Expectant Pensioners Will Pay for Mismanagement of National Insurance Scheme

The following (with minor edit) is a comment posted by Walter Blackman to BU blog Whimpering Opposition.

– David, blogmaster

April 27, 2019 8:48 AM

“First thing this morning and we are off to the races attacking people instead of debating the real issues?”


Through the vehicle of BU, you are getting a very deep insight into the nature of Barbadians, as a people.

We have paid billions of dollars into the NIS since 1967. The money that was paid into the NIS was supposed to be prudently invested and used primarily to pay benefits to participants and their beneficiaries, along with the administrative costs of running the NIS department.

Reportedly, the NIS for Barbados was first articulated by Charles Duncan O’Neale almost a century ago. From the moment the concept was aired, some anti-progressive minded members of the white minority on the island rationalized that they were wealthy enough to provide for their unborn great-great-great grandchildren and therefore should not be called upon to contribute to any fund which pays out benefits to perceived poor and needy black Barbadians. To this very day, some of these white Barbadians are still demanding that they be allowed to opt out of the NIS.

With this background in mind, any sensible Barbadian ought to have been outraged when they saw black politicians from poor, humble origins take up the hard-earned NIS money of Barbadian taxpayers and stupidly give it away to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the flimsiest of excuses. All of us are forced to suspect that kickbacks, fraud, and corruption must have been associated with the squandering of our NIS funds.

Somewhere along the line, possibly within the next 30 years, many Barbadians will weep and gnash their teeth as they witness the NIS become totally transformed into a Ponzi scheme, and then collapse, never to be resurrected. By that time, the retiring age for a full pension might be 85 or 90 years old!

This is but one simple issue in the area of finance that is desperately crying out for political ventilation and a solution. There are many, many more financial problems, alternatives, and solutions that ought to be put to the electorate.

Barbados needs outstanding financial leadership now, more than ever.

Given the excessive, prolonged “spiriting away” of public funds, along with the deep financial morass that the country is now mired in, I must boldly ask BU readers a few simple questions:

  1. Who on the government’s side is seen as the person who can get up, address and communicate financial issues to Barbadians in a clear, understandable manner, and then get buy-in from the electorate and major stakeholders?
  2. Who is the named UPP’s spokesman on Finance?
  3. Who is the named Solutions Barbados’ spokesman on Finance?
  4. Who is the named DLP’s spokesman on Finance?

134 thoughts on “Expectant Pensioners Will Pay for Mismanagement of National Insurance Scheme

  1. As in most things in life there is law and there is practice. The operatives know when and if to apply.

    @ NO .

    You cited a quotation on BOD composition which quite clearly states the Director of Finance OR his nominee. Mrs Forde reports to the DoF.

    The Minister of Labour has three discretionary appointments Chairman, Deputy chairman and one other.
    All the others are nominees of stakeholders, Labour Officer, NUPW, BWU, Employers Confederation, Hotel association etc.
    The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is the overall supervisor of the Financial System . NIS is a large unit in the Barbados Financial System. So we are not neophytes. We know what we are doing. And we knew it for a long time.

  2. @VC
    you are correct.
    The NIS website lists TEN (10) names, I previously copied them from their website. They can be found here

    The ‘Act’ says, as did you, DoF OR his nominee/representative, it does NOT say, DoF AND his nominee/representative. If the DoF chooses to have a nominee do something on his behalf, and clears it with the Chair, all is good. However, the way the Board listing on the NIS website reads BOTH the DoF AND his nominee/representative are listed as Board members.

  3. “Are members of the board paid or only expense reimbursements?” [Quote]

    The ‘Act’ states under Part I (6)
    “6. The Board shall pay to each member, in respect of his office as
    such, such remuneration and allowances (if any) as the Minister may
    determine and, to the chairman and to the deputy chairman in respect
    of his office as such, such remuneration and allowances (if any) in
    addition to any remuneration or allowances to which he may be
    entitled in respect of his office as a member, as may be so determined.”

    Hence the Board members are entitled to compensation, but since there is no Annual Report, we have no idea if they are being compensated or what that compensation is. I could find no mention about allowable expenses or reimbursement for such expenses, in the ‘Act’

  4. NO

    I keep repeating in this and other blogs: Just because it is on a website ,in Wikipedia Google etc, does not mean that it is correct. The information is coded and uploaded by humans and we are subject to errors. We may trust but we have to verify.

    • @NO

      The Board Members are paid. The blogmaster vaguely remembers that Sinckler and his government at the time was criticized in the HoA for increasing the Board fees.

  5. Yes, board members of SOEs are paid a monthly “stipend.” The normal rate for a chairman is $1,400 per month, while the members receive $180.

    Prior the 1993 structural adjustment program, a chairman was paid $990 and board members $110 per meeting. This was subsequently reduced to $660 and $110 per month respectively. In those days the highest paid chairman was that of the Tourism Board, who received $1,000 per month.

  6. @VC
    it is on the NIS website. The NIS WEBSITE. Not some unknown news article from questionable sources.

    Now, maybe somebody made an entry mistake, or legislation may have been enacted to alter the composition of the Board. I do have alerts for the Barbados Parliament, but such a change I haven’t found. Does not mean such a change hasn’t gone through under an odd title.

    But this is really a minor issue? What it does, is if the 2 Union reps and the 2 Employer reps object to something, and the Chief Labour Officer agrees with them, together they had a 5-4 majority. Now the Government appoints 5, any such vote becomes 5-5 wash.

    I expect they would be compensated, it is convention these days. As is the provision of liability insurance.

  7. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Barbados NIS from 1986 -1994. I remember receiving $110. The Chairman received $1100. I don’t know if the fees have been increased since then. Additionally, some ordinary Barbadians who “worked” in general elections (I am not going to say which ones) confided in me that they were advised to provide “services” to the NIS and then allowed to charge whatever prices they like. I was never in a position to ascertain whether or not these claims were true.

  8. @ Northern Observer,

    This explains why the matter of integrity takes second place to the pence paid to board members and why incompetent and inexperience ministers have a legal right to determine the NIS’ investment policies. Such policy is based on politics, not investment knowledge. Get rid of the NIS and start again.
    I will give a simple example: if NIS was instructed by a minster to lend millions of dollars to a cash-strapped property company, why then did not enter a loan for equity deal? Was this an over sight, incompetence or deliberate?
    The law is not badly drafted, it is drafted in such a way as to legitimise the dishonesty of lawyers. Lawyers are the enemies of the progress of Barbados and the only way to legally remove them is at the ballot box.
    In May I said not to vote for lawyers of any party, and was ignored. The case for is now clearer than it ever was..
    I end with this reminder: when the Deep Water Harbour was built in the 1950s, it was not only one of the first land reclamation projects in the world, it was also one of the first container ports. Barbados was punching above its weight.
    When Barrow lowered the age of majority to 18 in 1963, Barbados was one of the first nations n the world to do so – years before the UK. Barbados was genuinely punching above its weight.
    Our leaders since then have lost their nerve; they are intimated by big decisions. They talk, but cannot think. The fear new idea is like a cancer in contemporary Barbadian society. Get rid of the NIS and start again.,

  9. I’m an NIS roll…truth…it is 1C outside, snow/ice is coming down and I don’t feel like going out. Yesterday, I spent many hours hopefully preventing the massive spring runoff/flooding from doing damage, now all I can do is wait and see. I am admittedly unaware of all the local conventions, the ‘Act’ under Part IV Section 33 states, and I further admit while I believe this to be current, I cannot guarantee it is.

    (1) The Board shall Report and
    (a) in each year prepare a report on its activities in the last
    preceding year and shall furnish such report to the to Minister.
    Minister not later than the thirtieth day of June;
    (b) submit to the Minister every account, certified by the
    Auditor-General pursuant to section 30, together with the
    report of the Auditor-General thereon, within one month
    of such certification; and
    (c) submit annually to the Minister an account of the
    securities in which moneys forming part of the Fund are
    for the time being invested.
    (2) The Minister shall cause a copy of every report of account
    submitted to him pursuant to this section to be laid on the table
    of both Houses.

    I have asked before, given that, 33.(1)(a), 33.(1)(b) and 33.(1)(c) are separate, even though the NIS has accounting reporting issues, shouldn’t the Board be reporting on “its activities in the last preceding year” [33(1)(a)]. The NIS has been reporting on 33.(1)(c), albeit sporadically and within no set time frame….http://www.nis.gov.bb/investments/2017-2/

    The prevailing attitude seems to be, because an accurate financial reporting is not available, the Board offers no report. This would seem to clash with the intent of the ‘Act’. Surely the actions being taken to remedy the accounting challenges represent “activity”. And we know from matters tabled in the HoA the NIS has been funding a variety of projects, which surely represent “activity”, and the Board’s consent. I could go, but……

  10. @ NorthernObserver,

    I hope your property is not damaged by the ” flooding ” . I am watching the weather channel and they are calling for 25 to 40mm of rain in some areas. across Ontario and Quebec.

  11. @HA
    I haven’t the knowledge to know, if the way forward is to scrap the NIS. What I do know, is personally, the financial health of the NIS doesn’t affect me. But it is an important social net for many. The pols in Barbados are well taken care of, pensions and perks for years, especially if their party is in power. There is no reason to not have a healthy and properly functioning NIS.

  12. @Hants
    a small body of water…a.k.a. Lake, within the land mass between Bracebridge and Huntsville. enuff said!!!

  13. @ Northern Observer,

    MPs are entitled to a pension after three terms (15 years), the governor general to a 100 per cent pension on retirement, so does the prime minster. The top people look after themselves; the system is flawed. Most politicians have second and third jobs; governor generals have had a full working life and most a second top pension. Barbados is a failed state.

  14. @ David BU at 4:09 PM

    I think you misunderstood my submission at 3:49PM.

    NO should have been @NO.

    NIS BOD are paid fees once per month as reported by Walter later in the discussion. I did not see the need to respond to the question of fees because i do not see the relevance to the issues raised.They are negligible as confirmed by Walter. Not everyone that is on public boards expect to make a living out of fees. For many it is national service.

  15. I have served on a statutory board for many years during the 90’s and was paid ~$100.00 per meeting.

    Seem to remember vaguely it begun less than $100 and then increased to $120 per meeting.

    Chairman got more but nothing earth shattering.

    However I was always conscious of the threat of a party faithful getting lucrative contracts and was as careful as I could to ask the questions I felt were necessary when any tenders were considered.

    Invariably the lowest tender got the contracts.

    Once I thought I detected something irregular in the behaviour of a fellow board member in the tender process but it panned out in the end and the board received value for money!!

    Value for money is the acid test I always tried to go by in my stint.

    Interviews for jobs were also important for me … I think we got it right most of the time.

    The last time there was a difference between what the Ministry wanted and what the board recommended.

    Elections happened and as customary board members put their resignations at the discretion of the new Minister.

    A new board was appointed but seem to remember most members wanted to move on, we had been at it for a long time!!.

  16. @ John at 7:35 PM

    And that has been the experience of most who serve on boards.One accepted appointments to boards where one has the relevant skill sets. The fees cannot even pay for the gasoline ,if one is on several subcommittees. It simply is national service.

  17. Another prime reason why reparations in the form of money can never be put in the hands of these petty ass Caribbean leaders who are clearly NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE..as it relates to the progress, development.. and enrichment of their own people….as a collective..

    They are some TRIFLING MoFos….add their names to the list of sell out negros..for black leaders..


    “SOURCE: CMC: Prime Minister Gaston Browne has criticised some Caribbean countries of harbouring “petty jealousies” for opposing moves by Antigua and Barbuda to become the fourth campus territory of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in September.

    Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne
    “The technical committee of the university approved our university plan, unfortunately, you have some politics that is taking root now with some of the campus countries, if I may call them that, expressing concerns. They have all kind of fears, they have all kind of innuendoes and subterfuge they now bring to the fore,” Browne said in a programme on his private radio station over the weekend.

    “All I want to say to them; they can jump high, jump low, we’re opening up the door of our university come September of this year,” he added.”

  18. I wonder what we will do with all the physical expansion that took place at Cave Hill in the previous 20 years.

  19. @ Vincent Codrington,

    ” the physical expansion ” can be redesigned and repurposed. How about a HIGH TECH education and development campus.

    Waterloo University / Sheridan College / Silicon valley….get my drift ?

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