Kemar Stuart on IMF Reform to Public Service Pension System

Kemar J.D Stuart is an Economist and Director Business Development , Finance and Investment Stuart & Perkins Caribbean

The recent announcement by the IMF states that Barbados is in line for reform to it’s pension system. With drastically reduced revenue intake due to Covid-19, the expenditure associated with pensions , gratuity and retirement benefits will of course take the spotlight .

The intended pension reform is preparing government for the reality of an ageing population, declining birthrate, declining workforce which will be further depressed by further digitization of the public service and by extension agreed retrenchments under the BERT plan along with high youth unemployment in the public sector. As government now seeks to prioritize limited revenue, funds will be redirected to other areas in order to free up revenue . The amount of funds will be determined by the depth of the cut to the pension budget.

The budgeted expenditure for financial year 2020 is $298 million. The expenditure for 2021 is $335 million and projected total for 2022 is $369 million which suggests that pension expenditure is increasing $36 million on average yearly. Such a rapid increase in spending will pose financial challenges to government especially in this environment. Any intention to maintain this level of expenditure will result in more borrowing or increases in taxation.

To curb these economic and social challenges posed ahead the following measures are likely to face Barbadians from a legislative angle via bills of parliament which may be amended to match IMF’s fiscal affairs policies on pension reform.

  1. An increase in the retirement age across all pension schemes which will decrease outpayment from government while linking the retirement to average life expectancy.
  2. Limiting retirement benefits for highly paid civil servants which may come in the form of reduced direct contribution now to save output later. The reduction maybe recouped through an increase in contribution on other groups.
  3. An end to specific offerings e.g non-contributory pension as it should be noted the IMF is on record stating that such schemes are programs poorly targeted at poverty alleviation.
  4. New entrants will face strict regulations as it relates to digital payments only, increased contribution rates, increased penalties on early retirement.
  5. The NIS will be restructured from the board level to revamp its operations i.e relaxed regulation to allow the fund to invest in riskier financial options in order to increase financial rewards. Increased payment of NIS contributions are likely and a legal restriction on buying government paper similar to the restrictions the central bank has on printing money. Although funded by private citizens any strains on the fund as seen with unemployment claims will expose government to financial liability The main aim of amendments to the NIS act will be to protect government from being shouldered with debt from the institution which will starve off a potential crisis when payments of financial obligations to vulnerable groups become due.

The social implications are grave to bear with the BERT plan in place. As a new Barbados will emerge with less state responsibility to its citizens.

88 comments

  • The NIS will be restructured from the board level to revamp its operations i.e relaxed regulation to allow the fund to invest in riskier financial options in order to increase financial rewards. Increased payment of NIS contributions are likely and a legal restriction on buying government paper similar to the restrictions the central bank has on printing money.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Somebody finally figured out lockdowns will possibly be the final nail in the NIS coffin!!!

    Lord have mercy, Hallelujah!!

    Now we no longer have to rail against the “misallocation” of its resources by the GOB and private sector.

    We have a new hobby horse to deflect criticism from the relaxed regulations and riskier investments!!

    BTW, having destroyed numerous business and increased unemployment, how exactly can the statement “Increased payment of NIS contributions are likely” be reconciled?

    Pie in the sky!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • The intended pension reform is preparing government for the reality of an ageing population, declining birthrate, declining workforce which will be further depressed

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The biggest drain will be form women as the resident expert on life expectancy will no doubt point out.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    Wuh Loss!!

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  • The young man does not understand how state, occupational and private pensions work. It is not his fault, but he needs a crash course.
    As |I have said over and over, the NIS is not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced. Any other discussion is irrelevant.

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  • Mia plan for the NIS is for immigration reform to tackle the problem
    Hence her verbal comments of 80thousand immigrants to enter the island
    More money which goes towards taxes and NIS
    Meanwhile the other problems like infrastucture to meet all other needs can wait

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  • @ Angela

    As usual, Mia has not explained her ridiculous call for 80000 more people in Barbados, but your assumption is the only logical one, an increase in revenue. But this is voodoo economics, which probably her consultants have convinced her is what is needed.
    What the government needs is an improvement in productivity to achieve the nonsense of economic growth; this can be done without bringing in a highly dangerous new demographic to achieve it in an environment with 40000 unemployed.
    The real challenge is to get those people trained and equipped for the jobs market then get them in jobs. There is no easy answer.

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  • The author confuses two things here: the NIS for ordinary employees and the state pension for civil servants. The latter is paid by the taxpayer.

    It is therefore obvious that the cuts for our civil servants will have to be much more radical than for the NIS. The state has not set aside any reserves for civil servants’ pensions. Moreover, we are almost broke again. It is therefore only fair and just that civil servants show solidarity with the legions of the unemployed. Let’s say a cut of 50% in the S grade and 25% in the Z grade. Of course, ministerial pensions must remain untouched, because the savings effect here is minimal.

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  • @ Tron

    Being a politician is not a job. The politicians’ pensions should be abandoned and they should be encouraged to buy annuities.
    When a member of parliament loses his/her seat, they should be given a resettlement grant equal to six months of the annual pay. Then they are on their own.

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  • Don’t worry as i said on another topic here look for the monthly contributions between employer and employee to hit 35% of insured earnings and pension age shift to 70.

    Also remember you got 40,000 that basically have not contributed for nearly a year now, plus as it seems we do not plan to diversify the economy many not contribute for at least another 8 months if we lucky, longer if the covid drags on.

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  • @ John A

    You cannot have a retirement scheme in which the joint contribution from employer and employee amounts to 35 per cent of earnings. Not even in Hitler’s Germany.
    You just cannot increase the state retirement age to 70, not since Bismarck have we had such brutalism. The challenge is to get the 40000 in jobs, not to cry over their non-contributions.
    The real problem is that pensions are outside our general discussions about macroeconomics and politics, a knowledge deficit; we do not understand them and, as is typical in Barbados, if you do not understand a subject you keep silent and run away, or just become abusive.

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  • @ Hal

    35% of insured earnings not total earnings. Now it’s around 25 to 27 percent from memory.

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  • @ Hal

    Pensioners have already been hit hard with the restructuring as many were holding goverment paper. Their spending power has therefore been greatly reduced. That will hurt the economy going forward as well as many of them help their children and grand children financially.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ John A

    Pensions are not handouts from employers or governments. They are deferred earnings. The pensioner hs already earned that money. A conventional pension is about 40/60 (66.6 per cent) of earnings over a set period, for example 35 yo 40 years.
    State pensions are pay-as-you-go, so the investments ore restructuring has nothing at all to do with the retired person.
    As to spending power, that should be guaranteed by law, either based on the increase in the cost of living, or any increase in the average wage. In other words, whatever the cost of living increase, pensioners should be made whole.
    I suggest you have a talk with some of those returnee pensioners from the UK, who used to get all UK pension increases, including heating costs. It has now stopped because of a breakdown in talks between Barbados and the UK.
    Helping their children and grand children is a choice. I suggest you don’t. Parents support children to the end of university, or 18 if they do not go to university, and after that any help will come in the will.
    Don’t be blackmailed by your children. Say no to them. What is BARP doing?

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  • @ John A

    The current, standard NIS rates on insurable earnings not exceeding $1,126 per week or $4,880 per month is, EE = 11.10% and ER = 12.75% = 23.85%.

    So, an employee earning $500 per week would pay $55.50, while the employer pays $63.75.

    An individual can defer his/her pension to age 70. And, although it was being proposed to progressively increase retirement to that age, it would be unreasonable to do so.

    Taking the mismanagement of the NIS into consideration, there isn’t any other option but to implement a new pension system. That is the topic on which the debate should be focused.

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  • Some of us understand pensions at a sufficient level to follow but have nothing to contribute to improve the system because we are not experts.

    Therefore we read what others post and think about the it.

    But I knew enough to argue with my attorney that pensions are deferred income. It was the only thing that made sense.

    And if they are deferred earnings they should not be tampered with for those who accepted the job under those conditions. New hires should be made aware of the new conditions.

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  • @ Artax

    I agree with you 100%. At some point some goverment is going to have to bite the bullet and address this as it is clearly not sustainable. Truth is the tourism fallout has just hastened the process with the loss of 30,000 monthly contributors.

    What I wonder is what is the true net asset value of the NIS at today’s market valuation. If we put all of Sinkyuh bonds and all the real estate holdings of the fund for sale tomorrow, what sort of discount rate off booked value would it take to liquidate them?

    Lord then again it’s better we don’t know as it might stop us from sleeping.

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  • @ Artax

    Let’s say the loss on liquidating the fund based on its worthless paper and overpriced cost overrun real estate comes to $1.5 billion, you see any goverment in today’s world tacking that bear to the ground? Then lets say you end up with $2 B in clean working assets if you lucky, the type of return you would need on that to feed the liabilities of the fund is high. How ever you look at it contributions will have to go up and the government will on top of that ” top up” the fund yearly for at least the next 7 years or more.

    In other words however you slice it we the tax payers will have to pay for the gross mismanagement of the fund.

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  • @ John A

    As a Barbadian, it is an embarrassment the mess we are in. What is worse, is that we cannot even discuss the issues rationally. We are lost at sea.
    What normal policy-makers do is call in consultants to assist in setting up new schemes. The Eastern Europeans did after 1989.
    I remember the leading UK pensions lawyer of his generation used to holiday every year in Barbados. I once asked him if he would like to run a seminar while in the island to break up the boredom and he was very keen.
    I then got on the phone to a prominent QC who was anxious to tell me how many good lawyers there were in Barbados. It is a Bajan obsession, comparing themselves with others.
    On another occasion, a former UK regulator ran a pensions workshop in the Caribbean; at the end this woman from Barbados approached him and asked for help. He told her he was busy, but recommended me.
    He was being generous, as I am incapable of organising a party in a brewery; when he told me I told him that I had had email contact with the woman and had offered my assistance.
    Of course, I never heard from her. It is not the politicians or policy-makers that I care for, but ordinary people who have been working from school-leaving age and at retirement cannot make ends meet.
    Pensioner poverty is the worst kind of poverty.

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  • @ Hal

    I would bet you money that over the last 5 years and taking into account the bond restructuring that the net performance of the fund has not even kept pace with inflation. Of course an audit would confirm this but we don’t have any of those either for the period i refer to

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  • @ John A

    You are building a mountain out of a mole hill. Reforming the Barbados NIS is basic. The scheme is badly organised, it is in a mess. We must start from scratch.
    I now feel like an old scratch record: set up a new group defined contribution fund for those aged 16-44, giving the older members of the reorganised scheme up to 23-25 years to build up a retirement fund.
    In the meantime those aged 45 to retirement will be provided for by the state, or outsourced to a third party. That is normal business. It happens every day.
    About the other nonsensical commitments and so-called investments by the fund, just bring them all together under the umbrella of a Sovereign Wealth Fund with a proper mandate. Keep the politicians away from all state funds.
    Here is my mantra: such reforms will financialise the Barbados business environment and, at a stroke, we will leapfrog the Eastern Caribbean in terms of finance.
    Oh, by the way, in more sophisticated jurisdictions, even if people do not agree with suggestions, they are curious enough to ask for further explanations; in Barbados they do not even have that kind of curiosity.
    They prefer to go to a 25 yr old for economic advice (ie born under the Arthur regime) and who just repeats what he or she has been told by lecturers who themselves stop learning when they graduated.
    If it was not so serious it would be laughable.

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  • Deferred wages and salaries

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  • @ Hal

    How ever it is done the existing fund value would still need to be confirmed at market value so that a return on the working assets can be factored in. It’s no different say than if you or I wanted to buy a company that has not been audited for 15 years.

    In other words i will tell you what it worth not you tell me. You realise today no minister in government can tell any of us what the true market value of the fund is? That alone is a frightening thing! No one can say with certainty what the fund generates in net return over a fiscal year. They cant tell you the market value of the none performing assets. It’s all madness it just seems to be on autopilot and where it ends up is anyone’s guest!

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  • @ John A

    A proper audit of the NIS is not rocket science, unless it is being done by Bajans. The key is get a proper market valuation then transfer all its assets to a SWF.
    We are making a mountain out of a molehill. Our problem is the appalling ignorance of generations of lawyer/politicians. They have betrayed the country.

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  • @ Hal.

    Trust me establishing the valuations on the assets will take a bit of time. If the audits were up to date it would be easier. Auditing is a sequential exercise when the chain is missing several links it makes the job more difficult. But I accept what you are saying and a start must be made as time is of the essence now.

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  • @ John A

    We have had this discussion before. Market valuation is what buyers will buy the asset for in ope competition. Or, we sell our 49 per cent share ownership in LIAT for $1 then end up with debt obligations.
    Even a novice in finance or second hand car dealers would know better. Mottley had two years to put a new financial structure in place and failed to do so. She chose instead to default on the nation’s debt.
    Better late than never. She can now use the excuse of CoVid to bring in these changes then blame the lost decade.
    Barbados is in an economic mess of our own making. It is the result of the years of Barrow’s ‘free education’. We are a failed state.

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  • Our government should invest all NIS reserves in the proposed Hyatt. The NIS would then be something like a big gamble with the prospect of profit – or total loss …

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  • @Hal Austin February 8, 2021 3:44 PM ” Our problem is the APPALLING IGNORANCE OF GENERATIONS OF LAWYER/POLITICIANS. They have betrayed the country.”

    @Hal Austin February 8, 2021 2:47 PM “I remember the leading UK pensions lawyer of his generation used to holiday every year in Barbados. I once asked him if he would like to run a seminar while in the island to break up the boredom and he was very keen.
    I THEN GOT ON THE PHONE TO A PROMINENT QC who was anxious to tell me how many good lawyers there were in Barbados.

    Can you please explain for us that since you know that lawyer/politicians are appallingly ignorant, why then did you insist on getting on the phone with a prominent QC? I mean did you really expect something sensible to come out of an appallingly ignorant prominent QC?

    Don’t people become prominent QC’s only after they have spent decades being appallingly ignorant political yard fowls?

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  • @Tron February 8, 2021 7:02 PM “Our government should invest all NIS reserves in the proposed Hyatt. ”

    Since none of the NIS money is yours, you should really shut up.

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  • @John February 8, 2021 10:48 AM “The biggest drain will be form women as the resident expert on life expectancy will no doubt point out.”

    Traditionally women have been permitted to retire earlier than men since historically women have spent more time nurturing the next generation of taxpayers. Even while this is still true women no longer raise 5 to 20 children. Nowadays typically women raise 1 or 2 children, and live 5 or more years longer than men, Therefore I would suggest that since women draw out of the NIS for more years than men, that women should work and contribute to NIS for more years than men. So I’d suggest that men [many of wunna are serious rum drinkers and smokers with a low life expectancy anyhow] be permitted to retire at 67, and that women work until 70. Most of the women I’ve worked with are fit and healthy at 70 and still have a lot of fuel left in the tank so to speak. They have never smoked and have drank little or no rum. And think how many men could enjoy themselves at home on a nice pension, watching cricket or football or whatever and drinking some more rum while the wife went out to work for a few more years.

    Of course neither the IMF nor the GOB will never take my most excellent, sensible advice.

    I don’t know why, since women are nowhere as fragile as men have fooled themselves into believing.

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  • Fasten your seatbelts its going to be a bumpy ride
    Next target of the IMF:
    Free University Education

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  • Nowadays it is rare to see anyone smoking in Barbados but my impression is that there are more female smokers than male!!

    Women drink as hard as men do these days, and they take drugs like men do.

    You sure about the 5 year difference?

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  • Cuhdear BajanFebruary 8, 2021 11:00 PM

    @Tron February 8, 2021 7:02 PM “Our government should invest all NIS reserves in the proposed Hyatt. ”

    Since none of the NIS money is yours, you should really shut up.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They might be soon gone so they better move quick.

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  • … but it isn’t the smoking or the drinking!!

    It seems to be the eating.

    Women in Barbados are twice as likely to be obese when compared with men.

    Diabetes, heart disease.

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  • While I have met many great obese ladies in my day, somehow, if I think about it, I prefer less flesh, but that is a personal preference.

    I have heard it is claimed that Bajan men like their women big.

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  • … not too skinny though!!

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  • Has Kemar’s little problem been resolved? If so, what was the outcome?

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  • Just came in from turning off the irrigation. Sweet sounds of three neighbourhood roosters in seeming competition with each other.

    But they could never crow as loudly as Hal Austin, the no-it-all master of the Overseas Bajan put down.

    Could he offer his thought provoking comments without puffing, preening and strutting?

    Here’s Donna blowing HER own horn. Not many Bajans could sit through a seminar/lecture/workshop with this insufferable prig.

    But I could if I thought he had knowledge. First I would pick his brain and then I would cuss his ass!

    I pride MYSELF in being able to learn from ANYBODY. I also pride myself in being able to straighten up ANYBODY with a few choice words of truth. Even my bosses, my doctors and my lawyers.

    Even my priests, teachers…..and my FATHER and even my MOTHER.

    On those occasions I restricted myself to the Queen’s English.

    For Hal Austin there would be plenty of rassholes.

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  • Here watching Chris Jordan speaking to Alex Jordan at the T10 Abu Dhabi tournament. Chris is hanging on to his Bajan accent.

    Wonder what Hal Austin sounds like!

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  • ‘Therefore I would suggest that since women draw out of the NIS for more years than men, that women should work and contribute to NIS for more years than men. So I’d suggest that men [many of wunna are serious rum drinkers and smokers with a low life expectancy anyhow] be permitted to retire at 67, and that women work until 70.’

    Disagree. W e should be trying to get a level playing field for women, not tilting it against them

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  • @ The OGazertsFebruary 9, 2021 6:49 AM
    “Disagree. W e should be trying to get a level playing field for women, not tilting it against them..”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You better make such a (counter) proposal to Mother Nature by levelling, also, the life span playing field.

    How about allowing both men and women, on average, to live to 100 years with both retiring at 80?

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  • @Tron

    Wily thinks you must have been given a new sharpening stone for Christmas, your knife is real pointy and sharp these days, the keen edge passes over most of the bloggers intellect

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  • Donna February 9, 2021 6:09 AM #: “Could he offer his thought provoking comments without puffing, preening and strutting? Here’s Donna blowing HER own horn. Not many Bajans could sit through a seminar/lecture/workshop with this insufferable prig.”

    @ Donna

    I was thinking ‘the same thing.’

    I’ll admit sometimes he makes excellent contributions, especially on topics about pensions. But, they are unfortunately over shadowed by his inability to engage in simple discussions WITHOUT being rude, obnoxious or dropping unnecessary snide, insulting remarks and personal abuse to contributors. And, he has an uncanny ability to turn the serenity of BU into a toxic environment.
    It’s simply amazing that one individual could be so intolerant and contemptuous of the majority of BU’s contributors. For example, read two of his recent comments below.

    Hal Austin January 30, 2021 6:02 AM #: “Part of the betrayal of the island is that those who know better are afraid to speak out for fear they will be attacked by the BU hyenas.”

    Hal Austin February 2, 2021 1:25 PM #: “Our educational system has been failing us for the last fifty years; just read some of the regulars on BU, many of whom went to the best schools in the country.”

    Could his obnoxious, arrogant, condescending attitude be one of the reasons why he could give BU so many examples of people refusing to accept his offers to assist them? It’s always someone else’s fault and never his.

    I’m reminded of an acquaintance who often said, ‘habit is an action so often repeated that it becomes second nature.” Surely his behaviour is not confined to BU, ‘it is who he is.’

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  • “The leading causes of death were diabetes mellitus (163 deaths), ischemic heart disease (161), cerebrovascular disease (157), and malignant neoplasm of the prostate (105).” – PAHO

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If women in Barbados are twice as obese as men and obesity can lead to the first three diseases then up to 2/3 of the 475 deaths are probably women – that is approximately 320 deaths out of 475.

    We can assume that women will not die from malignant neoplasm of the prostate regardless of how obese they may be so of the top four killers in Barbados, women will be more likely than men to be represented in the 580 deaths due to the major killers.

    This puts COVID into perspective and shows us what our real health issues are here in Barbados.

    One only needs to look at the ministers in the GOB to see the problem.

    For the whole of 2020, 7 people died in Barbados from COVID.

    Even with deaths due to car accidents, the lowest number in a year was 11 and the highest 28 looking back to the stats online.

    You are more likely to die in a car accident than from COVID.

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  • … and eat in moderation, plus get some exercise.

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  • The management of NIS by the Barbados government since inception is a DISGRACE. The Barbados system was modeled on the Canadian system which unbelievably is still operating successfully, being modified over time to remain current. Barbados has two significant differences when trying to implement benefit schemes based on free currency state protocols, the PEGGED CURRENCY and inability to invest in FOREIGN assets and incompetent management. If you base your assets solely on ONE”your own” currency your going to be in TROUBLE. Diversification and proper management is STABILITY.

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  • Incompetent management is an understatement. I remember a few years ago Denis Kellman’s simplistic response to criticisms of his administration’s decision to lend NIS funds for private sector projects was, jobs would be created, which would result in a corresponding increase in NIS contributions.

    Unfortunately, he remained silent on the issue of repayment.

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  • @ John

    When 2 of them big mammas hold you and sit on you don’t come here looking for no sympathy when you get 3 brek ribs and God knows what else damaged.

    You got to be more politically correct and tell the ladies you not into buffet that you prefer an A la carte menu! LOL

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  • Just trying to help the resident expert on life expectancy gain some perspective.

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  • From her stories, she gets good exercise and eats well so no reason to take offence.

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  • 6 to 9 hours of hard outdoor exercise most weeks. Eat mostly ground food. Will have a nice breadfruit cou-cou and fish this evening. Some carrots and brocolli ‘longside, and some home grown paw-paw for dessert, unless the Bico truck passes, in which case the healthy dessert can go to hell. Never smoked neffen. Never took drugs.

    Always paid into NIS. Never took any sick leave money out, so they better have my pension money ready for me until I am about 90 or so.

    I will leave it to the political class and to the smart boys, rich boys and well educated boys of BU to figure our how. I’ve already done my part by paying in, and not taking out anything for more than 40 years, so I don’t wanta hear no talk ’bout de money int dey. If the system is effed up wasn’t me who effed it up.

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  • Cuhdear BajanFebruary 9, 2021 3:32 PM

    6 to 9 hours of hard outdoor exercise most weeks. Eat mostly ground food. Will have a nice breadfruit cou-cou and fish this evening. Some carrots and brocolli ‘longside, and some home grown paw-paw for dessert, unless the Bico truck passes, in which case the healthy dessert can go to hell. Never smoked neffen. Never took drugs.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    … and after all of that food and exercise, still with an insatiable thirst when the night comes!!

    It works!!

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  • Uh-oh! Lack of sleep again!

    KNOW-IT-ALL not No-it-all!

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  • I’m partial to BICO too.

    Cherry vanilla.

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  • I admitted to the doctor I was eating too much icecream and I knew it was bad for me.

    He had to tell me how could something that taste’s so good be bad for you.

    Since then I am cool with the icecream, just do it in moderation.

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  • Donna and John:

    The way I look at it the shareholders of Bico have to eat too. So from time to time I indulge in rum and raisin.

    And John I quench my thirst ONLY with WATER, a Bowmanston special or maybe a Bizzy desal special.

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  • @Hal Austin February 8, 2021 2:47 PM “I remember the leading UK pensions lawyer of his generation used to holiday every year in Barbados. I once asked him if he would like to run a seminar while in the island to break up the boredom and he was very keen.
    I THEN GOT ON THE PHONE TO A PROMINENT QC who was anxious to tell me how many good lawyers there were in Barbados.

    I really should charge Hal for this advice, but if you want to organize a seminar you don’t call a prominent QC who has probably never organized an event in his whole life, nor even a brandy and punanny bus crawl.

    Once you have your speaker, then you get your audience.
    Who wants to hear about pensions?
    The board, management and staff of the NIS?
    BARP executive and members?
    Central bankers?
    Other bankers?
    Insurance companies?
    Students of economics, finance, accounting etc.?
    Teachers of economics, finance, accounting etc.?
    Those in the private sector who are responsible for seeking out and managing pension funds for their employees?
    Trade unions who wish better pensions for their members?
    Professional associations of accountants, economists etc?
    Media
    As you can see we have not even got to prominent QC’s yet.

    Then you think about your venue, perhaps the university, perhaps the Central Bank, perhaps the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center, perhaps a hotel with an appropriate sized conference room.

    Then you find a way to pay for the conference facility, perhaps one of the big pocket insurance companies can do so.

    Since the seminar speaker is British perhaps you should rope in the British High Commission. because surely they would be glad to “show off” one of their brightest and best?

    Absolutely NO NEED for a QC, regardless of how prominent. Unless you too believe that prominent QC’s make the sun rise in the morning [metaphorically speaking of course]

    The truth is the prominent QC was likely too embarrassed to tell you that he [and I expect it was a he] to tell you that he has no idea how to organize a seminar nor a no panty bus crawl.

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  • @John February 9, 2021 2:47 AM “Nowadays it is rare to see anyone smoking in Barbados but my impression is that there are more female smokers than male!!”

    The female smokers are mostly young white women. Smoking is not cool. Smoking is NOT sexy. Somebody needs to counsel the young white gals. I nominate you..

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    Yup! That is who he is. He is not self-aware at all. His attitude gets in the way of the information he wants to convey. People will just stick cheese in their ears like the German soldiers in the British comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo when the French restaurant owner started to sing.

    In the case of the French singer, they did not miss anything. That is not always the case with Hal Austin.

    Pity!

    P.S. I know you don’t watch t.v. but the cheese image came to mind when I thought of myself at a Hal Austin presentation because his attitude grates on my last nerve.

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  • Before I went to HC, my school teacher organised a tour of the BAT cigarette manufacturing factory in Green Hill.

    It was a big deal.

    Probably 1964/5.

    Two of my five uncles and one of my four aunts chain smoked cigarettes back then.

    One of my uncles only smoked cigars/cigarillos when he could afford them to show how well heeled he was.

    A real poser!!

    It is amazing to realise how smoking has practically vanished from Barbados.

    Last year when I looked, it has the second lowest incidence of smoking in the world.

    Panama is lowest.

    When I see someone smoking now here, and it is both colours, and it is rare, they really stick out and I wonder if they missed the thing about the lung cancer.

    I have to bite my tongue to avoid saying something.

    Barbados owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Gale and the Cancer Society, Ms. Cooke-Johnson who did say something and said it loud.

    No doubt we still have lung and throat cancer deaths but at least we could do something about that statistic and we did.

    Maybe we might see Bajans getting off their bums, eating well and in moderation and enjoying life.

    .. and putting their mortal fear and dread of COVID behind them.

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  • This is a concise overall summary for cancer.

    Lung cancer deaths are small.

    Click to access brb_en.pdf

    Like

  • @John “No doubt we still have lung and throat cancer deaths but at least we could do something about that statistic and we did.”

    Dr. Gale especially was a real-real anti-smoking missionary. And he was so charming while he did it.

    My secondary school headmistress was a smoker, she did not smoke in the school but her home was in the school yard so sometimes we saw her smoking. She beseeched us never to smoke. Yes she died prematurely of smoking related disease.

    In the early to mid-70’s Barbados had the world’s 3rd highest rate of cervical cancer. We did something about it. Now we need to do something about prostate cancer. Our men deserve better. And contrary to what miller, whitehill etc. think, “no” I do not hate men. But “yes” it distresses me when they do not take care of themselves.

    Like

  • Oops! My comment on Hal Austin was meant for Artax.

    Like

  • @ John February 9, 2021 9:14 PM
    “It is amazing to realise how smoking has practically vanished from Barbados.

    Last year when I looked, it has the second lowest incidence of smoking in the world.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As usual you are living in the past of a more ‘smokey’ Barbadoes; for you are simplistically referring to the smoking of ‘rolled’ tobacco.

    The average ‘smoker’, especially among the young, is now into another more expensive plant ‘inhaled’ as a contraband substance and disguised in ‘rolled’ cigarette paper.

    Since ‘Smoking’ is so dangerous why can’t the government ban the importation and consumption of all forms of tobacco?

    What the government is eager to do is to find a replacement taxable habit (aka ‘sin’ tax) in order to make up for the shortfall in revenues from the reduction in tobacco consumption and possibly alcohol.

    Since it is extremely difficult to tax the new form of smoking of another (“dangerous” or Satan-created) plant which requires little processing to add taxable value and ‘fixed’ distribution outlets aka tax points, the Bajan government will continue to use the judicial system as its tax collector along with the introduction of a profitable revenue generating licensing regime under the ‘legalised’ guise medicinal marijuana.

    Like

  • The three major killers in Barbados are related to obesity.

    Not all diabetics will be obese nor will all of those with heart disease be so inclined either.

    Turns out those with the comorbidities of diabetes and heart disease are more likely to succumb to COVID.

    Let’s for a moment accept that obesity is something we can do something about in most cases, not all.

    If we were to become more physically active and eat sensibly then not only would the death rate form these three killers fall, but we would be less susceptible to dying from COVID.

    By all means measure the cases of COVID, but if we actually want to literally kill two birds with one stone, then concentrate on reducing the incidence of NCD’s like diabetes and heart disease.

    Forget the morbid fear and dread of COVID.

    Get healthy in mind and body.

    The shutdowns may result in people sitting down at home, eating and worrying.

    Perfect targets for COVID!!!

    Move on and keep moving.

    Like

  • MillerFebruary 10, 2021 8:36 AM

    @ John February 9, 2021 9:14 PM
    “It is amazing to realise how smoking has practically vanished from Barbados.

    Last year when I looked, it has the second lowest incidence of smoking in the world.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As usual you are living in the past of a more ‘smokey’ Barbadoes; for you are simplistically referring to the smoking of ‘rolled’ tobacco.

    The average ‘smoker’, especially among the young, is now into another more expensive plant ‘inhaled’ as a contraband substance and disguised in ‘rolled’ cigarette paper.

    Since ‘Smoking’ is so dangerous why can’t the government ban the importation and consumption of all forms of tobacco?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why would the GOB promote the legalisation of marijuana and investigate its large scale growing?

    Like

  • Who will act as if they did not know all this time? Until a white man gets on the news with money to tell slaves they are being robbed by crooks in the BBDLP government of Liars! There is a point with no shame that these government Ministers will show their crimes for money they have no way of paying back, Mia needs to be in jail for her crimes, and the lot of 30 elected by fraud! The People of Barbados put all the crooks in Office and now are being robbed, some will die when you go in line for your untested vaccine! Many will not see 2022 and will never have to worry about 2023! RIP, Support your Crime Minister get in line!

    Like

  • This is from Barbados Today.

    Two more deaths but read what else!!

    Chronic NCD’s!!

    Like

  • We need to address the NCD’s in Barbados.

    Get up and move.

    Like

  • @ John February 10, 2021 8:42 AM
    “Why would the GOB promote the legalisation of marijuana and investigate its large scale growing?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sir Johnny, since you have the everlasting plaster for every human sore why can’t you look into your own ‘wooden’ mirror and simply ask yourself why are you still unable to figure out why your mad narcissistic idol Trump lost the foretold “rigged elections” by just 11,000 Georgian votes?

    It’s all about making money and the Executing Arm of the State called the government ‘s might and right to a share of the once illegal pie just like it is with alcohol or tobacco or firearms to feed the always hungry behemoth called the public service and its ‘supervising’ parasitic political class which has its genesis in the days of the lazy unproductive Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings, Queens, Popes and now G Gs, Presidents and Prime Ministers and even Bishops.

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  • MTA

    Have you ever considered that Trump may end up with 3 terms?!!

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  • .. with control by the Republicans of both the Senate and House?

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  • Steupse! That would simply finish America. It would be “America alone in the world”!

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  • It is reported Kemar has resigned from the post of GS but remains a member of the party.

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  • It is reported Kemar has resigned from the post of GS but remains a member of the party…..(Quote)

    Plse explain in simple English. In any case, there is still a lot to be explained about whey he was prosecuted in the first place. When was he apprehended? How long was the delay between arrest and court appearance? What cause the delay? Why did he appear in court during the St George North bye-election? Was that a political decision?

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  • When original postings are changed they distort the record.

    Like

  • What has happened to our parliamentary democracy? Why is it that our so-called consultants, all unelected, continue to defend government policy in public? Where are the people who were elected?
    When I talk about a presidency some people become offended. Here is another classic example.

    A senior advisor to the Mia Mottley administration is refuting claims that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) intends to reform Barbados’ public sector pension scheme.

    In fact, Economic Advisor Dr. Kevin Greenidge has dismissed growing concerns as “much ado about nothing”, contending Government’s front-burner issues all surround the COVID -19 pandemic.

    He was responding to increasing anxiety among public workers following the IMF’s latest review that followed a virtual staff visit. Contained in the report are intended revisions to the country’s public service pension law to occur no later than June 2021 based on the findings of a recent independent actuarial report. According to the IMF document, once the findings are reviewed, a pension reform white paper will be brought to Cabinet for discussions on the long-term sustainability of the public service pension scheme.

    The developments are causing rumblings within the country’s largest public sector trade union, whose acting General Secretary Wayne Waldrond sought to allay the fears of members as he spoke on radio today.

    According to Walrond, numerous pension reform proposals have been “bandied about” that include increasing the early retirement age from 60 to 62. The union leader explained that some of the proposals have been considered reasonable, while others have been vehemently rejected. He, however, stressed that existing public servants will not be affected by any of these adjustments.

    Setting the record straight on Friday, Dr. Greenidge rejected outright, suggestions that the proposed reforms were IMF conditionalities. Instead, the advisor explained the paper was merely reporting on planned reforms and argued last year’s actuarial review is a bi-annual occurrence.

    “Let me start from the beginning and set the record straight. The IMF has not, did not and will not recommend any sort of pension reform for Barbados. None of its reports recommend any kind of pension reforms for Barbados. What the IMF report did was to report on what we are doing,” Dr. Greenidge explained.

    “Every two years we do an actuarial review. That is nothing new. We did that actuarial review and that has not even been discussed. But coming out of the actuarial review, the Government will prepare a white paper to discuss possible recommendations and the way forward.

    “So I can’t tell you that there will be an increase in the pensionable age or anything like that because I haven’t seen the recommendations coming out of the actuarial review report…No one knows and I think some people are trying to cause fear and confusion…In my view, it’s much ado about nothing,” he contended.

    Government’s advisory team, he added, has been much more focused on economic national stability amid repeated shocks brought on by the pandemic.

    “The [IMF] report says the government will prepare a white paper in Cabinet. That really is supposed to take place over the next few months, but given where we are with COVID, I don’t know if that is feasible because there are limited resources to deal with all the things that we have to deal with…COVID is the main concern right now – responding to COVID and taking care of people,” said Dr Greenidge.

    “The IMF has not told Barbados what to do and as I keep telling people, this is the Barbados Economic and Recovery and Transformation Programme (BERT). Barbadians set the programme, not the IMF,” stressed the economist.

    Meanwhile, the NUPW’s Walrond said he has been “bombarded with numerous calls” from nervous members demanding to know the status of their pension benefits in the wake of the recent IMF document.

    Walrond, however, noted that any adjustments to the existing arrangement would only affect new entrants to the public sector. Nevertheless, he admitted some previously-mentioned proposals would not receive the blessing of the union. These include moving the number of pensionable years of service from 33 1/3 to 40 years, reducing the annual rate of accrual from 2 per cent to 1.67 per cent.

    Conversely, Walrond admitted discussions on extending the age of early retirement from 60 to 62 would be more favourable to the union.

    “Obviously public officers hearing about the IMF and looking towards the public sector pension, it creates some unease about the impact, if their benefits are going to be reduced and what is the future for pensions,” he told listeners on Starcom Network’s Down-to-Brass-Tacks programme.

    “The NUPW is seeking to preserve the pension. Pension has been treated over the years as deferred earnings and as a part of your salary. There was a concept that a retired public officer should live with a level of social security in terms of their standard of living and to erode this would mean that pensioners would not enjoy the same income traditionally and that safety net would then be eroded,” he added. (kareemsmith@barbadostoday.bb)

    Like

  • JohnFebruary 10, 2021 10:07 AM MTA Have you ever considered that Trump may end up with 3 terms?!!

    Will never happen.

    Like

  • JohnFebruary 10, 2021 8:39 AM

    As you so real real scholastic, please explain the real cause of NCD’s and morbidity.

    Like

  • @ Hal Austin February 13, 2021 8:41 AM

    Greendidge is a total failure.

    Of course, we must radically cut the pensions of civil servants. Not only are our civil servants overwhelmingly far too fat and too indolent, they retire far too early and get far too high pensions in view of their failures.

    Without a doubt, the civil service is the number one institution in Barbados working under the principles of the old plantation system. It seduces young black men and women into doing nothing and discourages them from becoming successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.

    I wonder why our nationalist BLM activists do not denounce this injustice and instead threaten only certain entrepreneurs who could never become civil servants in Barbados.

    We need more intelligent people like PLT to promote free enterprise. The more black entrepreneurs in Barbados, the better off we will be. A first step would be to dismantle the state apparatus so that people see that the state cannot take care of everything.

    Like

  • @ Tron February 13, 2021 12:18 PM
    “We need more intelligent people like PLT to promote free enterprise. The more black entrepreneurs in Barbados, the better off we will be. A first step would be to dismantle the state apparatus so that people see that the state cannot take care of everything.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Then there would be NO need for so many career politicians and their obese coterie of sycophants aka consultants sucking on the excessively sore udders of the growingly poor taxpayers.

    How else would your Supreme goddess MAM sparkle if she is not surrounded by a highly-paid circle of dull ass-licking empty vessels?

    Like

  • @ Miller February 13, 2021 12:40 PM

    Our Supreme Leader would certainly like to cut pensions in half and kick out many civil servants. The problem is that the state apparatus, in its current monstrous size, represents the largest group of voters. Taking the right measures would be the equivalent of suicide in the next elections.

    However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to keep pointing out the racist nature of the civil service: blacks are seduced into being civil servants so that white entrepreneurs can continue to rule the island and the black masses stay poor as ever. And who came up with this system? Right, old Barrow. What an irony. The father of independence as the true architect of Barbadian apartheid. LOL.

    Like

  • Greenidge: No pension reform
    Recent concerns raised about possible changes to Government’s pension arrangement with public workers, which was mentioned in the most recent review of the Barbados economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is being categorised by a senior economic advisor to the ruling administration, as much ado about nothing.
    Dr Kevin Greenidge says contrary to the views of some pundits, the IMF has instigated no such reform to the pension system. Rather the report was pointing to Government’s commitment to do an actuarial review of the pension system every two years and one such review was completed last November. He said that this has been par for the course for years and was by no means a new pre-requisite.
    “The IMF has not and did not tell Barbados that it had to do anything on its pension, instead it reported what the Government of Barbados says it is going to do. Every two years we do an actuarial review of our pension system, and Government did that last year and based on the recommendations coming out of that it would implement certain things based on recommendations in the review,” Greenidge explained.
    White paper
    On Page 57 of the report, which is part of the section titled Memorandum of Economic And Financial Policy, which is attached to the IMF report, it states: “We will review the civil service pension scheme to address its long-run sustainability. To this end, we will table in Parliament a revised public pension law by end-June 2021 (proposed reset structural benchmark) informed by the actuarial review that
    is expected by end-November 2020.
    “We will prepare a pension reform white paper and discuss this in Cabinet. We hired external consultants to cost different pension systems for new entrants into the public service. We will carefully weigh different options, with important considerations to making the public service scheme contributory for new employees, increasing the earliest age of eligibility for new employees, and reducing the rate of benefit accrual for each year of service for new employees,” he said.
    The economist told the Sunday Sun that he had not seen a copy of the review nor had it been discussed at the level of Cabinet as yet, therefore, he was baffled as to why some people appear to believe that they possess the clairvoyance to predict what changes, if any, would come.
    “People put forward what they want for one reason or another. I have not even read the actuarial review as yet. It has been done and that needs to first be discussed at the level of Cabinet before any process can be done, so I cannot possibly tell you what is going to happen.
    Cabinet has to first decide what areas of the recommendations they are going to accept. This thing has not been discussed at all and even when it is, there will be a white paper prepared and therefore the country will be consulted. I don’t understand the fearmongering behaviour that some people choose to indulge in,” said Greenidge.
    He added: “These people are jumping the gun and they don’t know heads or tails about what they are talking about. The actuarial review is required by law every two years and coming out of that
    recommendations would be made. Anyone who can tell you what is going to happen beforehand must have a crystal ball.”
    (CLM)

    Source: Nation

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  • The article by Greenidge rightly speaks about reform for new entrants. This seems to be in recognition of the fact that pension is deferred earnings. And if pension is deferred earnings one cannot legally change entitlement after a person has accepted and worked in the post.

    I have long argued this and am happy to see it acknowledged, even if implicitly.

    Like

  • @DonnaFebruary 14, 2021 11:34 AM

    If the government has to cut everywhere (bonds, infrastructure, health, schools, military, social services), it may also cut pensions that already exist. This is common practice in developed countries. Even people who are already retired have their pensions cut there – with the consent of constitutional courts. Why should the countries of the North cut the pensions of their retired civil servants, but transfer money to Barbados via the IMF so that pensioners in our country can continue to live in luxury?

    A pension is nothing more than property. This property is not limitless, but is bound to the society and the common good. So if social transfers are cut across the board in Barbados, our government may of course do the same with state pensions for civil servants.

    It is quite another question whether our government will survive this politically. Given the fact that civil servants in Barbados are lazier and more pampered than average, I dare to doubt it. Without any doubt, the civil service is the very biggest liability for our island, even ahead of Corona and hurricanes.

    Like

  • @ Tron

    A state pension is not deferred wages. It is a benefit. However, it is very extreme for the state to cut the amount of benefits a beneficiaries receive. It is an act of desperation.
    You mention that in Europe the state sometimes cuts pensions. Plse name one country and when.

    Like

  • @Donna
    the good gentleman, Dr G, said nothing of any substance. The beauty of doing so, is you can infer whatever you choose.
    The resident Jester, occasionally seeks higher ground. He has told you the challenge.

    Like

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