Time to hold former NIS Chairs Accountable

Submitted as a comment by NorthernObserver

Under its economic reform programme and arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, Government has committed to submitting NIS financial statements for the period 2010 to 2021 for audit by the Auditor General by March next year – Nation

Nation Newspaper

This is the date by which a new entity must be up and operational, to avoid sending anything to the AudGen.

If the BTMI is any example, anything issued will be “unqualified”, meaning auditors have deemed the information incomplete, and hence cannot ‘qualify’ (have any minimum level of confidence in) their report.

BUT, the editor who penned for the Nation needs to also know, what the Act governing the NIS says.

33.(1) The Board shall
(a) in each year prepare a report on its activities in its last preceding year and shall furnish such report to the Minister no later than the thirtieth day of June

(b) submit to the Minister every account, certified by the Auditor-General pursuant to Section 30, together with the report of the Auditor-General thereon, within one month of certification; and

(c) submit annually to the Minister an account of the securities in which moneys forming part of the Fund are for the time being invested

(2) The Minister shall cause a copy of every report of account submitted to him pursuant to the Section to be laid on the table before both Houses.

Hence, there has never been any reason why audited (or otherwise) financials have delayed (a) and (c), albeit, without detailed specificity, the investments of the NIS funds have appeared on their website(s) from time to time (as reported by the NIS)

The Editor needs to contact those various Board Chairs from 2006 on, and seek explanation on 33(a). Did they submit such to the Minister? If they did not, why not? And if they did, we now have a legal issue (failure to comply with the Act) as to why such reports were not ‘laid on the table before both Houses’ by the Minister receiving them.

Sir Richard Cheltenham, Q.C.: 2005 to 2008
Mr. Jepter Ince: 2008 to 2009
Ms. Sandra Forde: 2009 to 2010
Mr. Keith “Tony” Marshall: 2010 to 2011
Dr. Justin Robinson: 2011 to 2018
Mr. Ian Gooding-Edghill, M.P.: 2018 to 2020
Mr. Leslie Haynes, Q.C.: 2020 to Present

190 thoughts on “Time to hold former NIS Chairs Accountable

  1. For the record, Mr.Richard Sealy former MP, was Minister of Tourism from 2010-18. In that role, Barbados disbanded the BTA in 2014, and replaced it with the BTMI and the BTPA. The BTMI was duly incorporated, owned solely by the GoB. It never filed a report, (sound familiar?) , until Nov 2021. Those reports can be found below for 14-15 and 15-16.



  2. Note above
    The financial contents were ‘unqualified’.
    So Mr Sealy left office in May 2018, and the BTMI had never accounted for itself as required by company laws in Barbados.
    So when he talks about transparency and accountability, be very careful. Like a parrot he has heard the words, but it is doubtful he knows what they mean. He certainly didn’t practice what he’s now preaching?

    • The average Joe in Barbados is not persuaded by a boring governance matter as you described NO. It belies our touted intelligence this we know but it is what it is.

    • The better signature event to highlight his tenure as MoT would be his effort to encourage Bajans to take a dip with the late DLowe in the shitty waters in south coast seas.

    • Northern…..believe nothing put out by those liars about the BTMI horror show…more information is leaking that’s sounding more like what actually happened and the known low class behaviors coming from from such types……the teefs still in place so expect nothing better….it’s downhill all the way from here…

      Leaving that shitshow was the best decision that dude made..

    • It is very obvious most don’t care. They just squeal like suckling pigs when it hits their pocket.
      Actually true in most places.
      Incapable of connecting the dots, others take advantage of that. C’est la vie.

    • Changes ’could boost retirement savings’

      Money manager sees little incentive for companies
      PROPOSED CHANGES to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) could force more Barbadians to invest more for their retirement, but there are as yet no signs that companies will do likewise.
      René Delmas, pension director at mutual fund company Fortress Fund Managers, gave this assessment yesterday while saying he did not believe what was on the table to fix the NIS would do so.
      He was speaking yesterday as Fortress held its regular Lunch And Learn media briefing via Zoom.
      Delmas said that for Barbadians, pensions should be like a “three-legged stool” – NIS, employersponsored pension plans, and individual personal investments.
      His hope was that the NIS proposals would help the social security scheme become financially stable in the future but said this was “up for debate”.
      “But be that as it may, the need for retirement, regardless of what National Insurance does, is still there, and that’s why we continue to preach our message of spending less than you earn and invest.”
      Delmas’ view was that with NIS pension qualification age being raised to 68, among other changes, this could “have the effect of forcing people to increase their investment in their private savings”.
      “If you now have to wait until 68 for your full NIS [pension], you now have to [go to] 63 rather than 60 before you can get it early, if you can afford to go early, all of this points [to] that you should be putting aside more money into your pension plan,” he said.
      “As to whether the employers will be encouraged to set up plans . . . we haven’t seen such a move from them as yet. But as individuals you certainly should start, if you haven’t started, contributing to your retirement pension.”
      Not optimistic
      He was not optimistic
      that more companies would start new pension plans and said there was a decrease in this since the tax allowance on pensions was removed in 2015.
      Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley recently indicated that the tax relief measure would not be reinstated, pointing out that Government had given tax relief in other areas.
      Delmas called the end of the tax allowances unfortunate “because we certainly have seen a drying up of new [private pension] business from that period”.
      “But if that’s their tax policy then fine, but I am trying to rationalise why then if you’re not going to give the tax allowances on the way in, why maintain the tax on the way out. I think to double tax anything is just unfair. I would have hoped for the reintroduction of that tax allowance, but I think it is very clear that it will not come back in,” he said.
      “So given that’s the reality, at the end of the day the need for retirement is still there and no matter what National Insurance does, no matter what the tax policy of the Government does, the need for retirement is still there, and those other legs we just have to press on and as best as we can put money aside to fund for our retirement. To me, it is as simple as that.”
      Delmas said he supported the plan where the NIS would be permitted to invest US$40 million overseas and hoped such investments would be made year after year. (SC)

      Source: Nation

    • PM defends NIS debt write-off
      PRIME MINISTER MIA AMOR MOTTLEY says a write-off of debt to the National Insurance Service (NIS) was among urgent initiatives taken by Government to stabilise the economy, save the dollar from devaluation and avoid imposing financial burden on Barbadians.
      She lambasted opponents of pension reform and critics of the NIS debt write-off at Tuesday night’s St Andrew Speaks parish town hall meeting at the Alleyne School.
      The Government leader also announced that a detailed report to the country on pension reform was coming in a matter of days.
      She charged that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, which came into office in 2018, inherited arrears from central government to the tune of $1.9 billion. This figure, she said, excluded the NIS debt.
      “Now, if we didn’t write it off, who in here would have to pay, and across Barbados,” Mottley said.
      She added: “Is it going to come out of the atmosphere? Like the atmosphere coming into water. Or are we going to find the tax payers who already were beleaguered and did not have the opportunity to save money for almost the better part of a decade.”
      “If you don’t restructure your debt when you are asset rich and cash poor, you can effectively become bankrupt.”
      “We had 23 downgrades. Now, since this Government has come in, the first thing we set about to do – not a loan – with the trade union movement, with the social partnership, the private sector, was to restructure the debt, the domestic debt,” she continued.
      The Prime Minister said the BLP inherited an economy with less than four weeks of foreign exchange while today it has between 37 and 38 weeks of foreign exchange.
      ‘The reality’
      Mottley added that she was hearing a lot of talk from a “certain section of society, as if all of a sudden those people in George Street are lily-white and hands clean”.
      She said there were calls to pay back the NIS debt.
      Mottley said if the debt was put on the backs of Barbadians still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it would only lengthen the lifeline of the National Insurance Service by three years.
      “That sounds like something that any sensible Government would do?” she asked.
      “The reality is we did what we had to do to first and foremost – stabilise the dollar,” the Prime Minister added.
      She said there was a debt repayment due of $100 million which if paid in a few weeks, would have reduced the foreign exchange import cover to two and a half weeks.
      This coincided with the start of the hurricane season, she noted.
      Mottley asked “when people say don’t write off the debt, bring it back, which part of St Andrew residents, what percentage of the $1.3 billion are you all going to pay”?
      The Prime Minister said life expectancy was expected to rise to around 80 years while Barbados was faced with an ageing population.
      A planned increase in the age for pensioners to be eligible for a full pension, from 67 to 68 years, is a bone of contention for public protestors, who have called for a Bill on pension reform to be recalled. Opponents claim that the increase in age would require people to live longer to benefit from a pension.
      A Bill on pension reform was approved recently by the Senate but the Bill did not increase the pensionable age.
      Mottley said Government was acting with responsibility to reform the pensions Bill and was taking a gentle approach to pension reform, which was a global issue. She reiterated that she would be addressing Barbadians on the matter soon.

      Source: Nation

    • You have to give it to the PM, like the Queen in shining armour she comes galloping in to the rescue.

      Mia: Age should go up
      By Barry Alleyne barryalleyne@nationnews.com
      The pensionable age of politicians should be increased as part of this country’s pension reform, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
      However, Barbadians should also recognise that politicians do not have access to the same pool of benefits from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) as employees or self-employed people, she added.
      Mottley made those points yesterday during a near two-hour nationally televised presentation from her official residence Ilaro Court that primarily dealt with the country’s latest moves to stabilise the NIS.
      She revealed that Government would soon be establishing a special committee to look at categories of people who might need their pensionable ages reviewed or changed going forward. “There are some categories of workers that need a look-in,” she stressed.
      Mottley said police constables would be one of the first categories of worker to be reviewed and that Attorney General Dale Marshall had already held initial conversations with the leader of the Police Association.
      Mottley’s administration has in recent weeks come under some criticism for its proposal to increase the pensionable age first to 67.5 years in 2028, then to 68 years in 2034, all in an effort to prevent depletion of the NIS, which has been affected by low population growth and increased payouts of contributory pensions to an ageing population.
      There were criticisms that politicians would not feel the burden as much as the average citizen, since they could retire at 50 years old.
      The Prime Minister made it clear she was not opposed to parliamentarians’ pensionable age increasing significantly, though she would not say to what number.
      “I feel it (retirement for politicians) should be more than 50. It should go up. I may not be popular when I say this, but I believe it has to go up significantly,” she said.
      Principle of equality
      “I will wait for them to decide. It will not be the same. There has to be equality among equals and proportionality among unequals is required. The mere fact that we are establishing a committee to look at other categories of workers is to ensure that that principle of equality among equals and proportionality among unequals is also reflected in recommended ages for any special category of worker, recognising that the burden placed on them is extraordinary or different, or there is a lack of security of tenure.”
      Mottley said it was important to put into context the situation regarding parliamentarians’ pensionable age since that select group was exempt from receiving certain benefits from the NIS, as if fired or relieved of duties, they will not have access to unemployment benefits.
      She said that in some instances, the Members of Parliament who were employed before being elected to the House of Assembly would have made a level of contributions to the NIS, but there would be no benefits once they go into Parliament.
      The Prime Minister said she had no problem with Barbadians taking to the street to protest her Government’s latest reform proposal.
      “For those who want to protest, I’m the first to say protest because a sign of protest is your right, and your rights in a democratic country. If they march every week, it is the biggest confirmation that Barbados is truly a democratic state. I encourage them to march if they so desire. It does put a lie to their allegation that we are undemocratic and that people are dictators,” Mottley asserted.

      Source: Nation

  3. Since I contributed several times on the NIS, I must admit when I make a mistake.
    For some time I have used the number of $320,000,000 to represent the sum of NIS contributions deducted from govt/SOE employees but not remitted to the NIS, by that employer(s), pre 2018. That was incorrect. The actual number given by the PM is $457,500,000.
    I have also stated that was a criminal act. That nothing in the National Insurance Act gave any employer the right to withhold from the NIS monies it deducted from its employees. The PM referred to this as “monies it {GoB} took on trust”. Apparently whether employers have the legal right to withhold and open Accounts Payable (on trust) to the NIS, the PM is willing to give the GoB “a pass”. As she was willing to do with other employers, just admit it and talk to the NIS.
    In context, this seems to be because a decision was taken to pay it back, and she was clear to state the full amount of $457,500,000 had been repaid via Bonds. She said series Series B, I thought it was Series J, doesn’t much matter.
    This then created the peculiar situation where it was OK to write off $1.3B in Bonds, but not $457.5M in unremitted contributions, which was repaid in Bonds, as if, the source of the money in both cases were not the same employee/employer remittances? The caveat being, the GoB will attempt to recapitalize both the NIS and the CBB as it can afford to do so.
    The PM also mentioned that certain talk regarding investments was “foolishness” because the NIS has Investment Guidelines. The actual term until now has been an IPS, an Investment Policy Statement, and for the record it WAS NOT followed, and that is how the NIS ended up with a mountain of GoB Debt as ‘assets’. Investment Guidelines or policies, are of NO VALUE is they are not followed, and there are NO CONSEQUENCES to those who decide NOT to follow them. Hence, anybody who has concerns about ‘Investments’ is not without some just cause.
    The PM also stressed the importance of the tri-annual Actuarial Report (likened to a medical check-up), while claiming the NIS was now current up to 2015, even though those annual reports have not yet been made public. She continued down the now well worn path of using the accrual accounting versus cash accounting method as the cause. However, said some modifications were being implemented so audits could be completed “in a hurry”. I have some difficulty believing it has taken them 5 years to arrive at this solution. It is interesting, that reports of a similar vintage from both the Caves, and then the BTMI did not mention this accounting dilemma, BUT, that information could not be found. Accountants could not verify/qualify that for which there was no tangible record.

  4. Pingback: Prime Minster you are the one talking foolishness - Barbados Underground

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