Democracy, Apathy and the National Insurance Fund

For many years the blogmaster and others have posted voluminously about the importance of the citizenry actively participating in the type of democracy parodied from the former colonial master. While no man made construct is perfect the system of democracy practiced by the Western world is described – some will say by the cynics – as the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. 

Several reasons (excuses) have been offered for the increasing cynicism, distrust and apathy being directed by Barbadians at government – with decreasing voter turnout to elect members to parliament and poor turnout at town hall meetings to critique government sponsored initiatives is a good litmus test.

In recent days the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley has finally had to declare to the public the sorry state of the National Insurance Fund (NIF). For political reasons she indicated that the condition of the NIF was brought to her attention in June of 2022. However, keen followers of local affairs will recall that after winning the 2018 general election she stated publicly the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was in a mess and the government will have to circle back to it at some point. Also the 2015 NIS Actuarial Review along with Walter Blackman and other social commentators sounded off concerns about the rate NIS pension benefits were outstripping savings going back to the 2015 NIS Actuarial Report

Here is something we know, Prime Minister Mia Mottley CANNOT deny the poor state of financial discipline in the public service evidenced by over a decade old Auditor General reports. Can we reasonably assume she will assemble ALL permanent secretaries and relevant personnel as a matter of urgency to correct the problem? Surely poor financial management in government departments must be made a priority to ensure there is efficient use of scarce taxpayer resources? Then again didn’t the late prime inister David Thompson assemble the top management of state owned entities (SOEs) in 2008 to warn better was expected and how has that progressed 15 years later?

We are here now and Barbadians have been promised the opportunity to participate in stakeholder sessions to help with reimagining a NEW NIS Scheme. The blogmaster anticipates there will be energetic public participation given the threat of reduced NIS benefits and possible changes to eligibility. 

Do Barbadians understand the reason for the current state of play at the NIF – as one example – has a lot to do with the disinterest demonstrated to actively participate in our democracy? The disengagement has created a situation where the tail is wagging the dog and given rise to a marauding political class. Imagine if the same noise currently polluting the public space about the NIS was able to be sustained on the many other serious issues always confronting the country. 

The importance of a robust governance framework cannot be underscored as it relates to ensuring an efficient implementation and management of policies, accountabilities and performance to name a few components. If Barbadians are as intelligent as the size of the national allocation to the education budget suggests, there must come a time IQ/EQ is tangibly demonstrated through citizen advocacy even if it has to resort to civil disobedience. History is replete with examples to support meaningful change is only achieved when extreme positions are taken.

86 thoughts on “Democracy, Apathy and the National Insurance Fund

  1. David
    Culturally, you are a White man or an unpardonable Black lackey.

    These dated tropes were lies when first mouthed and remain rasssoul lies to this day, as told by racists.

    Can’t you see that like the NIS or your socalled democracy that nether has any deeply felt resonances amongst the people?

    That these can only be if one’s clock goes back to the recent historical past when the only world view inculcated was British. Can’t you see that that rasssoul day is dead, and should be buried.

    When you start off with these misbegotten ideas so deeply hard-wired in your cranial space, regurgitated ad infinitum, images of an old Englishman are conjured. An Englishman now dead for 500 years.

    None of this politics will ever again be able to awaken a sleeping lion. None of your colonial tropes about political palaver posing as the undemocratic. None of your NIS misdirections. None of it!

    Inately, the masses clearly see that your politics is nothing but a pappy show. That your democracy has nothing to do with social and economic justice. That they care not about the death of the NIS.

    As a result they are telling you and the political elites to fuck off!

    • Isn’t the topic position of this blog about the urgent need for citizens to take control by advocating using existing organs that are underutilized?

      What is your beef Pacha?

  2. David
    Self-serving tropes again.

    What was there before your political Christmas of a democracy?

    Why pretend that this socalled democracy is the alpha and omega?

    That there cannot be any further social, political or economic development birthed in the crucible of democracy’s death?

    Now you resort to the canard so given by a Alheimers patient in la Casa Blanca. Simple minded democracy v autocracy bullshiite. Our world is dynamic not linear.

    Your imbrededness about Russia is DNA centered. How can your fascism passing as socalled democracy even defeat them? Are they not defeating your faux democratic bs?

    This writer is an unrepentant anarchist. Political anarchy does not require another political Christmas to replace this one, as precondition. That is a fatal flaw of yours. A flaw which has brought total distruction.

    • @Pacha

      This is a circular exchange, you have no workable or plausible alternatives except to critique the existing.

  3. David

    Those who pretended to have an alternative were always self serving.

    Why demand that again. Let the anarchy of ideas always contend. Let the destruction of wickedness escalate.

    Why are you demanding of us another political religion to again enslave mankind?

    • @Pacha

      This isn’t what is happening here? Different positions contending?

      Man made constructs will never be perfect, as your nemesis Vincent always offer – things evolve.

  4. Pacha may be saying that last 500+ years of Capitalist / Colonial / White Domination has been a fraud and rejects White Countries with their stink attitude about men women and children of colour. Their biggest fear is Socialism and equal opportunity giving everyone a slice of the cake they helped to bake. The people who built colonial lands infrastructure were not the white masters but lower workers of colour.

  5. David

    The circular political firing squad must begin and end with you, your ilk.

    The capitalists have never tried to engage in self criticism. At various time they pretended to, just to become more and more fascist.

    This is what cultural decline is made of.

    We are not the ones who are pard to come up with new-speak, like fiscal space, to beguile the masses.

    As social scientists we can’t even agree on what constitutes a recession any more. Far less the construction of an organizing system outside of the anarchy of the Great Mother. Any such present or future attempts must fail, thankfully.

    Crappo smoke we pipe!

    • Tannis: Get it right
      Head of private sector group voices concern over Auditor General’s report
      The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) has joined the growing list of people and entities to voice concern over the number of financial discrepancies highlighted in the most recent Auditor General’s report.
      In a statement released by BPSA chairman Trisha Tannis yesterday, the BPSA lamented that these inconsistencies in financial accounting and record keeping were reported by the Auditor General over the years, and therefore the business community was querying why the necessary corrective steps had not been taken.
      She said that the state of affairs as reported by the Auditor General, is, and continues to be, “a perennial blot on the good reputation of Barbados as a well-governed state”, noting that the need for urgent corrective action cannot be overstated.
      “The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), like so many in our nation, is cognizant of the importance of the function of the Auditor General and lauds the mission and goal of
      the Audit office, noting the legal basis of its operation. It is against such a background that the BPSA, the representative voice of private sector associations in Barbados, puts on public record our deepening concern regarding the glaring deficiencies in financial accounting management, the lack of proper internal controls at many state entities as reported by the Auditor General and the need for greater accountability on the part of public sector officers who are charged with the management of public funds,” Tannis said.
      She added: “Given the trend of the reports, including the most recent, it is highly regrettable that tangible and significant progress to remedy the deficiencies, such as the significant lapses in financial management at state-owned entities (SOEs), and the lack of accountability for the proper recording of the use of public funds, has not yet been actualised, as the misstatement of public funds potentially can result in significant losses of taxpayers’ contributions.”
      Echoing the earlier calls of the Auditor General Leigh Trotman, the BPSA also expressed concern about the absence of the Public Accounts Committee, which cannot be constituted
      under the current legislation due to the absence of an Opposition Leader.
      “The lack of a functioning Public Accounts Committee also is a serious concern and one which we agree with other stakeholders, should also be addressed as a matter of urgency given the independent monitoring functionality and scope of the Committee.
      “Whilst the absence of a parliamentary Opposition has deprived the committee of a chairman, the Government has within its power the ability to move swiftly to correct this legislative shortcoming,” she said.
      Reminding the ruling administration of its manifesto promise to end wastage and corruption, Tannis said: “Looking to the future, Barbados should avoid the present revolving door of politically appointed directors and chairpersons as this does little to build commitment and institutional knowledge at the board level.”

      Source: Nation

  6. @ David

    I hold little hope for us the public ever being able to change anything with the NIS. This government has been handed two 30 to 0 wins and the MOF has the say on the NIS cheque book.

    As long as the above remains as is the NIS and Central Bank will always be the ” buyer” of governments issued and unwanted paper. The press are a waste of time and there is no opposition either, hence the need to react to pressure is absent. The NIS has reached critical point now where only an injection of cold hard CASH can help. No more useless paper or bonds or promises can be used to pay pensioners or benefits. That sadly requires cash and cash only.

    That my friend is our reality now.

  7. 555


    When the fossils of people like David are dug up they shall be shouting -democracy! democracy!

    And the anthropologists will be forced to decipher the level of ignorance so prevalent within this epoch.

    David will never see the NIS as a socialist construction. A construct deliberately dismantled by Joe Biden and American ‘democratic’ financial empire, starting 1980. Not only destroyed, but redistributed to oligarchs in Barbados and the rest of empire.

    Such blinded people are worthy of the death sought.

  8. David

    We have no such deposits. Will never so apply. Just picked up a Mir card though!

    Do you presuppose that this writer is cut from the same cloth as you?

    Must this writer be the only committed rassssoul radical here. Be Jesus Christ, we have determined 30 years ago that this was unavoidable. And am willing to live or die on that cross.

    • @Pacha

      If you are prepared to lay down your life for the cause then there is nothing left to be said than – forgive them for they know not.

  9. David
    Bible talk will get you nowhere with us.

    We do not seek being a rasssoul sacrificial lamb for nobody but ancient Ancestors and self.

    There is nothing about Barbados for which this writer is willing to die for, so that rasssoul people like you give the highest national honors to “other” idiots.

  10. David
    You have previously agreed that sacrificial blood given in the crucible of struggle like those who died in the riots of the 1930s etc cannot be as valuable as the exploits of a woman on stage or a rasssoul man running around behind a bat and a ball.

    Are you an intellectual whore?

  11. We have two problems, one is called BLP and the other DLP.

    Both are inimical to any economic growth because both are corrupt, wasteful, useless and incompetent organisations.

    Each supports the other in raping Barbados of its economic assets.

    What is the effect of high unemployment on NIS?

    Simple, no contributions possible from a large sector of population and a drain through the benefits that need to be paid out.

    My bet is that fertility is not the elephant in the room, the economy is.

    If there was a growing economy, it would make sense to have a family but for the moment, only crazy young people would plan to have a family.

    My bet is that weddings are falling, it makes no sense these days to make those kinds of long term commitments because their foundations have been undermined by the B’s and D’s.

    How many political leaders actually have families and are able to identify with those that do?

    Every one of our leaders since Independence have had some form of dysfunctionality in their families.

    Trying to milk the self employed to try to raise contributions is an exercise in envy and will just hasten our country’s destruction.

    We had a booming economy in agriculture which has practically been destroyed by the avaricious appetite for land which can be developed.

    So whole plantations are destroyed for a few people to gain access to the development plums that are part of these plantations.

    In a truly forward looking country, these plums would be picked/developed and profits ploughed back into the land and the improvements in the economy it brings.

    Unfortunately, this thinking is viewed as anachronistic.

    Successive GOBs have killed the golden geese, they can’t get at the tourist sector which is largely owned overseas with revenues developed overseas, out of the reach of the GOB.

  12. Johnny
    Both parties came from somewhere, no?

    When we look at Whitehal or Washington we see the same decadence.

    Maybe. WHITEY is the fungus, the fundamental problem.

  13. @David

    We have to accept facts and reality. I am and always will be a PROUD Bajan. ALWAYS.

    But facts are facts. We have not done nearly enough to re model the mindset of our people and our economy over the last 50 years to result in a level of broad based, diverse innovation that leads to large FX inflows. It’s just a fact. No debate. This could only mean one thing. Barbados is headed for worse, harder times.

    Dreamy, fantastical talk alone that will not change that trajectory. Other countries and economies have failed. We are not exceptional and immune to basic facts. We act like we do but in reality we are not. That is what our pride would not let us believe. We think we are special, punching above our weight with our 98% literacy rate. This is who we are. We have been sold a bunch of sh7te that is just emotional fodder but never really grounded in fact and does not translate to a sound economic future.

    We are at that moment where bullcrap can’t plaster the crap anymore and we can’t kick the can any further with cheap loans. Unless we find oil now like Guyana our standard of live WILL drop and times will get tougher . It can and has happened to other well meaning, well intentioned countries. Sri Lanka??? It is FOLLY to ask bloggers and citizens to do what elected country managers failed but were paid handsomely to do over the last 50 years. We don’t have access to all relevant information and our elected officials want to make this situation worse. Imagine that. But yet have the gall to say they are interested in public discourse. We are not driving the bus. Even if we protest and strike. What happens next? Who leads and implements the day after? At the end of the day without good focused leadership, nothing changes after the protests and strikes.

    Whether we believe or not. Facts and consequences follow their own truth. They do not care if this is who we are. They are not interested in watching muh.
    The writing is on the wall. Who chooses to see it is irrelevant.

    The ONLY solution is GOOD FOCUSED leadership. Always has been. This is where we failed the most:

    Signed – PROUD but realistic Bajan

  14. David

    All that “good comment” means to you is your determination to ry to make a dying system wuk. “MORE BETTER”

    You are destined to go down with this ship.

  15. “We do not seek being a rasssoul sacrificial lamb for nobody but ancient Ancestors and self.”

    Permanently and irrevocably disconnected from ancestors and unable to discourse at that level. Everything is seen and conceived at the physical and not spiritual level….another generational journey to nowhere, which may last a good 5 or 6 thousand years or more this time around. matter how hard you try..hopelessness is a thing for those thus socially manufactured. In other words, they have no clue of what you speak and never will. They were not meant to.

  16. It doesn’t matter how proud a person is, a failed economy is a failed economy.

    The tough thing to accept is that the economy was booming after WWII as it was in most countries.

    Corruption after Independence destroyed it.

    That is not what our politicians, historians etc. want as a narrative because it would mean they all all failures and corrupt.

    Once you accept that irrefutable fact that there was a time when the economy boomed you then can set about understanding how and why it failed and figure out for yourself what to do.

  17. @ Pacha
    What is inherently wrong with analyzing why a system failed, with the intent of taking corrective action…?

  18. “……..Unless we find oil now like Guyana our standard of live WILL drop and times will get tougher………”. Do you mean like Nigeria? Where Nigerians sabotage oil pipelines on a daily basis in order to salvage “free oil” and often lose their lives whilst in the process.

    A country’s mineral wealth does not guarantee their citizens a prosperous lifestyle; quite often, it has the opposite effect. Barbados almost certainly has large oil reserves within its territory. These reserves, if they exist, have probably been sacrificed by our leaders, past and present, as collateral against fraudulent loans.

    Let’s cut to the chase and admit that our country may have to bring to a premature end our current leader and her mock government in order to rescue itself. The people have heard enough lies from both the BLP and the DLP. The NIS fiasco speaks volumes as to to how fraud is a major component of party politics.

    The current government no longer has the luxury of wriggle room to accommodate their minority friends and their personal wallets. We know that Barbadians have reasonable savings in their bank accounts and that the NIS probably still have limited cash resources. We also know that this mendacious government would like to have access to these monies. Should they attempt to make a raid on either they would have signed off their future. They will go the way of Ceausescu the notorious Romanian dictator or Idi Amin who lived out his final years in Saudi Arabia. Either way, I do not give a damn.

    I would not like to be a Barbados politician or a member of the Barbados elite. Neither group can escape their past. And whilst we are at it, whatever happened to the much vaunted new constitution.

  19. “@ Pacha
    What is inherently wrong with analyzing why a system failed, with the intent of taking corrective action…?”

    A corrupt neocolonial slave system needs no such analysis, it speaks volumes for itself…your young people are dying which shows up all the built in failures. There is no correct option beyond the original engineers building a new one around the current one that is about to crash and burn leaving those waiting for corrective measures never seeing the negative effects of a new one for another half century. Translation….yall have no power to do anything but lament the degradation until you are GIVEN another mirror image arrangement.

    Pacha..i too wonder sometimes why we bother.

  20. on said:

    OR…one choice.

    Abandon it.

    Take charge and have nothing to complain about as MASTERS of YOUR OWN DESTINY.

    But once you leave it to sleazy corrupt politicians with 5 two-legged MASTERS of their own to apoease and answer to…..stay screwed and complaining for another 6 generations or much longer until there is nothing left to suck out of you…and then you are useful only for elimination.

    I did not make the rules…for those who want to take offense..check ya own bloodlines if ya want someone to blame.

  21. Here is an interesting population in the US with a fertility rate of above 6.

    It does not contribute to nor withdraw from the Social Security System, (kinda like us before NIS)!!.

  22. @TLSN

    How can you compare Barbados and Nigeria without context? Barbados is a tiny island. If oil is to be found it will be offshore and out of reach for pipeline thieves…not so? Most countries have learnt the lessons of the Dutch Disease but ofcourse there will be corruption. That is global. But more inflows mean more tax revenue despite the corruption.

    Look at the Middle East. Of course corruption exists there but there is enough wealth generated that development also takes place.

    And after you vote out this current government what next? Who implements the needed plan? The same BDLP candidate pool failures that generated the problems in the 1st place??

  23. “The current life expectancy of members of the Old Order Amish community is about 72 years, nearly the same as the life expectancy of the average American. Nearly, that is, except for two significant differences. First, among the Amish, the 72-year life expectancy is for men and women, while in the general population women tend to outlive men by about seven years. Second, the Amish have had a 72-year life expectancy not only for the past few decades, as have most Americans, but for the last 300 years—since they settled in the United States in the 1700s, when most people living in America were dying in their 40s.”

    …. for the resident life expectancy expert’s consideration!!

  24. Bush Tea

    Sounds like a subject for a dissertation.

    Simple put, there are some things for which we only get one chance at. And when failure comes, what’s the point of analysis. Existential issues, for example.

    Sometimes the truth is already the lived reality for people everywhere, in these circumstances studies just serve to confirm already accepted truisms.

    As a social scientist one lives by studies. But these too have many limitations.

    Don’t know specifically your point. But in the case of the NIS, the destruction of the population growth rate and the criminal leveraging of the fund as a means to destroy it have been central. We were not ignorant about these, but still we persisted. How would studies help now. No number of studies can resort pensions to old people from a broken NIS finally goes belly up.

    In the case of Western uncivilization, and the destruction of us it has wrought, we already knew this historical moment was unavoidable. In this, the historians and anthropologists should be given time to make an intervention.

    We need to embrace a real future. For the future is vastly more important than the past. Studies are largely about the past.

    • @Pacha

      Several contradictions alto ne your last comment. From all reports social security systemic across the globe are struggling to pay benefits. To your point earlier the system notwithstanding mismanagement or malfeasance has to change. The many challenges affecting the NIS are linked to a societal malaise.


  25. David


    Well, do you think all these SS systems just happen to be failing at the same time by osmosis?

    What are these contradiction?

  26. National Insurance Pension schemes work on the basis that young work force will pay for old peoples pensions.
    But, more young are unemployed as there are less jobs due to automation globalisation and smaller workforces.

  27. Nope.

    They work on the same basis as any pension scheme.

    You gets out whats you puts in.

    The young puts in for themselves.

    They are not supposed to be raided.

  28. “Well, do you think all these SS systems just happen to be failing at the same time by osmosis?”

    over 20 years ago there was big news that they would fail around this time…..i have mentioned it a few times over the years…….don’t know what news people listen to but it’s no secret that this would happen…..they fail even faster WHEN YA TIEF FROM THEM….. by the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS……

  29. :The good news is…from reading the mood on the ground, the people understand COMPLETELY that they have been ROBBED of their NIS contributions, VAT and the treasury raided like clock work….by both governments and the minority crimunity…..and they are NOT AMUSED…

    so they will never take any sweet talk in an attempt to relieve them of their hard earned savings to purchase J-Series = JUNK….

    …one even told me that the Afrikan population have always been BARRED from investing in Notes, now all of a sudden they are expected to invest in that too….sorry, those are only fowls, pimps and crooks…nuhbody else int wahn dem…ya can still get a ready supply of toilet paper at the supermarket….don’t need to pay for expensive wipes…

  30. Waru

    Yes. Traditionally SS funds were fairly conservatively invested. With the entry of neoliberalism these funds became piggy banks for whosoever will, corporate interests, governments.

    Over the last 30 years with neoliberalism there was a purposeful determination to loot these funds, raid defined benefit plans in the private sector.

    This has been one of the greatest sins committed against ordinary people by capitalism. A crime not unlike slavery in relative terns.

    We should have stood up against this demand of empire 30 years ago, but no. Still now, after all the damage they did tuh us, we have lackeys here still looking to these criminals for manna from a capitalist heaven.

    This is no real country!

    • It is no secret low interest rate climate has been a challenge for social security systems across the world. The inability to generate a decent rate to grow savings is a part of the problem. The blogmaster does not disregard the fact there was wastage linked to bad decision making. However there are other reasons to consider.

  31. “We should have stood up against this demand of empire 30 years ago, but no. Still now, after all the damage they did tuh us, we have lackeys here still looking to these criminals for manna from a capitalist heaven.

    This is no real country!”

    i told them a former trading post for Slaves….a CLEARING HOUSE….will NEVER be a real country….but let them have their fantasies and fairytales, ah guess that’s their crutch..

    they are still not getting it, while they are hoping and praying to keep a DEAD CARCASS alive for its stench, the aroma of oppression and bondage that they have grown WAY TOO ACCUSTOMED TO and are now so TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON……..they HAVE NO CLUE what is approaching them…..slavery by any other name….is STILL…

    *sorry, those are only FOR fowls, pimps and crooks

  32. Globally low interests rates do not directly translate to the same in Barbados.

    Tell us who in Barbsdos would have had interest rates under 3 percent. Or even negative interest rates regimes.

    In any event, when dealing with SS funds, the tradition has been, previously, to err on the side of caution, the preservation of capital. With the expectation that relatively normal or higher rates will return.

    Moreover, interests rates is merely a single variable factor in these complex sets of equations.

    • @Pacha

      A pension fund has to be able to generate a determined rate of return to cover off pension expense.

  33. David
    We agree. But when faced with inordinately higher risks of losing significant accumulated capital it may be better in the short and medium terms to control expense exposure even by tolerable reductions in capital.

    • At the crux of this matter is that there is a symbiotic relationship between a strong economy , a vibrant investment climate and a solvent social security system. That said there are many moving parts, variables.

  34. Give it a rest David.
    When the Moontown man Kellman was up and down talking nonsense about how it was better to take up NIS funds to invest in stupid short term projects than is solid investments… Bajans said nothing…
    When Stinkliar sold the solid investment in Bl + P and put the forex into the bottomless consolidated fund some hailed it as brilliant strategy – especially the Frenchman’s wife Petra.

    You done know that “Wuh sweeten goat mout does burn he belly”…
    Bad management, bad investments, idiotic policy making, Morons at the wheel.

    Now we are blaming population levels, interest rates, bad luck, Covid, volcanic ash.?… everything but allowing drivers who cannot drive to manage our money.

  35. Bushie is a messenger not a driver.
    Besides, the brass bowl passengers are happy as shiite.. as long as there was a Kadooment.

  36. 2020 come and gone and still no Sam Lords!!

    Where has all the money gone?

    When will we ever learn?

    How many roads we need to go down,

  37. Pingback: Barbados Needs Good Focused Leadership Says Bajan Living Overseas | Barbados Underground

  38. NIS OWED $56M
    Severance Fund ‘may be challenged’ due to shortfall from employers
    By Shawn Cumberbatch
    Companies which terminated employees but did not pay them severance owe the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) more than $56 million.
    With the NIS facing an estimated additional $26 million in pending severance claims, its actuary believes that the Severance Fund “may be financially challenged soon”, and is recommending a comprehensive review of the legislation governing how it functions.
    The Severance Fund’s challenges are detailed in the 17th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Fund, Unemployment Fund and Severance Fund as of December 31, 2020, which was prepared by NIS actuary Derek Osborne and colleague Simone Balkissoon of actuarial firm LifeWorks.
    “The Severance Fund may be financially challenged soon if most employers are unable to pay the amounts due to their former employees, and the large amount due from previous employer payments remains uncollected,” their July 22, 2022 report warned.
    “The fund also faces administrative challenges which ultimately result in lengthy delays in payments to severed workers.”
    The actuaries explained that the Severance Fund, which is administered by the National Insurance Board (NIB), provides a 25 per cent refund to employers who make the required severance payments.
    In cases where the employer refuses or is unable to make such payment, the Severance Fund makes the payment directly to the employee and the amount paid is recoverable by the NIB.
    However, the actuarial review found that “while employer rebates from the Severance Fund closely matched investment income over the three years [2018 to 2020] with no contribution income, payments made on behalf of employers who were unable to make the required severance payments totalled $51 million”.
    “During the three-year review period, employer payments were three times employer rebates, which indicates that many employers fail to make the required statutory payments to severed employees,” the report stated.
    The NIS actuary said that as a result of this, $56.6 million was due to the Severance Fund “from employers who did not make their required severance payments”.
    The actuarial review report said the Severance Fund would also be challenged by delayed but “significantly higher than usual” payments linked to unusually high redundancies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “It will likely take several years for employment
    and contribution collections to return to pre-2020 levels,” the actuaries predicted.
    “The number of outstanding severance rebates and employer payments pending as of December 31, 2020, were 393 and 856, respectively. Based on the average severance benefit payment (100 per cent) of $27 000 per claimant, it is estimated that the rebates and employer payments of $26 million are due for pending claims.”
    The report said that “delays in the appointment of tribunals and thus hearings have affected the processing of severance payments and timing of benefit payments”.
    Excluding contributions due and amounts owed by employers, the Severance Fund had $107.3 million in reserves at the end of the actuarial review period, including $21.3 million in cash.
    However, most of this – $88.5 million – was in investments, 97 per cent of which was tied up in Government bonds.
    Pending claims
    Given the estimated $26 million in pending severance claims, the actuaries said that “most of these bonds may need to be liquidated prior to maturity or exchanged with the National Insurance
    Fund for cash”.
    The Severance Fund’s investments declined by $95.2 million over the three-year period covered by the review, and the report explained that $50.3 million of this “was due to Government’s debt restructuring in 2018”.
    Given the challenges facing the Severance Fund, Osborne and Balkissoon advised Government to “conduct a comprehensive review of the Severance Act with specific emphasis on its relevance during current labour market conditions, and how severance benefits fit with other incomesupport benefits. “Improving equity among employers by ensuring that those who initially fail to make employer payments are eventually made to pay, as well as improving actual claims and benefit payment processes, should also be given high priority,” they recommended.
    They added that “while the fund’s sustainability is now questionable following debt restructuring and higher than normal redundancies due to COVID-19, a comprehensive review of the Fund is still recommended as most of the fund’s payments are made on behalf of employers who failed to meet their obligation, and there is little success in recovering these funds”.

    Source: Nation

  39. Options proposed for NIS rescue plan
    By Colville Mounsey

    An increase in the retirement age to between 68 and 72 years and a small hike in the contribution rate of half to one per cent are being recommended to help avert a crisis with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
    These are among the recommendations put forward by actuary Derek Osborne to avoid the Scheme running out of funds in just over a decade.
    Osborne, speaking to the media at the NIS headquarters on Culloden Road, St Michael yesterday, disclosed that other options included raising the first age at which old age pensions are payable anywhere from 62 to 65 years.
    He pointed out that the maximum pension payable is now 60 per cent and can be reached after about 36 years of contributions. He suggested that the number of years required to reach 60 per cent be increased to 40 or 45 years. The maximum pension replacement rate could be looked at with the goal of reducing it from 50 per cent to 55 per cent, he added.
    Review of benefits
    The actuary said that under no circumstance should there be a reduction in the minimum pension rate, which currently stands at $243 per week. However, he said the time has come to review some of the existing benefits offered by the NIS.
    “Any change to any benefits will not happen immediately but must be phased in over an appropriate period of time as was done in 2004. After 55 years of existence, all existing benefits will be reviewed, making sure that each benefit works effectively for those for whom they were intended,” Osborne said, noting that the
    invalidity benefit and unemployment benefits were two areas that could be tweaked.
    He explained that with the invalidity benefit, the NIS has a binary policy of paying either 100 per cent or zero. He said a payment of reduced invalidity benefit if someone returns to work for lower earnings could be a viable option.
    Such a move, he added, might incentivise people receiving invalidity benefits, who are capable of doing jobs such as answering phones or working from home on a computer, to seek part-time employment.
    On possible changes to the unemployment benefits, Osborne said: “The suggested reduction of the maximum unemployment benefit period from six months to four months [could be made], and a redesign of the Severance Payment Scheme to ensure relevance with the current realities.”
    He stressed the need to have more self-employed and informal sector workers paying into the NIS. Previously it had been revealed that only one in eight self-employed people pay up.
    “Forms do not easily allow this and we need to move to a flexible contribution payment system that does not require forms, does not require specific due dates and does not require specific amounts. Improving employer compliance is critical and the NIS must go after employers in a more determined way.”
    In relation to investments by the NIS, the actuary said it was no longer a good idea for the state-owned social security to put all of its eggs in one basket, namely Government debt. Last week Osborne disclosed that due to the Government’s 2018 debt restructuring, the NIS lost $1 billion, albeit a factor that would have only fast-tracked the current trajectory by three years.
    Reduce exposure
    “NIS does have over 60 per cent of its assets in Government debt after the restructuring; most of it is Series E bonds which get eight per cent after 25 years. So while it is a good rate of returns, it is a lot of eggs in one basket and this is not good from an investment standpoint. The NIS needs to consider whether or not they could reduce that exposure.
    “We don’t want to hurt the Government of Barbados to save the NIS; that does not work. NIS will be strong if you have a strong Barbados. So on a gradual approach, the idea would be to reduce the exposure in Government debt and find an alternative that gives you diversity by country, by currency and by type of investment,” he said.

    Source: Nation

  40. National Insurance town hall meeting

    Members of the public are being urged to join the discussion on the National Insurance Scheme as the National Insurance Department holds its first town hall meeting tomorrow.
    It will be held at Combermere School, Waterford, St Michael, from 6 p.m.
    The topic will be: How Can We Revitalise The National Insurance
    Scheme – For Us, Our Children And Grandchildren?
    The meeting, which will be live-streamed on social media, will also address the latest actuarial report. (BGIS)

  41. @David August 14, 2022 4:43 AM

    That is the same plan the Late Owen Arthur implemented when retirement age went from 65 to 67 and rates went up. Poor Owen must be turning in his grave. If that is the best they can come up with, they must think we are a bunch of fools feeding us warmed over soup.

    Does this mean we are going to work till we dead on the job so they can keep the Ponzi scheme they calling a pension fund on life support. A very poorly managed pension fund is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme like what Clico ended up being and we all know where that ended.

    The best solution is a two fold one

    1) Pay every citizen or permanent resident the current non-contributory pension on reaching age 65 and fund it with adjustments to VAT on an annual basis.

    2) End the current mandatory NIS contributory pension scheme and replace it with a true contributory pension scheme that works like those in the private sector where you only get a pension based on what you contributed.

    People will now have the freedom to choose which pension schemes they want to join if they want more than the non-contributory pension when they retire or invest their savings in other ventures if they are not content with the non-contributory pension.

  42. Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol on said:

    Notice of CEASE and DESIST ORDER
    John said the 60s was the decline of US values, so he cannot post songs from the 60s movement when white hippies got stoned and made love and black radicals fought the man.
    Trump boys have a very limited set of musical references and artists that they can use.

  43. @David

    To have a good economy, government simply needs to get out of the employing people and micro management business.

    The only areas government should be involved in is Legislation Drafting and Regulation, Quality Standards Setting and Fair Trading Matters, Law Enforcement, Defense and Disaster Management, Land Zoning and Management, Road and Traffic Infrastructure management, Education to Secondary Level and Welfare Assistance for those below the poverty line all managed by the Civil Service.

    All other areas government has historically been involved in should either be fully privatised or run as non-profits managed by tripartite boards (staff, government and business expertise reps) and a contracted CEO.

  44. @ BajeabroadAugust 13, 2022 2:25 PM

    I was disappointed with your reply below:

    ……..And after you vote out this current government what next? Who implements the needed plan? The same BDLP candidate pool failures that generated the problems in the 1st place??……

    Your reply is based on complacency that irrespective of how bad our political system is, we only have the choice to elect either the Dees or the Bees. Is it any wonder the country is in such a state with this mindset. Imagine if you lived in a remote area with only two building companies. You used one to build you a house and it collapses. You then decide to use their “competitor” and the same thing happens. Would you return to the first builder and ask him to build you another house? Hell no!!!!

    The moral of the story is to look beyond the status quo and to make every effort to destroy every root and branch of its existence. Other groups will take its place for better or for worse.

  45. Johnny

    Joan Baez?

    Peter, Paul & Mary?

    These anti-war voices of the 1960s were never cut from the same reactionary political cloth as you 🤣

  46. “The moral of the story is to look beyond the status quo and to make every effort to destroy every root and branch of its existence. Other groups will take its place for better or for worse.”

    they need to WEAN THEMSELVES OFF…the corrupt political crutch..

  47. @ David

    The interest rates were low but markets both overseas and in the region have done well over the last few years. Look at Fortress caribbean growth fund, sagicor growth fund and others to mention a few.

    Don’t look for no excuses, both the dems and the Bees must take blame for demolishing the NIS financial position. First sinkyuh forced the NIS to buy billions in worthless bonds, then Mia came along in the restructuring and wiped $1 billion dollars in assets off the NIS books. So both parties got to hold nuff blows for where the fund now stands.

    Then let’s look at the properties which the NIS own and who are the tenants of most of them. What rents are they paying as a percentage of investment return? The whole thing is one big sham now. The NIS is nothing more than a financial facilitator for central government. It stop being OUR LIFE LINE year ago and it’s time every bajan realises just that. It is no more than an unaudited cash cow for the purchase of the states worthless paper. Although now it seems the same can be said for the central bank it would appear.

  48. I enjoy their music but laugh at the artists of the 60’s as it is clear their very same liberal left wing thinking has evolved into the same authoritarian thinking they claimed to detest as anyone could have predicted.

    Left is left, you can’t get something from nothing!!

    I like to watch for their self righteous expressions as an indicator of how they turned out true to form over time.

    Turn off the volume and watch the expressions, …. like they plan to change the world and recreate it in their own image.

    Imposters just using the capitalist system they claimed to hate to make a fast buck.

    … but I enjoy the music of my youth and I enjoy even more seeing what an older person at the time would have said about how they turned out today …”I told you so”.

    Nothing most youngsters have substitutes for age, wisdom and experience.

    All those artists were and are imposters!!

    Like most politicians … Trump excepted!!

  49. So how many people going to Combermere Hall to catch COVID?

    It’s the economy stupid, it has been destroyed by the left wing ideologies of past politicians.

    Saving the NIS is not possible!!

  50. @ John A
    “It stop being OUR LIFE LINE year ago and it’s time every bajan realises just that. It is no more than an unaudited cash cow for the purchase of the states worthless paper. Although now it seems the same can be said for the central bank it would appear.”
    An excellent and succinct summary of where we are financially as a country….

    The GALL of people in charge of an UNAUDITED NIS fund, with BILLION-dollar losses, and unheard of bad debts, holding ‘Town Hall Meetings’ to solicit solutions from the very same clueless BBs that they have have been robbing systematically….

    Typical of the NIS GALL, is to buy out today’s Brass Tacks Sunday show with their spin artists (and bring Petra out of his husband’s bed in France to host it….) when we ALL know that THE brass Tacks Host with UNQUESTIONABLE knowledge on the issue is called Walter.

    What a place!!
    What a CURSE…

  51. @Bush Tea August 14, 2022 11:57 AM

    Peter is the only one who can host, any other moderator and the NIS panelists won’t come. Walter being by far the hottest of the too hot to handle moderators would have the panel crapping their pants.

  52. You all are a bunch of ungrateful dogs.

    Can’t you see it is your debt the GOB has skillfully avoided and you all don’t have to pay it now!!!!!!

    OK, so the NIS is short a billion but that is a billion dollars you don’t have to pay.

    …. if you believe that you will believe anything!!

    The problem is that in borrowing as though there was no tomorrow, the GOB did not develop the productive sector of the economy but just built edifices which we can’t eat and which decay.

    We let them do it.

    Who are we now to complain when the day has arrived for us to pay up?

    We borrowed the money through our duly and unduly elected officials.

    The most we could insist on is that since the GOB is unconstitutional, every thing it has done since 2018 is null void and of no effect and whosoever was foolish enough to advance monies in that period deserves nothing from us.

  53. @ Bush

    The biggest insult to us was the nonesence of its a WASH situation so don’t worry!

    Listen let me make it clear in bajan terms what this crap means. “We should be grateful that the government cancel $1 billion worth in debt to the NIS so we don’t have to pay it back.”

    So what wunna saying is that the fact that wunna right off $1 billion dollars that is owed to the NIS, which in fact is we money, is nothing to worry bout! To say that government does now not have to pay them back is a plus, is an insult to our intelligence as well.

    When statements like that are made and left unchallenged, how do you expect any of us to take the whole NIS issue seriously? What could anyone with that outlook offer any of us in any form of discussion that would be worthy in a debate on the fund? I also agree if you wanted a real moderator on this issue Walter Blackman is the man for it.

  54. Wow can the NIS issue be taken seriously with a billion dollars in assets gone?

    Who walks around with a billion dollars in their back pocket to put it back?

    Reminds me of Tank chasing a boy who had picked limes off is tree telling him to “put them back please”!!

    NIS was a ponzi scheme that relied on a functioning economy to keep going.

  55. Running deficits DESTROY ECONOMIES….i think the US’ is somewhere in the TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS….never a good thing..

    ..ya can’t write it off either..


  56. @ John A
    You cannot make this stuff up… it would be too far fetched…

    After allowing second rate ‘leaders’ such as Kellman, Stinkliar and more recent company to make stupid investment decisions with our multi billion NIS scheme – resulting it it being effectively dead in the water, ….if you listen VERY carefully, you will hear rumblings from ‘HIGH PLACES’ about the need for Bajan Brass Bowls to now transfer their savings from ‘non-productive bank savings’ into BOSS Bonds.
    Note that those savings were made unproductive when the Central Bank allowed the Banks to do as they please with customers….

    So we have the…
    Same crooked masterminds, SAME SHIITE gambit, same brass bowls as targets…. ands the last of their moneys.

    ,,,and with Enuff support, both YOU and Bushie done know that Bajans WILL take the BOSS bait…….

  57. Dear David et al,

    I launched a new project today,

    The goal of the site is to curate and share public docs posted on individual GoB websites in one central place.

    Open data is something that is important to me, and while I wait for GoB to create a portal hosting open data from across all MDAs, hopefully my site fill the void.

    I have started with two data sets. All actuarial reviews (as far back as the 70s) that I could find on the NIS website. I then pulled all of the Auditor General reports that I could find published on the BAO website. As of today both sets of docs are in one place. I will be adding more as time goes by.

    Kind regards,
    Amit Uttamchandani
    https://barbadosfiles com

  58. @ David /Amit
    The FTC Lady on TV tonight said that BL&P posted 1200+ pages of documents for their rate case coming up.
    Would it be possible to post these documents (or some key ones) on Amit’s repository?

  59. @David
    And you mentioned ‘other factors’ when I teed off on GoB Paper the other day
    “However, most of this – $88.5 million – was in investments, 97 per cent of which was tied up in Government bonds.”
    The nickname Big Sink is very appropriate. First it was Bonds, then a whole list of payables, legal or otherwise, with some printing to get to the finish line.
    The end result…a whole lot of paper of questionable value, a mountain of A/Ps and NO cash.
    The man was a genius, the WB is lucky to have him 😂😂

  60. “or some key ones”
    LOL…you ever read such documents anywhere?
    There will be 6 key paragraphs scattered among the 1200 pages a.k.a needles in a haystack.
    The 1200 is intentionally daunting, so most only read a few pages and conclude NTSH.
    You can’t ask anyone to find the ‘key ones’ 😂😂
    If you believe BBB, bullshit baffles brains, you can imagine what is does to Brass Bowls.

  61. The only conceivable reason I can think of to go to Combermere Hall to hear about the NIS would be to hear who is getting locked up and for how long.

  62. I second that John.

    ..these are TRYING THE MOST to NOT GO TO PRISON FOR THOSE NIS THEFTS..trying to involve EVERYONE ELSE so they can cast blame later….trying to avoid accountability..

    .prison is exactly where they all belong, IN A LARGE UNDERGROUND CELL…as the ENABLERS accompanied by those WHO BENEFITED from the billion dollar thefts…

    don’t know how they can ROB A WHOLE ISLAND generationally and believe they have some entitlement to do so they and their criminal friends….and believe that they will not be held accountable..

  63. @ David
    Presumed that she meant to the FTC – to be shared on their (hard to navigate) website.

    @ Northern
    Of course you are right that this is a deliberate attempt to hide key trees in a forest.
    But Bushie will be depending on a (b)logger of your ilk to cut to the chase… LOL

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