3. “that the qualifying period for acting to be considered in the emoluments used in the computation of retiring benefits is not less than thirty-six (36) months within the last five (5) years, at the time of retirement.”
  4. “You are therefore directed to act accordingly.” No further action has been taken on this matter. This is usual in Barbados

This is an admission on the part of the Ministry of the Civil service that the Public Administration Department secondment of officers from the legacy agencies to the Barbados Revenue did not comply with the law.

Conclusion:

The above analysis shows that officers from the legacy agencies who opted to go over to the Barbados Revenue Authority took effect from 1st April 2014. This resulted in a termination of their pension rights for the purposes of the Pensions Act, Cap. 25, Public Service Act, Cap. 29 and the Pensions Regulations,1947, consequently, officers transitioned to the Barbados Revenue Authority are entitled to their pension benefits under section 8. (1)(d) which sets out the circumstances in which a pension or gratuity may be granted. As stated before, one of the circumstances is “on the reorganisation of his office for any purpose.” The reorganisation of the office took effect on the 1st April, 2014 when the functions of the legacy agencies were transferred to the Barbados Revenue Authority. The calculation of the pension benefits should also include any benefits under section 19 (7) of the Pensions Regulations, 1947.

49 comments

  • Caswell Franklyn

    This long rambling article starts with the erroneous premiss that these officers from the legacy departments would have lost their pension rights. Nothing is farther from the truth. The problem these officers are experiencing stems from a misinterpretation of the Barbados Revenue Authority Act and the Pensions Act by the Auditor General. As a result, the Auditor General is not approving these officers’ pensions with their service in BRA included. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, THE AUDITOR GENERAL IS WRONG.

    Section 10 of the Barbados Revenue Authority Act provides that the service of officers that were seconded to BRA count for pension under the Pensions Act as if the officer had not been so seconded.

    That section goes on to say that the officers, who accept employment with BRA, shall do so on terms and conditions that are no less favourable than those enjoyed by public officers of proximate rank or public officers performing comparable duties. It also preserved the right to pension, gratuity or other allowance for which the officer would have been eligible had he remained in the public service.

    One of the rights that has been preserved is to have the officers’ pension calculated on the last three years’ salary. My understanding is that the Auditor General is only approving pensions on the lower public service salary that the officer was earning in 2014.

    The Auditor General’s role in the pension process is to certify the calculations not to interpret the law. He got it horribly wrong this time to the detriment of a number of officers who have now retired from BRA.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Vincent Codrington

    How is it possible to lose a pension right if the condition of transfer was no loss of benefits?

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  • Gladys Stanford

    From my experience to the detriment of pensioners the Auditor General gets involved in matters that do not concern him

    Liked by 1 person

  • Is there a case for an urgent national debate about pensions (state, occupational and private, especially after the Clico debacle), or as I prefer to call it, long-term savings? Is this not part of the so-called Singapore model we should copy?

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  • (1) of the Pensions Act, Cap25 states that ” Subject to subsections (2), (4) and (5) and section 13A(2) no pension, gratuity or other allowance under this Act may be granted to an officer except on his retirement from the public service in one of the following cases.”

    Section 8(1) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25 lists the following cases;
    (a) on or after attaining the age of 55 years
    (b) in the case of transfer to other public services in circumstances in which he is permitted by law or the regulations of the service in which he is last employed to retire on pension or gratuity;
    (c) on the abolition of his office;
    (d) on the re-organisation of his office for any purpose;
    (e) on medical grounds;
    (f) on becoming unfit;
    (g) in the case of removal on the ground of inefficiency as provide in this Act;
    (h) on retirement in circumstances not mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g), rendering him eligible for a pension under the Pensions (Governor of Dominions etc.) Acts.
    Now I believe that certain persons might not think that the functions taken over from the legacy agencies do not amount to a re-organisation of the legacy agencies.
    The re-organisation of the office took effect on 1st April, 2014. What does the Pensions Act, Cap 25 states, it states that the officers qualify for pensions, so officers who has attained the qualifying age at the 1st April, 2014 should be receiving their pensions at that date.
    As a result of the above, the officers of the legacy agencies are not public officers on the !st April,2014 for the purposes of the Pensions Act, Cap25, Public service Act, Cap 29 and the Pensions Regulations 1947. There are employees of the public for other purposes.
    Now I turn to Section 10.(1) and (2) of the Barbados Revenue Act ,2014-1. These sections take effect on the !st April, 2014 and cannot take over the rights to pensions in the pension legislation. If BRA wants to use the pension rights they must be included in the BRA Act.
    My conclusion is that the officers of the legacy agencies cannot be seconded to BRA because they do not hold a pensionable office within the meaning of section 2 of the Pensions Act,Cap25. 10. (1) would apply to other officers of the public service.

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  • Mr Forde, please make your contributions easier to read. The audience here is wider than your target audience.

    The original post had a very strong first paragraph and two very strong ending paragraphs.

    For the second post, you jumped right in and your conclusion is not in a separate paragraph.

    Your target audience may have read and understood the whole thing, but guys in the general audience (like myself) will not put in the effort required.

    Wishing you the best outcome in your pursuits.

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  • @ Theo,

    Put aside personal circumstances, it is simply a bad Pensions Act. When the 2003 Pensions Act was in parliament, I took an interest and started communicating with a senior officer about it. I was particularly interested in the regulations, since the primary legislation could not and should not be the only legislation. I was played along.
    Sometime later, a former senior pensions regulator from the UK gave a workshop in the Caribbean on pensions, at the end, someone from Barbados approached him and asked for assistance with their legislation.
    The gentleman, Mr Jackson, told her he could not help and (generously but erroneously) said he knew someone who could help. And gave my name and contact details.
    When I next met up with Mr Jackson, he proudly told me of the encounter and asked if I had heard anything. I said no, and suggested it might have been the person I was communicating with over the past few months.
    @ Theo, I said on a number of occasions on BU, which has been lost in the background hysteria, that part of BERT should be a long-term savings plan (not just pensions, but retirement income); that is the one lesson they should get from the so-called Singapore Model. I have outlined a similar plan in my Notes.
    The one thing about Mr Forde’s submission above I will suggest needs urgent reform is the scheme retirement age of 55. It is ridiculous. For example, a young graduate joins the service at age 22 and after 33 years retires at age 55.
    With longevity averaging 85, for 33 years of work/contributions, that person will be entitled to 30 years of pensions. Do the maths. Who did the actuarial assumptions? Certainly not Walter Blackman.
    Are you surprised the nation’s pensions systems, including the NIS, are bankrupt? This s what you get for Barbadianising every position, regardless of competence.

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  • I like the above comments and I am glad for the contributions made by the various contributors. Contributions help to solve the problems at hand. Before I respond to the above posts, I am trying to put in perspective my thoughts. I am going to ask my self questions and my perceived answers,) ( Q) When did the Barbados Revenue Act came into force?
    (A) 1st April,2014
    (Q) Was this Act retroactive?
    (A) No.
    (Q) What does retroactive means in law?
    (A) It means that the law takes effect from a prior date that is, retrospectively.
    (Q) When did the Pensions Act Cap 25 ceased to cover the employees of BRA?
    (A) 31st March,2014.
    (Q) Explain Why?
    (A) The Pensions Act, Cap 25 only covers public officers, BRA employees ceased to be public officers with effect from the 1st April,2014. The Pensions Act, Cap 25 states certain conditions which must be satisfied and which were not complied with, especially Section 21 of the Public Service Act and Section 8(1)(d).
    (Q) Why are the abolition of his office and on medical grounds treated differently from on the re-organisation of his office for any purpose on retirement in the calculation of pensions and gratuities? (these events are set out in 8(1)(d) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25.)
    (A) I don’t see why they should be treated differently.
    (Q) I am amazed that employees of the affected agencies who were appointed to pensionable posts in the public service would accept a secondment to an non approved employer and an non pensionable posts. What are your views on this situation?
    (A) Threat of redundancy. If this had occurred they would be entitled to pensions
    (Q) You have not answered the question to my satisfaction?
    (A) Officers took the chance hoping that they would finally be employed by BRA but some fell on the wayside and some fell among thorns, Fortune was on their side as they were rescued by the public service and the cost to them in acting allowances etc . That adventure into the unknown was a lost cause.
    (Q) How were pensions calculated for those who went on retirement and why is there a difference in the calculation for those who went over to BRA?
    (A) Officers who were acting and qualified under Section 19(7) of the Pensions Regulations, 1947 were given their dues but those who were seconded were not given their full dues under Section 19(7)
    (Q) What is the position as far as pensions under BRA?
    (A) Officers with BRA for the past 5 years are not covered under a pension fund. As usual in Barbados it takes more than 5 years to make a decision.

    Now that I have completed my Q and A I will try to answer THeOGazerts and Hal Austin concerns.
    THeOgazerts concern was an explanation of a paragraph in the second posts
    What I have done is to list the events that would qualify for pensions as set out in Section 8(1)(d). The events are listed in (a) to (h).
    I went on to say that no one did not consider that the transfer of the functions of four government departments to an organisation outside the public service was a re-organisation in line with Section 8(1)(d) that denied the employees their benefits under the Pensions Act, Cap 25.
    A re-organisation is a technical term for loss of office. If the work of employees are transferred to another organisation (outsourced), the employees are severed or they are reemployed with the new entity. The old contracts with the public service came to an end and new contracts are made with the employees.
    In this case the old employer did not want to end the contract but the new contract would take over the past service of the employees and as a result the employees were denied the benefits that they had accumulated on the 31st March 2014.
    In relation to Mr Austin’ concern, you will see pensions reform in Barbados but only on a limited scale when it is compulsory in that is due to the fact that the country cannot afford it.
    Another point raised by Mr Austin was the pensionable age. I forgot to mention that the age limit under the Pensions Legislation is between 55-67 depending on the date the employees entered the public service.

    i

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mr Forde,
    Were the Civil Service posts abolished by law? Which Law? What date? If the Civil Service posts were never legally abolished, then the persons were were legally seconded, still held public offices and as such were entitled to there Pensions. Have you ever read the Pension rights under the Constitution? Why are Civil Servants always referring to “Acts” and not the Constitution, which is supreme law? Please read the Constitution before you quote laws.

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  • I am submitting some excerpt from the judgement in the case Winston Campbell v The Attorney General of Barbados at the Caribbean Court of Appeal.
    Judgement – Key issues
    Important issues as to the rights of senior civil servants and requires consideration of “the dual dimension of the public employment relationship to which we adverted in Edwards v Attorney General of Guyana (FNi).
    The Attorney General of Barbados the respondent stated that ” it was argued that the inevitable consequences of the statutory abolition in good faith of a unique public office was a retirement from that non -existent office , leaving the former office holder only with the accrued pension rights he had under the terms of his appointment to that office ( unless appointed to a new office in the public service as to continue his pensionable public service.”)

    A report of the results of the inquiry was submitted to the Government in August, 1989. It was proposed that the department be re-organised and certain functions be transferred to the traffic section of the Ministry of Transport and Works. A Cabinet decision was made on the 29th August, 1991 approving a proposal for the re-organisation of the department.

    However, the Court of Appeal did hold that “under Section 13 A(2)(c) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25, abolition of a public office is one of the ways in which there is retirement from the public service, conferring a statutory right to pension benefits as referred to in the terms of the appellant’s appointment.”

    Caribbean Court of Appeal
    At note 26 of the judgement states that “in respect of retiring from the public service it is necessary to refer to Section 13 A (2) and (3) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25, which state as follows:
    (2) Subject to subsections (3) and (6), no pension, gratuity or other allowances under this Act shall be granted to an officer except on his retirement from the public service in one of the following cases:
    (a) ….. ;
    (b)…….;
    (c) on the abolition of his office.”

    At note 27 states that ” Moreover,Regulation 23 of the Pension 1947 Regulations provides for payments of a pension varying according to the length of service, “if an officer holding a pensionable office retires from the public service in consequence of the abolition or re-organisation of his office, and without refusing to accept another pensionable office not less in value than the office of which he was the substantive holder, immediately before such abolition or re-organisation.” No other pensionable office was offered after The Barbados Cabinet approved the abolition of the Appellant’s office in August,1991, nor is there any evidence that a pensionable office of comparable value was available.”

    At note 28 states that “Regulation 23 takes account of negotiations that take place while abolition or re-organisation of a substantive office is being arranged and,in particular, takes account of Regulation 18 of the service Commissions ( public Service) Regulations 1978.”

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  • Mr Forde,
    You have not answered the questions regarding the previous posts that the BRA employees occupied:
    Were the Civil Service posts abolished by law? Which Law? What date?

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  • Mr Cox
    I am quoting relevant sections of the Barbados Constitution that deal with the rights of public servants –
    112(3) ” The salary and allowances payable to the holders of any office to which this section applies and his other terms of service shall not be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment and, for the purposes of this subsection, in so far as the terms of service of any person depend upon the option of that person, the terms for which he opts shall be taken to be more advantageous to him than any other terms for which he might have opted.”

    112 A ” The salaries and allowances payable to the holders of offices established under the Civil Establishment Act and the Defence Act shall not be altered to their disadvantage.”

    Chapter 1X – Miscellaneous and Interpretation.
    117(1) ” In this Constitution –
    ” Public officer” means any office of emoluments in the public service;
    ” Public officer” means the holder of any public office and include any person appointed to act in any such office;
    ” the public service” means, subject to the provisions of subsection (7), the service of the Crown in a civil capacity in respect of the Government of Barbados;

    117(3) ” Any reference in this Constitution to power to make appointments to any office shall be construed as including a reference to power to make appointments on promotion or transfer to that office and to power to appoint a person to act in or to perform the functions of that office during any period during which it is vacant or during which the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of absence or infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) to perform those functions.”

    The Acts which set the entitlement to pensions in the public service are the Pensions Act, Cap 25, Pensions Regulations, 1947,and the Public service Act Cap 29.

    A note was passed to me for comment. The note stated that – “he does not understand why there is a problem with the pension coverage under BRA and the pensions legislation.”
    It is accepted that BRA pension plan will apply to all employees of BRA with effect from the 1st April, 2016
    It is also accepted that pension coverage for public officers would cease on the 31st March,2014 and any accrued pensions due to them to that date would be preserved.
    Pension coverage during the period 1st April, 2014- 31st March,2016 is what is called no man’s land that is, the employees are not sure where they stand.
    At the 1st April, 2014, employees who were acting until further notice were not informed by the Public Service Commission that their acting would cease on the 31st March, 2014. PSC had enough time to inform the officers of the reason for their acting being stopped. The reason was clear, the posts they were acting in would not be available as there were no funds voted for the relevant agencies for the Financial years 2014-2016 for the particular posts or their substantive posts. Now, if this is the position where can these officers go to?. It was stated in the Annual Report 2015 that 316 staff members of the legacy agencies had transitioned to BRA. The funds to pay these officers were in BRA vote. So the answer to the question is go to BRA.
    As a result, BRA pension plan should also cover these officers for the period 1st April, 2014 – 2016.

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  • Mr Forde:
    Public Service posts can only be created and abolished by a specific law. Not one line of your epistle stated which law abolished the former posts held by the BRA employees. THERE WERE NEVER ABOLISHED BY LAW. The employees were legally seconded to BRA. They could return to they original posts at the end of the secondment period.

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  • Mr Forde:
    Public Service posts can only be created and abolished by a specific law. Not one line of your epistle stated which law abolished the former posts held by the BRA employees. THEY WERE NEVER ABOLISHED BY LAW. The employees were legally seconded to BRA. They could return to their original posts at the end of the secondment period.

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  • Mr. Cox, several officers requested a return to the public service before and after the end of the secondment. Were any of them offered a return to their post at March 31, 2019?? No, No. Many of them were placed on leave, for as much as a year. The intent was clear.
    The Ministry of the Civil Service recognised that they had screw up, and by letter to the Ministry of Finance dated August 11, 2016 recommended amendments to the BRA act including that the said BRA be made an approved employer and the relevant contributions be made to the Treasury to preserve the rights of the second officers. Mr. Cox, to date the aforementioned recommendations are sitting on someone’s desk to detriment of several retired and soon to be retired officers.
    Mr. Cox, BRA was badly setup. Just do your research.

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  • Piece the Legend

    You do know that there is a distinct difference between

    “Badly Set up” and “setup bad?”

    The first speaks to incompetence with is endemic in the Public Sevice while the second subtly suggest that the iniquities of the system were purposely used to fleece employees of their entitlements

    Which one of these applies in this matter?

    Or do they both apply???

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  • Tre Springer, This is my last statement:
    “Mr Forde:
    Public Service posts can only be created and abolished by a specific law. Not one line of your epistle stated which law abolished the former posts held by the BRA employees. THEY WERE NEVER ABOLISHED BY LAW. The employees were legally seconded to BRA. They could return to their original posts at the end of the secondment period.”

    The absolute LEGAL position is that Government never abolished the posts. That is why the officers who were sent on leave were able to be paid. The Constitution allows for public officers to be paid and their salaries must not be a subject of the Appropriation Bill.
    The only confusion is that the Government had no work for the public after their secondment ended but it could not stop their salaries and continued to pay them “on leave”. Were the offices abolished by LAW, then they could not be paid.
    I am merely stating that the Public officers who were seconded should not have lost their Pension rights. The government should have made provision in their letters of secondment. Mr Forde is spouting what he thinks but avoids the fact that AS LONG AS A POST IS NOT LEGALLY ABOLISHED, THE PUBLIC OFFICER AFFECTED IS ENTITLED TO SALARY AND PENSION EVEN IF HE IS NOT ASSIGNED TO WORK.

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  • Mr Cox
    You can read my comments over and over again and no where did I state that the posts were abolished. What I stated was that under Section 8(1)(d) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25 which states that – ” ON THE RE-ORGANISATION OF HIS OFFICE FOR ANY PURPOSE.” is one of the 11 cases under Section 8(1) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25. All I am saying is that all of these cases should be interpreted in the same way. I want to make it absolutely clear that from the start that the issue at hand was the pension rights of officers who were absorbed by BRA. On the 1st April, 2014, these officers lost their coverage under the Pensions Act, Cap 25. One cannot be in church and chapel. The officers cannot be covered under BRA’s Pension Plan and under the public service pensions legislation. what you are NOT aware of is that OFFICERS WHO WERE SECONDED AND WHO WERE ACTING IN HIGHER POSTS LOST PART OF THEIR PENSION RIGHTS DUE TO THE SECONDMENT..Because of the secondment, these officers had to revert to their substantive posts and their pensions were calculated on their substantive salaries and not including their acting allowances as if they had continue to act in their departments. Can you say that these officers should be denied their pensions rights after they were in the public service for over 30 years.

    What you are not aware of is Section 8(1) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25 that sets out the ways in which there is retirement from the public service , conferring statutory rights to pension benefits and no secondment can override these statutory rights.

    The rights are set out in Section 8 (1) of the Pensions Act, Cap 25 –
    “8.(1) Subject to subsections (2), (4) and (5) and section 13A(2) no pension, gratuity or other allowance under this Act may be granted to an officer except on his retirement from the public service in one of the following cases-
    (a) on or after attaining the age of 55 years;
    (b) in the case of transfer to other public service in circumstances in which he is permitted by law or regulations of the service in which he is last employed to retire on pension or gratuity;
    (c) on the abolition of his office;;
    (d) ON THE RE-ORGANISATION OF HIS OFFICE FOR ANY PURPOSE
    ((e) on medical evidence;
    (f) on becoming unfit;
    (g) on ground of inefficiency;
    (h) on retirement in circumstances not mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g).”

    The legislation is clear in that as long as the officers offices were re-organisation they would be eligible for pensions at the date the offices were re- organised and that date was !st April, 2014.

    There are a few points in your comments that your raised .
    What you are saying is that after the secondment and the Government had no work for the public officers that the Government would continue to pay them although there was no work for them. In your case, BRA would have to replace those 360 public servants on special leave. Does that make sense to you.

    You also stated that ” were the offices abolished by law, then they could not be paid.” Even if the posts were abolished they will still be paid by BRA Did not nearly all the officers went over to BRA

    You also stated that ‘ The government should have made provision in their letters of secondment.”. and you also said that ” the employees were legally seconded to BRA.” Proper provisions were not made under section 21 of the public service Act Cap 29 to protect the pensions of the seconded officers. 2 points, BRA was not ” an approved employer” and no contribution was made by BRA to the Government of Barbados during the period of secondment so that the officers would continue to hold their offices for the purposes of the Pensions Act.

    You also said that” The officer were legally seconded to BRA They could return their original posts at the end of the secondment period.” Are you aware that for the past 5 years no funds were voted for the agencies.

    I am glad to see that this is your last statement as you are going North to Alaska and I am going South of the Border.

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  • Mr Forde you have a tough job of explaining on your hand .
    I believe Mr Cox understands less than I do.
    Persevere, you may get through to one of us ….. eventually

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  • Mr Forde:
    I consider that your knowledge of the Public Service is superficial despite the voluminous quotation of Acts. As I stated:
    1 THE POSTS WERE NEVER ABOLISHED BY LAW. Your reference to 1st April, 2014 is wrong. An Act abolishing or creating posts in the public service must be passed by Parliament. Which Law passed by Parliament abolished the posts? What date? Not 1st April 2014.
    2. As long as a post is NOT legally abolished, the public officer holding the post is entitled to salary and pension from the Consolidated Fund. Working with BRA is not the problem because the public officers were given permission to do so. They did not quit their jobs and go to BRA. They were sent there by the Government.
    3. It was the duty of the government to ensure that their pension rights were not affected. All the excuses are hogwash.

    Like

  • Mr Forde:
    Addendum
    Public Service Act Section 17
    All moneys payable under the provisions of any Order made under section 13 shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund.
    Const Section 108
    (2) The estimates of expenditure shall show separately the sums required to meet statutory expenditure (as defined in section 109(7) and the sums required to meet other expenditure proposed to be charged to the Consolidated Fund.
    Const 103 (Pensions)
    (4) Awards granted under any law in respect of service in a public office (not being awards that are a charge upon some other public fund of Barbados) are hereby charged on the Consolidated Fund.
    The Pensions and Salaries of public officers are statutory charges on the Consolidated Fund. The Government could have used its power to correct any errors and ensure that the pensions rights of public officers assigned were not compromised since their posts were not abolished.

    Like

  • If the Auditor- General is wrong Bro Cas;is he not subject to a higher authority. namely the Solicitor General on whom adjudication of these anomalous and vexatious issues usually rests.
    On another note,Bro cas and correct me if i am wrong but it has been brought to my attention that the Treasury has taken upon itself to abate the pension paid by Government to medically boarded persons against the invalidity benefit drawn by persons deemed medically unfit by the Director of National Insurance. This seems to be a misunderstanding of the long established policies and practices of the National Insurance Scheme and clearly contray to regulation 27(a)(2)(a) of the Pensions Regulations 1947 which states inter alia that :-

    the abatement shall not take place before the National Insurance pension becomes payable

    Like

  • Mr. Skeete,
    Some senior public officers interpret legislation in different ways. This is also true in the legal profession. Under the National Insurance Act, there are terms “invalidity benefit under Section 21d” and “pension under section 21f “.
    I believe that the Courts would have to determine whether they are the same with respect to the abatement of Government Pensions from the Treasury.
    I believe that any statement in a Regulation must emanate from the Act itself. If there appears to be a conflict, then the Act prevails.
    Nevertheless, the final interpretation lies with the Court.

    Like

  • Mr Cox
    I told you over and over again that I never in my comments stated that the posts in the legacies agencies were abolished. you continue to state that false information. I know that posts must be created and abolished by law and I know that all Barbadians know this, so continuing to dwell on this topic makes no sense.

    Like

  • Mr Forde:
    You have agreed that the posts were never abolished.
    Please agree to the other points which are reproduced below:
    2. As long as a post is NOT legally abolished, the public officer holding the post is entitled to salary and pension from the Consolidated Fund. Working with BRA is not the problem because the public officers were given permission to do so. They did not quit their jobs and go to BRA. They were sent there by the Government.
    3. It was the duty of the government to ensure that their pension rights were not affected. All the excuses are hogwash.

    Like

  • Mr Cox
    What is BRA? BRA is a separate organisation from the public service. It has its own conditions of employment, its own pension fund, its own funds and basically officers who transition to BRA are no longer public officers but employees of BRA. As you like laws you can read the Barbados Revenue Authority Act, 2014- 1. “The Authority is a BODY CORPORATE to which, subject to this Act, section 21 of the Interpretation Act,Cap.1 applies.” So there must be a cut off point where public officers are employed in the public service and when they became employees of BRA.

    The Barbados Revenue Authority Act, 2014 -1 states at section 13 that –
    Section 13. ” The Authority shall, within 2 years of the commencement of this Act, provide for the establishment and maintenance of a pension plan for the benefit of the staff of the Authority.” This is 5 years since the establishment of BRA and no pension plan is in place.

    Now why I find the 2 year time limit interesting is to give the Authority a breathing space to set up the plan, but the breathing space cost public officers dearly. In order to cover that space, it was decided to second officers for 2 years to the jobs they were doing before they were seconded and after the period of secondment they had to apply for the jobs that they were doing before and after the secondment. This secondment which did not comply with section 21 of the Public Service Act Cap 29 caused officers to lose part of their pension rights.

    I will give examples of pension payments to officers who were acting in higher posts and did not go over BRA and officers who went over to BRA on secondment.
    Officers who were acting and did not go over to BRA and retired from public service on the 1st April,2014 received pensions calculated on their substantive salaries plus the acting allowances.
    Officers who were acting and did not retire from the public service on the 1st April, 2014 but retired subsequently received pensions calculated on their substantive salaries only. This is the impact of the secondment.

    All of the functions previously carried on by the legacy agencies were taken over by BRA. On the 1st April, 2014, officers who were acting in higher posts until further notice found that their acting allowances were taken away not by the Public Service Commission which is the Authority to do that but by BRA who took away their functions and as a result they reverted to their substantive posts.

    Many officers worked in the legacy agencies for a number of years and went over to BRA not knowing that they were leaving safe jobs and going to an organisation that is controlled by a Board appointed by a Minister.

    I would not go into further details as I have set out in my previous comments what the officers were entitled to at the 31st March ,2014 under the Pensions Act, Cap 25.

    Mr Cox I know that you would like to receive a smaller gratuity and pension after putting in over 30 years of service in the public service because your pension rights were transferred to a private pension plan. This what you call hogwash.

    Like

  • Mr. Forde,
    These are your statements:
    1. “What is BRA? BRA is a separate organisation from the public service. It has its own conditions of employment.”
    2. “This is 5 years since the establishment of BRA and no pension plan is in place.”
    Note:
    1. BRA belongs to the Government. Where do the salaries and other operating expenses of BRA come from? Is BRA allowed to take up the revenues it collects and pays its expenses?
    2. Whose fault is it that BRA has no Pension plan after 5 years?
    A few years ago, the Principal of a secondary school was transferred to the Barbados Community College. Who had the LEGAL authority to transfer him? Did he lose his pension rights during that period?
    Your very long epistles are excuses for not paying public officers their pension. In case you do not know, pension is calculated on SALARY, not on the post the public officer occupied.
    The Barbados Government simply could have paid the salaries from BRA directly to the Treasury and the Government could have paid the seconded officers their salaries directly since their posts WERE NEVER ABOLISHED BY LAW. Stop referring to 2014. That is irrelevant. Payment of salaries is a purely accounting function.
    In case you are of the view that the Government is fettered by your superficial view of the Public Service, please explain how those employees from various Government agencies are receiving Severance Payments. When did the Government and those employees pay contributions to the Severance Payment Fund?

    Like

  • Addendum
    Mr Forde,
    Do permanent public officers who are “seconded” to temporary posts lose their pension rights during the secondment period?
    Another possible mechanism which the Government could have used, don’t you think?.
    In short, the Government through its senior officers were hell bent on making sure that the seconded officers lost their pension rights.
    Stop making excuses.

    Like

  • The situation with Mr Forde is unfortunate, but fundamentally we need new and proper pensions legislation.

    Like

  • Reviewing all the non speculative comments on the vexing issue of pension payments to former BRA workers and looking at the Cap 25 i am persuaded that the Auditor General is on the right track until appropriate measures are put in place to ensure that the affected workers are indeed no worse off in pension entitlement and/or otherwise when they transitioned to BRA; and that can only happen when BRA puts their pension plan in place out of which the affected workers can be compensated for the time served with BRA at their BRA salaries. Until then, the Auditor General is within his right to use Cap 25 as his guide in calculating the pensions based on their substantive posts to which they would have been automatically reverted on secondment. So theworkers should be pressuring their Union to lobby BRA to formalize their pension plan.Once BRA sets up their thing i have no doubt that the worsers would be fully compensated.

    Liked by 1 person

  • NO Mr Cox- the officers did not lose their pension rights; they were paid pensions calculated on their substantive public service posts to which they would have automatically reverted on secondment to BRA. It is incumbent that BRA moves with haste tp out their pension plan in place so that the affecte officers whould receive what is due them from BRA during time served.

    Liked by 1 person

  • “The Barbados Revenue Authority Act, 2014 -1 states at section 13 that –
    Section 13. ” The Authority shall, within 2 years of the commencement of this Act, provide for the establishment and maintenance of a pension plan for the benefit of the staff of the Authority.” This is 5 years since the establishment of BRA and no pension plan is in place.”

    Ther you go Mr Cox and you getting on like you in know the problem. BRa must be pressured to put their pension plan in place rather than having the draft locked away in somebody’s desk drawer catching dust.

    Liked by 1 person

  • You must really love your job to defer your vacation for three years. Is it still the practice to receive pay for accumulated vacation at the time of requirement?

    There is a more serious issue here, some businesses require their executives to take a vacation every year and some of it must be for a consecutive two week period. The reason being if the executive is engaged in some hanky panky it will be discovered if they are away for that period of time, if they are away for a shorter stint and something shows up there is the possibility of someone reasoning “leave it for Bill/Bess they be returning next Monday”, but if they are away for a longer period someone will investigate.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/05/15/govt-frederick-on-pre-retirement-leave/

    Like

  • Mr. Skeete,
    .1. If a post is not abolished, then the officer occupying the post is continuously employed and is entitled to receive salary and pension attached to that office even if he is “on leave” and not working. His salary cannot be cut.
    2. If the Government chose to employ the officer elsewhere for a period of time, the officer is still entitled to his salary and pension.
    3. Since BRA belongs to the Government, it is simple for the Government to pay the substantive salaries (together with any allowance) of the affected officers into the Treasury. The officers would continue to receive the salary plus any allowance from the Treasury. The Government could have made the allowances pensionable.
    4. Even if legislation was required to do so, the Government could have done so.
    5. The Government could have also “mirrored” the BRA posts as “temporary posts” and paid the affected employees their pension.
    6. I reiterate that pension payments are based on salary.
    7. The “seconded officers” never left the Public Service in 2014. They were transferred to BRA and the Government should have made provision that pensions sould not be compromised.
    8. Isn’t a Bill presently in Parliament to pay gratuity to persons under 60 years who were recently severed?
    Stop limiting your thoughts about the power of a Government.
    .

    Like

  • charles skeete

    Michael Cox (@Michael28497881) May 13, 2019 4:05 PM

    Mr. Skeete,
    “Some senior public officers interpret legislation in different ways. This is also true in the legal profession. Under the National Insurance Act, there are terms “invalidity benefit under Section 21d” and “pension under section 21f “.
    I believe that the Courts would have to determine whether they are the same with respect to the abatement of Government Pensions from the Treasury.
    I believe that any statement in a Regulation must emanate from the Act itself. If there appears to be a conflict, then the Act prevails.
    Nevertheless, the final interpretation lies with the Court.”

    Your logic is quite valid but whether the words ” benefit” and /or “pension” as included in Sections 21(d) or (f) respectively is interpreted to mean the same or differently; the fact remains that according to Section 27A (1) (2) (a) of the Pensions Regulations Cap 25 the reduction should not take effect until the date on which the national insurance pension is paid

    Liked by 1 person

  • charles skeete

    Having read the article in today’s nation under the caption “Pension cut a problem for Mum” and the casual response from the Acting Accounting General –

    I wish to submit that that with respect to the issue surrounding those public officers who entered after 1ST September, 1975 the abatement should not have been applied to medically boarded pensions received from the Treasury before the stipulated age of retirement from Government in that invalidity is a benefit paid until the benefactor attains the age stipulated by the National Insurance Act and Regulations for the receipt of old age contributory pension whereupon the benefit is converted to pension which makes the abatement applicable.
    Section 27A(1) (2) (a) states inter alia –

    Subject to Paragraph (2), an officer to whom this regulation applies and to whom a pension may be paid under the Act shall have that pension reduced by the amount of pension payable to him under the National Insurance and Social Security Act, (in this regulation referred to as “the national pension “)

    2) The reduction referred to in paragraph (1) shall not

    (a) take effect until the date on which the national insurance pension becomes payable

    You may wish to know that to qualify for an invalidity benefit;

    One must be under pensionable age.

    Be permanently incapable of undertaking further employment because of a specific disease or bodily or mental disablement for so long as the invalidity continues
    Have at least 150 contributions actually paid

    Please note that one of the qualification requirements for old age contributory pension is 500 contributions paid or credited

    Liked by 1 person

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    I also read the story in today’s Nation, and as a taxpayer, and a person who was NOT employed in the public service, I found it rather disturbing, that a person who is now 55, and who worked in government service from 1997 to 2013, that is for a total of 16 years has been receiving since the age of 49 $608 a month from the Treasury; and $832 from the NIS for a total of $1440 per month, after 16 years of service. I also have the usual chronic non-communicable conditions, but had to put in 33 years in the private sector, including 27 years of paying NIS at the maximum lever, in order to get an NIS pension of $1760 per month.

    Where did I go wrong?

    Or has the government been too generous with the taxpayers money.

    And can the taxpayers afford it?

    Liked by 1 person

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    If my retirement income had been calculated at the same rate, that is $90 per month for every year of work I should be receiving $2970 per month.

    Like

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    Instead mine works out to $53.33 cents per month for every year of work

    Like

  • Mr.Skeete, government in its wisdom has made disablement benefits not subject to tax re Section 9v of the income tax act Cap73. Government needs to attract officers who can do the research.

    The unions are also lazy and lack of researchers. For instance Compare QEH Act to that of .BRA. No public out cry but their constituents are punished.

    Are they going to wait till someone dies before receiving their just dues. Wake up.

    Madam PM, by now you are aware of the problems including the above. please fix, get those technocrats back to work.

    Like

  • Mr Skeete
    I read your comments and I am not in agreement with them. It appears that those who made comments are dodging Section 8(1)(d) of the Pension Act, Cap 25 which states that public officers are entitled to pensions on the re-organisation of their offices. The original drafters of the pension legislation knew that public officers needed to be protected in case their offices were re-organised and that is the reason why they enacted this piece of legislation.
    Now the enactment of the BRA legislation took effect from the !st April, 2014 and as your are aware this legislation is not retroactive and does not cover the pension rights of those officers that were built up during their years in the public service. Now if all of those officers were aware that the secondment would have affected their pension rights they would not have gone over to BRA and that is why there are a lot of retirements when officers had to revert. Why should officers with more than 40 years in the public service and acting in higher post be denied some of they pension rights because of an illegal secondment.

    The Pension legislation is clear; In section 21 of the Public Service Act dealing with secondment states that – ” “,Where a person who holds an established office is seconded to service under ANOTHER GOVERNMENT or under an AUTHORITY, BODY, or AGENCY approved by the Governor-General for the purposes of this section, referred to as ” AN APPROVED EMPLOYER” that person shall, during the period of the secondment, CEASE TO RECEIVE THE EMOLUMENTS ATTACHED TO THAT OFFICE but shall nevertheless, IF THE APPROVED EMPLOYER agrees to pay to the Government of Barbados a contribution in respect of his pension during the period of the secondment at THE RATE PRESCRIBED by the Governor-General, be deemed to continue to hold that office for the purposes of the PENSIONS ACT” Did BRA comply with this section? the answer is NO.

    A secondment cannot override the officers entitlement at the 31st March, 2014. As far as I am aware under BRA pension plan all employees have to make a contribution to the plan.

    A group will soon be submitting a review of this matter to the courts including the CCJ.

    Like

  • Mr Forde, the following are your words:
    “IF THE APPROVED EMPLOYER agrees to pay to the Government of Barbados a contribution in respect of his pension during the period of the secondment at THE RATE PRESCRIBED by the Governor-General, be deemed to continue to hold that office for the purposes of the PENSIONS ACT”
    Isn’t BRA an arm of the Government? Are you not making a case for Caesar appealing to Caesar?
    It is simple. The Government of Barbados and its senior civil servants are finding every stupid excuse for not paying the Public officers their pensions. You keep referring to the idea that the officers reverted to their substantive posts in 2014. Which Public service Act removed them from their posts, acting or otherwise? What was the Act and what date did it pass in Parliament?
    BRA was created. The Public officers could have sat at home and still be paid because their posts were NOT ABOLISHED.

    Liked by 1 person

  • These people are going to find themselves being sued if people lose their homes or suffer heart attacks and strokes due to this mistake. The abatement obviously applies after the person reaches retirement age and converts from Invalidity Benefit to Contributory Pension. This would make sense as people are expected to plan for reduced income after retirement. They would also be at the end of their mortgage and have no children to support. The situation of the two pensions was sorted out years ago. They are trying to reinterpret the law to reduce the outflow from the Treasury.

    It certainly does not seem as though Mia cares for these poor people who are suffering physically or mentally (or they would be working) and are now in danger of being put out on the streets, some of them with children. If they are receiving Invalidity Benefit they do not even have the option of doing a little thing for themselves at home to supplement their income or they run the risk of losing the Invalidity Benefit. This does not obtain for pensioners who are free to supplement their income by doing a little side thing.

    Like

  • http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/9636/reform-pension-regulations

    Well, well well! seems like Mia promised to restore the pensions of those who lost theirs under the aforementioned adjustment. That of course was when the DLP was the government. Now she has reversed course and gone after those who receive Invalidity Benefits???

    How about you parliamentarians sharing the pain ! Reduce your generous benefits, raise your pensionable age to regular retirement age and show some solidarity with the poor pensioners and invalids whose already inadequate income you are reducing almost by half!

    Come on! Show us that Mia cares!

    Like

  • charles skeete

    “Frank Forde May 17, 2019 10:00 PM

    Mr Skeete
    I read your comments and I am not in agreement with them. It appears that those who made comments are dodging Section 8(1)(d) of the Pension Act, Cap 25 which states that public officers are entitled to pensions on the re-organisation of their offices. The original drafters of the pension legislation knew that public officers needed to be protected in case their offices were re-organised and that is the reason why they enacted this piece of legislation.”

    Mr Forde, i made several comments on the subject..

    To which do you refer, Sir?

    Like

  • “Donna May 19, 2019 1:03 AM

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/9636/reform-pension-regulations

    Well, well well! seems like Mia promised to restore the pensions of those who lost theirs under the aforementioned adjustment. That of course was when the DLP was the government. Now she has reversed course and gone after those who receive Invalidity Benefits???”

    Do you know for sure that the action taken was on the instructions of the Minister of Finance.

    Like

  • charles skeete

    “They are trying to reinterpret the law to reduce the outflow from the Treasury.”

    The problem is that we politicize everything in support of one party or the other. It is not a question of reinventing any law but fulfilling the law promulgated in 1975 which states that “pensions paid from the Treasury to persons entering the public service after 1st September 1975 would be reduced by the amount of pension payable under the National Insurance and Social Security Act”

    So we need to put aside the emotion and concentrate on the law

    Liked by 1 person

  • charles skeete

    “gislation is clear; In section 21 of the Public Service Act dealing with secondment states that – ” “,Where a person who holds an established office is seconded to service under AThe Pension leNOTHER GOVERNMENT or under an AUTHORITY, BODY, or AGENCY approved by the Governor-General for the purposes of this section, referred to as ” AN APPROVED EMPLOYER” that person shall, during the period of the secondment, CEASE TO RECEIVE THE EMOLUMENTS ATTACHED TO THAT OFFICE but shall nevertheless, IF THE APPROVED EMPLOYER agrees to pay to the Government of Barbados a contribution in respect of his pension during the period of the secondment at THE RATE PRESCRIBED by the Governor-General, be deemed to continue to hold that office for the purposes of the PENSIONS ACT” Did BRA comply with this section? the answer is NO.”

    I assume you are referring to my comments in defence of the action of the Auditor General to certify under their substantive posts pension paid to former public officers on secondment to BRA.
    Mr Forde. Two wrongs do not make a right. because BRA did not fulfill their obligations does not mean that the Auditor General should ignore his to make wrong things right. BRA should be pressured to put their pension plan in place

    Like

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    I am wondering if the politicians have not been paying and promising too high pensions to civil servants. Can the taxpayers afford to fund pensions for anybody at the rate of 2/3 of their final salary? Can the taxpayers afford this for the Governor General, the Prim Minister, Parliamentarians, judges, clerks, labourers?

    In spite of my best efforts, after raising a family and paying a mortgage, and looking out for my elders my pension income (i was a civil servant for 6 years only) is about 50% of my final pay cheque.

    I am not at all sure that as a taxpayer, a non-civil servant that I want to pay taxes to fund pensions for other people at 2/3 when I have to made do on 1/2.

    Hal has said that pension reform is necessary. Hal is right.

    I think that we have been promising unsustainably high pensions, and that in the civil service especially these promises are an unfunded liability, retired civil servants seem to expect the money to appear like magic in the Treasury, and like magic in their bank accounts.

    What happens when the taxpayers cannot afford?

    Like

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