Do Mottley and Straughn Care?

Based on recent statements uttered by Minister Ryan Straughn the government is insensitive to the plight of senior citizens in Barbados.

The blogmaster accepts a widely held view that how a government treats its most vulnerable can be used as a good measure of our sense of humanity. Too many of our elderly died as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and the event has quickly faded from national memory.

In May 2018 a Mia Mottley government was swept into government in unprecedented manner, the following month Prime Minister Mottley announced the decision to enter a selected default with domestic and foreign bondholders. As the saying goes -the rest is history.

Of concern to the blogmaster has been the negative effect the debt restructure has been having on bondholders who one suspects are mainly senior citizens; retirees or approaching that time. It is obvious senior citizens purchased bonds to help plan for retirement. In an act of desperation to right the debt to GDP ratio, senior citizens who had toiled for decades in the service of country and sensibly prepared for the golden years were made to feel tradeconfirmeresk by a Mia Mottley government.

Barbadians are being told by talking heads to prepare for retirement by registering in private pension plans, invest in BOSS government paper and other investment products because the National Insurance Fund is under ‘financial stress’ – however, a group of senior citizens who did plan for retirement by buying government bonds had a lifetime of financial discipline undermined by a bunch of unimaginative political opportunists.

It is worth mentioning that a boutique financial company going by the name of White Oak was paid 54 million dollars to negotiate with foreign and local bondholders. Recently the name White Oak was mentioned by President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Condé Riley, he lamented at the millions owed to the BCA and he was hopeful of reaching an agreement with White Oak so that his association can get on with efficiently managing its affairs.

I do not accept that there is double taxation in the way that people are suggesting that it is,” he said on Wednesday as he responded to criticism that the Government was hitting retired persons twice by taxing their pensions, given that those individuals would have paid tax on their earnings while in the workforce.

Not that hard Barbados Today

It is against the foregoing elderly investors affected by the 2018 haircut must be asking Minister Ryan Straughn in the Finance Ministry – what them do he.

Straughn was responding to several calls to stop taxing pensions in light of concerns about the viability and sustainability of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). It seems a disingenuous approach by government if it wants to encourage prudent financial management by citizens to be self sufficient in the golden years. One suspects the government will not be bullish about tweaking pensions the plan of members of parliament.

Related link: Pensioners relief in debt exchange program

An attack on homeless elderly city dwellers by a gang of young people just over a week ago is reflective of how we have progressed as a society to the point of marginalizing senior citizens. The government continues to do it, our young people are doing it. It is ironic a failed attempted robbery of a ZR driver who defied commonsense by resisting by two young boys has evoked tremendous favorable national response, BUT, elderly persons attacked in Bridgetown is barely noticed.

Signs of the times we are living.

115 thoughts on “Do Mottley and Straughn Care?

  1. Caveat Emptor Buyer Be Aware
    If the Government agrees to make good on the shortfall in national insurance pension funds then this money will be taken away from other Government services such as the spend on Children’s education and/or Healthcare.
    I dare say that if one looked at the finer details, the would find that the Government spending on Barbados’ pensions and Healthcare for it’s top heavy elderly pop. is already greater than the total spend on the younger generations education.

    Courts and Legal Remedy
    People get excited about pending court cases, but defendants are innocent until proven guilty, in theory but that is not always the case in practice as often defendants are treated as guilty until proven innocent due to subjective prejudice and bias.

    Rico cases are primarily about fraud and racketeering, focusing on financial matters, restricted to US jurisdiction, similar to proceeds of crime financial laws in other jurisdictions, but are only pursued if the assets that can be recovered are large enough to justify court action.

    Actions against Government
    Government has inherent jurisdiction to stay Court Actions that fail, namely cases against the State.

    Everybody’s talking at me.
    I don’t hear a word they’re saying,
    Only the echoes of their voice.
    People stopping staring,
    I can’t see their faces,
    Only the shadows of their eyes.

    The Half
    What about the half that’s never been told?
    What about the half that’s never been told?
    Look how long it’s been kept a big secret
    Look how long it’s been hided away

    The half, the half, the half that’s never been told
    What is hidden from the wise and good
    It shall reveal to babe and suckling
    The half, the half, the half that’s never been told

  2. Patting each other on the backs for basic nonsense will never fix this, just saying…

    This calls for real legal minds..unencumbered by corruption..and connections to the corrupt…..with real knowledge of various laws…including international..

  3. Please put all the information like directly after the default and before the IMF agreement pensions were raised ( a cushion to the restructure hit)

    Ohh the may show that they care. My bad

    • @John 2

      We do all these things to continue to support consumption behaviour by Barbadians? The elders of society being penalized exercised the recommended qualities and work ethic like the ants in Bible verse. All we are doing is going for quick wins by kicking the can down the road.

  4. What Straughn care what?
    Ryan Straughn cannot even wipe his own ass without getting permission from the boss.
    You know this very well.

    Do not worry. All will be sorted in good time and we will be suitably impressed once again by the ability to remain “Head and Shoulders” above all others.

  5. Sir, this is a very good attempt at highlighting the issues confronting the elderly.

    Yes, a physical attack on the elderly homeless is easy to identify and condemn, but interfering with the financial well being if the elderly is just as horrible and act.

    A physical cut may heal over time, but many may not recover from the financial cut.
    There is one word in your text that causes me some difficulty. Autocorrect/suggest may be at work.

  6. Yes, a physical attack on the elderly homeless is easy to identify and condemn, but interfering with the financial well being of the elderly is just as horrible an act.

  7. Amazing. This is a classical case of us deluding ourselves that a beggar can be a chooser. We failed to comprehend what a simple word like borrowing means. We were lavish in praise of a new economic era based primarily on one industry and the ability to negotiate a loan ; it was never going to be easy but by failing to understand that debt must be repaid and it is the lender who dominates the entire transaction, we find ourselves now questioning the harsh realities of what is now prominent in most Caribbean islands. Jamaica is the classical example of dealing with international loan sharks.
    We cannot continue to rely on an economic system that hopes for development; we cannot hope for growth and when all the fancy political public relations is removed , we are still facing struggles that could have been made somewhat easier by serious economic restructuring of our economies rather than tired political posturing.This is really a Caribbean inefficiency of productive leadership and vision and certainly not unique to our current circumstance.

    • Anyone with common sense knew that post 2018 some debt restructure had to be undertaken, the country’s financial state was in the toilet, junk to be exact. The discussion has moved on to now having stabilized what was the plan to chart a more sustainable path.

    • Even worse, just saw a post where the BRICS currency is reported as being out, with the 4 or 5 dominant countries emblazoned on the coin.. $55 = 1 BRICS coin.

      So where does that leave the pretenders, at the very bottom of the pile again of course, with some knowing it’s totally deserving…

      .the only problem, the people who got RoB-ed got left at the very bottom too, they better climb their way out and leave the corrupt to dangle and swing.

  8. I note that while the NIS has been the focus, current legislative proposals, also involve a separate pension scheme for public officers.
    Retired actuary, whose name shall not be spoken, made a rather interesting suggestion.

    • @NO

      The suggestion from Herbert seems well thought out, sensible. PO pension plan still to be managed by NIS. However you swing it, NIS governance issues must be fixed.

      Why do we tax poor so heavily?

      THE AMENDMENT to the Pension Act which has been passed in the House and now before the Senate, introduces employee pension contributions to public officers who are hired on or after January 1, 2024. While I realise that it will be many years before this affects a significant portion of public officers, it is important that we get it right.
      The pension for public officers is “abated” by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) pension, in that, the NIS pension is deducted from the “Government” pension. For the vast majority of officers, this means that they will receive a gratuity at retirement followed by a Government pension until their NIS pension commences and then only the NIS pension. This will not be true for higher earners as much of their salary would not have been covered by NIS, and the NIS pension will be less than the Government pension leaving a balance payable by Government.
      Crudely, both high and low earners will receive the same portion of their salary as pension when you add both the NIS and Government pensions.
      Let’s look at the contributions being introduced. These
      are two per cent of pay on which contributions to NIS are also made and five per cent pay to which NIS contributions are not paid. Officers pay approximately seven per cent of pay for their NIS pension (the balance provides other benefits) and this means that they will be paying seven per cent plus two percent which equals nine per cent for their pension while higher earners will only pay five per cent.
      From general observations over the past 20 years, the gaps between the “haves and have nots” seem to be widening and those on lower incomes will be under increasing pressure. It puzzles me that with both of our political parties being “labour” parties we still enact legislation that encourages this trend.
      I would suggest that the rate of two per cent and five per cent be replaced with zero per cent and seven per cent.

      – CHARLES HERBERT, retired actuary

      Source: Nation

  9. And whatever they do…DO NOT invest in any pension scam run by minorities.

    There are thousands and thousands of offshore ones/options/private with better safeguards, anti-corruption policies and competency..

  10. David

    What were our choices with the restructuring?
    Leave out the local component and only restructure the foreign component (was that possible)?

    • @John2

      There are always options, the government took a decision to include all bondholders, the point is that seniors/retirees holding bonds should have been exempted, by the government’s admission this group holding bonds was not significant in the scheme of things. We must treat our senior citizens as special. They have done the time and must be protected.

  11. @David
    you cannot separate owners within a specific CLASS/ISSUE of Bonds. You can separate how you choose to treat one issue vs another.
    Don’t forget….they grabbed all TBills, and converted them to Bonds. While not many older citizens likely didn’t hold that class individually, any of the funds they invested in would have. It was an open secret to avoid Bonds. Ya think that large quantity of TBills was a statistical anomaly.
    Restructurings are not kind and you can only protect so many, especially when so much of the Debt was local.
    What you need to ask is how the leader who was required to execute the restructuring, could subsequently recommend the architect of her nightmare. for a financial job at an Int’l organization?
    And why they needed to pay White Oaks a success fee when success was guaranteed? That BDD$100M should have gone to the NIS?

    • @NO

      Technically you are obviously correct BUT the substantive point remains, a solution should have been provided for older citizens holding bonds/debentures etc.

    • You pulling a Ryan? Because persons are without an earning capacity, they should be favoured over those whose life expectancy is longer. Double tax logic repeated.

      It may also be argued, the older set, were old enough to take action when the home grown financing and lack of governance rose to a crescendo. Hence, they are the group who should pay.

    • Not at all. You keep reminding of the need for citizen involvement beyond Bacchanal?
      Several of the current issues, are not unreasonable proposals. The challenge is the series of events which led to them.
      And $$ are $$? If you piss away millions on success fees, CBL, piss poor governance etc, when crunch time comes your reserves are dry.
      And they #care, you just need to ask about whom or what.

    • @NO

      Having listened to some of the debate in the upper house this week, specifically to Senator Nurse a trained accountant, it forced a thought re missing audited NIS statements since 2016 is it? He echoed our concern about the inability of the NIS to produce audited statements and cited many reasons for the delay. One was interesting i.e. source information\primary documents may be stored in the archives in rat infested surroundings and those charged with validating may not be enthused to locate said information. It is also interesting to note Michael Edghill a trained account and retired partner of an accounting house, like Nurse, sits on the NIS Board.

    • David
      I listened to part of Sen Nurse contribution.
      Don’t get too soft yet. Crimes were committed against the people.
      For years the NIS bought GoB Bonds. They were excessive. So finally someone said NO MORE. The response was F U, we’ll withhold the contributions from “our” employees. One way or another we are using NIS money. Many years later, the NIS ends up with Bonds (J series) anyway.
      This reckless and illegal behaviour cannot be given a pass.
      But they (Cabal) are trying to sweep it under the rug.

  12. This article was published on October 16, 2019!

    “Accountants want legislation in place”

    Ryan Straughn was the Minister of Finance during this period and has held on to this portfolio over the last four years without making any positive impact on the financial integrity of the country. Under his regime, it has been business as usual! If our Prime Minister was genuinely interested in combatting graft and corruption she should have ditched this minister many years ago, and plugged the gaping hole in the NIS pot.

  13. An wen de hurricane come !

    ” NOAA’s update to the 2023 outlook — which covers the entire six-month hurricane season that ends on Nov. 30 — calls for 14-21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 2-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater)”

  14. I do believe that Mia Mottley cares. I believe she’s earnest and sincere in her leadership and wants nothing but the best for her people. I do see her fighting the ‘good’ fight and is desperate to see her island rid itself of all shackles. I do think she has the intellect, drive and fortitude for this battle.

    She harps on climate change which is a tool used by the ‘developed’ economies to prevent other developing economies from advancing and most likely surpassing them. Not sure if she’s using it as some sort of financial hedge for the island, but she must be certain to keep it within its parameters and not be tooled by these western stooges against smaller upcoming economies. International waters are infested with ‘sharks’ so thread segaciously. Mia must also be aware that the ranks of these economic giants are filled with ‘scientific criminals.’ These brutes have developed the capacities to start fires, flood cities and blame such events on climate change. All in an effort to destroy humanity and the planet. Then the religious chorus will all be on key about the ‘end of the world.’ Meanwhile the earth is being terraformed for other agendas.

    Since Barbados constantly touts it high education level, I think the government should seriously elicit solutions from the population and not just listening to these call in programs, but seriously provide a space for the public to be engaged. I’m sure that out of a population of 250k at least 5% can offer viable solutions. Otherwise shut down the damn schools.

    I think the island can start some sort of fund to assist the poor. Simply ask those who have, if they would be willing to put aside as little as $5 every 6months into an investing fund to aid the poor. Obviously this fund would be Fort Knoxed and all monkey business persons will be gifted a lovely pair of silver bracelets and a proper extended vacation.

    Barbados is not richly resourced like the DRC, but some way some how she must quit living on borrowed money, money which in all TRUTH and FACT belongs to the borrower and not the lender, for it was the labour of all enslaved Black persons that got this ‘economic’ wheel as we know it today, rolling.

    • They are all too corrupt and only care about enriching themselves and pretending they are elites and slave masters…look at the first names as defendants in the Florida RICO rackeetering list of 90 plus again, see the names leading as top crooks..what care what, dont fool yaself.

      Even worse their supporters are just like them, mislead the people, suport corrupt racists at every opportunity…. and have no clue how to WALK all that legal TALK they love to bombard people with…it’s a total disaster ….unfixable….they are all the talk of the town and far beyond…shameful…..

      It’s all ending just as it should.

  15. Every member of the last DLP that thought they were Barack Obama while pilfering the nation’s coffers should be imprisoned.

  16. Let’s pray, perform rituals for the damnation and destruction of all foreign invaders, be they europains or otherwise into the lands of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and the DRC. May these brutes and bytches fall on their swords and be humbled at the feet of the Natives and that they meet their maker in that land……….

    Let Alkebulan Rise and bury the Bloodsuckers!

    Let It Be!

  17. ‘the old is dying and the new cannot be born’

    I like that phrase.

    Our bloggers are lying and the truth is stillborn .

    The many pundits I see here reminds me of the three blind men and the elephant. Each touched a different part of the elephant and came to a different conclusion.

    But our bloggers are not blind. Their closed minds makes it impossible for them to see what is in front of them. They suffer a myopia that cannot be corrected with spectacles. Their poor vision allows them to look at our current situation and describe it honestly.

    Damn you all! Stop the old talk. Why do you use 100 words when you say exactly what I said in a few words.

    It’s a sham, scam, deception and sheer flimflam. Why do you refuse to use these words?

    Hear me describe White Oaks “White Hoax was a scam”.

    Perhaps these bloggers believe that you are unable to handle the plain truth, and like a lover, they whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

    Well I am not going to whisper in your ears. I am shouting with my loudest voice “All the amendments, guidances, new initiatives, discussion … are nothing more than the set up to a big scam”.

    One reason why the West Indies cannot win is because as all the good spinners are here.

  18. Their poor vision allows them to look at our current situation and describe it without full honesty.

  19. Truth is the restructuring was a shot gun approach and not a sniper rifle one. Yes we had to do something after the printorama of sinkyuh, but having decimated the fund the goverment failed to make any provision for the refinancing of the fund.

    Add to this the over priced real estate and under performing investments and you have a fund that can not rebuild it’s reserves out of its own operations. The bandaid approach being suggested will simply buy time. Government however MUST come up with a refinance package from the consolidated fund to inject $80 million yearly in cash, not their paper into the fund for the next 10 to 12 years. This must be done whether the fund is privatised, kept or farmed out in some other form.

    In other words the liability of repayment must be undertaken by government regardless of the future plans for the fund fullstop!

    • @John A

      The defense from government talking heads is that taxpayers have to underwrite the cost of a recapitalization anyway.

    • JohnA
      Government money = taxpayer money?
      The new entity BURIES the NIS. All the deals of the past 15+ yrs go underground at the burial.
      Imagine. The restructuring wiped out $1.3B in NIS “assets” AND then shortly after, $320M(?) in Bonds were issued to the NIS to replace the A/P (IOU) created by GoB redirecting contributions.
      The NIS is dependent on the GoB honouring it’s Debt. So what was supposedly a segregated fund, is all a one pot anyway.

  20. Hopi… there is audio on 789 whatsapp naming many of the crooks and thieves in Barbados in the last hundred years and showing how the whole thing started with corruption and selloutism…cannot be any better…unfixable…the trash has to be taken out, everyone of them and a clean slate started…this can go no further…only fools and fowls believes it could… is over..

    The wider diaspora…UK, US, etc are now learning everything..

    Angela Cole is the last speaker..

  21. David

    There were negotiations with the foreign debt holders. I don’t know what was or wasn’t placed on the table.
    I think it would be foolish to think the the foreign debt holders (minority) would have accepted conditions that were less favourable to them that didn’t entend to the local / majority debt holders ( mostly held by NIS and elderly )

  22. David, Senator Nurse talked shiite. Am I to believe the NIS building has a rat infestation problem, especially considering offices of the Health Ministry are located therein? After reading the 2019 Transport Board special audit report, which revealed former TB chairman Wiltshire used his personal credit card to pay for travelling abroad, sourcing and purchasing bus parts for TB buses…… something he verbally admitted to doing during questioning at a PAC hearing. That the Board approved outsourcing bus repairs from ‘in house’ UCAL…. to Trans Tech Inc., that charged 4 times the amount UCAL charged. And, eventually had to repair the same reoccurring defects Trans Tech was paid on 3 different occasions to repair. ACCOUNTABILITY died when the Audit Report was shelved and PAC ‘shut shop.’ The former Transport Minister, under whose watch those events occurred, is representing a Parliamentarian of the current administration, in a criminal matter.

    • @Artax

      Are you referring to that Special Audit which died with the PAC when the House was prorogued?

      Are you aware whether NIS Archives physical plant is well maintained?

  23. YES, to both questions, David. No one will be held accountable under the ‘duopoly.’ It is sad that politicians take us into their confidence ONLY during the election campaign, when they disclose ‘bits and pieces’ of information, enough for us to interpret according to our particular biases, and for scoring political points, political expediency and grandstanding.

  24. @ Northern

    Yes in the end it is one pocket the funds must come from, but we cant operate the fund like the village rum shop. The loss to the fund from the right off needs to be put back into the fund by government. Once this is done the fund then needs to be made into an entity free from politcal dipping. Any entity be it old or new, that runs the fund will need the written off repaid so as to plan that the payables of the fund can be met. We therefore want a formal legislated loan agreement that is binding between the state and the fund. This agreement must speak to both a duration of the repayment and an annual guaranteed amount. So we don’t want no willy nilly commitment where you pay in $80M in 2024 but then ” money did tight” in 2025 so nothing was paid in.

    I can only see the fund being safe it is turned over to a recognised pension fund management company that is totally free from state interference. As long as government can access the NIS account as it has done for 20 years, it is not a secure pension fund in my view.

    In closing we therefore must all understand that the MONEY IN THE FUND IS NOT THE STATES MONEY BUT THE INVESTORS.

    • @John A

      Both main political parties are committed to using the NIF for developmental purposes, therefore what you are asking will not happen.

    • Further it has been stated the 1.3 billion burnt from NIS adds 3 years to the number, same decisions would have been required regardless.

  25. @ David

    A pension plan can not be used for development purposes unless the ventures can yield a net annual return to the fund in the area of 6 to 7%. In other words the funds has to look for higher yielding returns to counter the returns being obtained since the restructuring, where yields were cut from roughly 6% to I% on government paper.

    • @John A

      We know this if viewed in an economic context BUT both governments subscribe to a different view ie. a percentage of the NIF should be used to help develop the country that is responsible for creating opportunities. Given the unimaginative way successive governments have operated, one must assume the NIF will continue to be significantly invested in local projects with less that apropos considerations.

    • Call to block NIS move
      By Tre Greaves

      Government should be doing more to go after delinquent employers who refuse to contribute to the National Insurance Fund.
      They should also “repay” the billions of dollars lost during the 2018 debt restructuring.
      Outspoken general secretary of the Unity Workers Union (UWU), Caswell Franklyn, shared those views yesterday after he led hundreds of people through the streets of Bridgetown as they protested against the National Insurance And Social Security (Amendment) Bill 2023.
      “Hundreds of people do not pay in the National Insurance contributions they have collected. Some employers take it out of the salaries but don’t pay it in. National Insurance has judgments against them in the court. I would like to see those judgments enforced “You would be surprised to see who is on that list and I suspect that is the reason why it is not being enforced because of who is on the list. That would bring back millions to National Insurance.
      “If that is done and we are still in shortfall, then let us talk, but don’t come and impose measures that are disproportionate to the people of this country,” he added.
      Referring to the $1.3 billion in NIS funds that were written off as part of the debt restructuring exercise in 2018, he said: “The first thing they have to do is to return that $1.3 billion that they took out of National Insurance. That was unfair. It is not their money and it was not a loan that was negotiated. The Government as trustee for the fund decided that they were not going to pay it back.”
      In 2022, Government announced that the fund would be in jeopardy in about 12 years if there was no reform.
      It also noted that the scheme was heavily affected following the COVID-19 pandemic.
      Several town hall meetings were held across the country and Barbadians offered numerous suggestions and raised their concerns.
      On July 28, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan stated in the House of Assembly that the pensionable age would increase to 67 and a half years in 2028 and 68 in 2034.
      It was also noted that contributions to become eligible for pensions would move from 500 weeks to 750 weeks with no effect on those who are 60 or older on January 1, 2024. Franklyn spoke after several people marched from Kensington Oval, across Fontabelle, Cheapside, Broad Street, onto Bridge Street, over Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge, bypassed Golden Square Freedom Park
      and circled Lower Bay Street before ending at
      Independence Square.
      Many who walked behind one open back truck waved Barbados Flags and placards that carried slogans such as “Leave We Lifeline Alone” and “No Vision, We Are Perishing”.
      As they marched, several people took the microphone, including leader of the Steering Committee, Winston Clarke, attorney Lynette Eastmond and former NIS officer Pastor Stephen Strickland.
      Strickland suggested that NIS must do more to educate the population about its importance, and also chastised Barbadians for standing in the background.
      “I spent more than 40 years around National Insurance. I see our Prime Minister and ministers stand in Parliament, and grandstand. There is a way to stop it, we can have a change in legislation. The bill can be changed but it’s not going to be changed unless we do something.
      “It is an insult that if we as Barbadians are going to suffer, only a few are marching on Broad Street this morning. We want to sit back . . . and let other people fight for us. . . but I am marching for my children, for the whole of Barbados.
      “We want the Clement Paynes to come from Trinidad because all we are prepared to do is to get a camera in our hands and take pictures and look good and that is why we will always be unfaired by the politicians,” he said.
      By the end of her address, Eastmond had the crowd chanting “Pull back that bill”.
      “A lot of Barbadians never knew the work they were doing to protect you, but public officers have held Barbados in good stead for years. Who will tell the politicians no, you have to stop there?
      “Now they want to take the National Insurance and put it into private hands. You have to say ‘no’, you have to tell them to pull it back. We the people will fight,” she said.

      Source: Nation

    • Let’s get tax, pension system right

      THE ISSUE OF TAX relief on pension contributions has been given quite a bit of publicity recently and I would like to hopefully add some clarity to the issue.
      Historically, in Barbados and most other countries, pension contribution (within limits) made to registered pension plans have been deductible from assessable income. The principle being that the pension benefit will be taxed when paid and that income should not be taxed twice. It also encourages saving for pension and reduces the burden on the State.
      More than ten years ago the International Monetary Fund recommended to Barbados that this regime was regressive in that it provided more of a tax benefit for higher earners than low earners and they proposed that it be replaced with an alternative
      tax credit system giving each individual the same proportionate tax relief.
      If the rates are correctly set this would encourage individuals at all levels equally and at no additional loss of revenue to the Treasury.×175.png

      This recommendation was “botched” and only partially implemented. Now for a hypothetical example of the detail, please see the graphic above.
      We need to change the current system as double taxation is unfair and with reductions in NIS pension we need to encourage individual savings but let’s take the opportunity to get it right.

      – CHARLES HERBERT, retired actuary

      Source: Nation

    • Late in coming

      Stephen: NIS investment a good idea but may be inadequate

      THE NATIONAL INSURANCE Scheme’s (NIS) upcoming investment of US$40 million in overseas markets may well be a case of too little, too late, says economist Jeremy Stephen.
      In an interview with the DAILY NATION, Stephen said while the idea was a sound one in theory, both the timing and the amount were questionable.
      “Investing US$40 million right now, where local stock markets are struggling to sustain the growth we had in the past few years . . . and with a high interest rate in the United States, you tend not to get very good investment options in a lot of assets.
      “It would be preferable to invest in something like an index fund . . . but the problem is, because interest rates are high, and may stay that way for the rest of the year, you’re not going to see an immediate return on that US$40 million – you may not even see a one per cent return on that money anytime soon,” he said.
      Restructuring process
      The economist said it could take several years before any real returns were seen but the public may not be understanding and the situation could end up with questions being asked again. He also said the initial returns would not even come close to making up the losses the fund incurred during the 2018 restructuring process alone.
      As for the amount being invested, Stephen said it was “a little too low” but acknowledged Government now had to do the best it could with what it had.
      “I guess you have to start somewhere and I understand more investments are to follow so I hope they commit to that,” he said.
      Stephen wanted to make it clear he was not bashing the move as it was a solid idea, just one he said that should have been executed years ago, preferably before COVID-19 struck. He said, given the “dilapidated” state of the fund now, it was imperative for the NIS to seek active investments with as little risk as possible regardless of jurisdiction. In doing so, the move could still reap success eventually.
      Long-term discipline
      “If this investment was done while there was the restructuring, before COVID, the returns then could have begun to put a dent in the hole left by both administrations. It is late but it is not a situation that can’t be fixed, it just requires long-term discipline. It is still a step in the right direction,” he said.
      However, the economist also said it was crucial to keep the money from being used to pay local debt.
      “They should be looking
      to repatriate that into Bajan dollars as soon as possible but they must also put a covenant in place which says Government cannot require the NIS to invest that portion in local debt because these funds are meant for repatriation to be invested overseas to enjoy growth.
      “It is rather important the governance model at the NIS allows for the separation of those funds from Government’s financing needs in the interim. It should almost be irrevocable, in my opinion. I don’t mind the funds coming back home . . . but Government must be very clear on how often they assess their fund managers,” he said.
      In an interview published in yesterday’s SUNDAY SUN, NIS deputy chairman Rawdon Adams said most of the National Insurance Fund (NIF) was invested in Government instruments, which was akin to a “chair with one leg”.
      “If you want to hedge against that with [the NIF] you don’t go and invest 80 per cent in the same economy; you have to diversify. One of the analogies I’m using is a chair with one leg, that’s what we have at the moment, a one-legged chair. Over time we diversify abroad into other asset classes, and you add a second leg, a third leg, a fourth leg and then at the end of it, you’ve got a solid foundation that your portfolio is sitting on. So the fact the [Central Bank] Governor has made this agreement, there are some caveats, but the fact that it’s in there is very, very good news for the investment part of the overall portfolio.”
      The matter of the NIF has been a hot bed of discussion and has even led to protest action over Government’s intention of increasing the pensionable age from 67 to 68 by 2034 as well as increasing the number of contributions required for Barbadians to be eligible for pension.
      During Saturday’s march, led by the Unity Workers Union, general secretary Caswell Franklyn said Government should first “repay” the billions of dollars lost during the 2018 debt restructuring exercise and do more to go after delinquent employers who “refuse” to contribute to the fund. (CA)

      Source: Nation

    • @John A

      The point bears repeating and it is one Bush Tea shouts all the time in this place – we cannot justify pouring billions in education in a post Independence period and the result is that we have to ask foreigners to manage our affairs because we demonstrate incompetence to do so. Then what is the point?

      What is means is that our incompetence will simply manifest itself in some other area (s).

    • Sorry Hopi…audio clips dont transfer well but i will post it to 789 Whatsapp again in a few minutes… cant miss it, it’s 2hr 51min long. It came at a very good time….wash the trash out of the parliament and the thieves placed at SOE’s BTMI etc to RoB them.. ..the thefts are 4 life cycles old…

  26. Mia is the Angela Davis of Barbados

    If this world were mine, I’d play a rub a dub all the time
    Oh girl you would be mine, keeping per perfect time

    I only wanna rub a dub with you baby, you know I love you
    I only wanna rub a dub with you baby, all the time

    If This World Were Mine
    I Play Rub A Dub All the Time

  27. It is amazing how we are able to take such a simple but brilliant community-centric concept, such as our NIS, and turn it into a total mess.

    Bushie has ALWAYS maintained that if you put an idiot in charge of Heaven, you will quickly turn it into Hell. (This is why Lucifer and his ilk had their donkeys kicked out, ..and why they have now converted our Earth into a living Hell- after WE put them ‘in charge’)

    The NIS is designed for current wage earners to contribute towards a common pool of funds in a manner that allows current and future retirees to earn a minimum pension, and for other direct non-contributors (but members of the society) to benefit from a minimum living stipend.

    OBVIOUSLY the management of such a fund is the CENTRAL factor that will determine the success or failure of the NIS. The actuarial design is also a key consideration, but shiite man!! even the most perfect design and the most ideal population distribution will be meaningless if the damn money getting thief…

    So when you can have YEARS of no financial reporting for this multi-billion dollar fund…

    When the FSC can fine a credit union for a ‘late report’ and put an observer on its Board – BUT THE SAME FSC ignores the lack of ANY reports for the NIS for decades…

    When idiots who cannot run a Moontown bar successfully (UNLESS in Parliament) can be the spokesman for NIS investments for YEARS…with inarticulate shiite on the radio and news ad nauseam …

    When Politicians are allowed to DIRECT these funds to their favorite Party Contributors at will, and when WE then fail to hold them to the people in Niger are attempting to do…

    WHAT THE HELL DID WE EXPECT? …dividends?

    A fool and his money are soon parted…
    But a Brass Bowl has no damn money to start with…
    cause some predator is in control of every damn cent from the start.

    • @Bush Tea

      A lot of what you wrote reflects the concerns of sensible citizens. However in the case of the NIS it is worse, central government via its agent the MoF and not the FSC is responsible for managing the NIS.

    • Reasonable arguments…… points taken. But, two questions. (1) Is the NI Department registered as a financial institution, similarly to insurance companies, credit unions etc? (2) Does NIS operations fall within the purview of the FSC Act?

    • I “believe” the NIS falls under the MoL, with what WalterB called “dotted line authority” to MoF. I inferred this what the MoL Jordan was referring to when proposing the ‘new entity’.
      It has its own Act, which precedes, many newer over sight bodies. And the pols didn’t wish to have anyone sticking their nose into their gravy train.
      “IF” the $1.3B only accounts for 3yrs, this suggests other unknown decisions within the NIS were “substantial” in affecting its total value. And why they wish a burial of history.
      While it will not be liked (or tolerated) one wonders if future Audits would be wise to make an allowance for GoB defaults.

  28. @ David

    So as usual Jeremy has cut to the point. He also comfirms what my concern is that I mentioned earlier, in that future investments must yield higher than normal returns to soften the effect of the slash in return from the restructuring.

    When I stated the fund has no room for social services I was not being negative, the truth is the fund has to try and scratch back every cent it can to soften its loss on annual income. That is why I maintain the only way out of this is for the government to refinance the fund with a billion dollar injection of cash spread over 10 or so years, while at the same time taking over the payments of the non contributory “social assistance payments” via the consolidated fund.

  29. JohnA
    What is normal? I can get 5.3% on 1 yr bonds from Royal Bank in the USA.
    You had a GoB that was diverting NIS contributions to their own account, what makes you think they were current on their fixed income issues? They may have been redirecting those too. The one-leg referenced.
    WITHOUT annual reports we are all pissing in the wind. We know nothing. We know little about their real estate portfolio, or their loan portfolio. If the NIS investment unit were ‘forced’ to buy GoB paper beyond the IPS, and the GoB were illegally using public employee NIS contributions, what else might have occured? I mean you done ‘brek de law’ so anything else is merely icing.
    All the employers, who as CW have suggested, broke the law like the GoB, all they have to do is send Bonds to the NIS? I sorry, here are my IOU’s.
    The NIS is heavily dependent on returns from all the GoB paper (IOUs) it has.

  30. The wipe-out of more than a billion dollars is the least of mythe NIS problems. Infusing one hundred million for ten years sounds good, but do we have it or can we afford it? And at best, this is a kicking the can down the road.

    Lax financial controls, an increasing aging population, a decrease in birth rates and therefore a shrinking workforce are items that need to be fully addressed.

    The steps that were announced are just window dressing.
    The 100 million is wishful thinking.
    Big works is corruption.

  31. After all, ultimately the taxpayers pay the bills and tourism remains Barbados’ main foreign exchange earner on which our livelihood depends. I assume that it is the people’s right to know but it appears that increasingly, in spite of all the talk about transparency and accountability, the attitude is that it is none of your business; your sole responsibility is to vote every five years and pay the onerous taxes governments impose.[Ralph Jemmott BT]

    You got it Ralph. There is shamelessness which has crept into the political landscape globally. The debasing of accountability has been gradual. To the point now, where it no longer exists. They do as they please, and whenever a ballot box opportunity arises, you get to choose between those who don’t and those who don’t. Switching one elected group for another may excite supporters and/or those who stand to benefit, which isn’t JoeQ citizen. For it is a continuum. Different faces, same story. Minimum transparency and zero accountability.

  32. Do you know that we could have 30 unknowns waltz
    into office and rule this country?

    Do you realize that regardless of their qualifications, they will become responsible for policy, finances …

    What if 30 dog catchers decide to run?

    And somehow we expect a lean and efficient machine.

    • What if 30 dog catchers decide to run?
      This would be a step forward Boss…
      At least they will have demonstrated the ability to do some shiite other than TALK shiite.

  33. As stated many times before, a people ALWAYS get exactly what they deserve. Brass bowls are naturally inclined to be used as urinals… so be it!

    Everyone and their cousin KNOW that lawyers and politicians are 90% disposed to be crooked. Shiite man!! these are people that can argue convincingly for whichever (diametrically opposite) side is paying them.

    Statistically then, politicians who ARE also lawyers, are 99.99% guaranteed to be crooked… and guess who our ‘heroes’ are….

    The ONLY method by which such persons can be controlled, is to hold their donkeys to STRICT account – ideally with a guillotine – or at least a damn firing squad at the ready….

    In the face of OVERWHELMING evidence that we are being fleeced, and that our leaders are leading us into SERFDOM with their wanton lying, borrowing, and wastage, we continue to hope for their ‘spiritual conversion’, and for the awakening of their long dead conscience…

    We fully DESERVE to be robbed, stripped, pissed on, and then returned to the plantation-type serfdom of our great grand parents…. which is where we are duly headed.

    Notwithstanding the admonitions of those like Northern O and Hal Austin, most others are like sheep seeking to negotiate a ‘peace treaty’ with rabid wolves… they are just tomorrow’s supper…

    …and BTW, when Bushie draws reference to the micro-action of the FSC wrt a credit union, and its LACK of action in the MUCH LARGER NIS fraud, we get references to what the shiite laws that we have says, …or whose jurisdiction is limited to where….

    Wuh N.O. is a millionaire living in luxury in albino-land. He has NO NEED to be concerned with what is ‘right and just’ for brass bowls… yet he does!

    So how the Hell does a COMMISSION that is established to oversee financial services, absolve itself from such a NATIONAL SHAME… unless of course they are just a bunch of political lacKies who are too scared to stand on PRINCIPLE… and intervene to make wrong things right.

    …and to think that BU thinkers support such HYPOCRACY…!!!!

  34. Do we really know why the money belonging to the NIS in relation to Four Seasons was written off or whatever. There are questions to all these answers and I am not being frivolous. I repeat there are more answers than questions. We all know the many answers but we bury the questions by calling for: transparency ; Integrity legislation and Freedom of Information Act. None of these will produce the questions to these answers. I repeat: there are more answers than questions .

    • WS
      Good sir, there has not been a fecking Annual Report since +/- 2006.
      So of course there are more questions than answers.
      And the tag team BDLP a.k.a the Cabal, have bookended the failures to report.
      That the actions of 2018 are to blame is a bare half truth.
      Now they want a new structure so they can say, let’s approximate the holdings and start anew, so nobody knows what went on. Bury the missing reports.
      And let’s get the private sector and unions (social partnership) on board, to ensure the burial.
      The unions are already bought and paid for minus Unity and CUTSAB; and the private sector neutered (leverage).

  35. ” Barbados will soon have a national mental health and suicide hotline.

    Chief Medical Officer Dr The Most Honourable Kenneth George made the announcement on Monday as he indicated that just as residents have been concerned about the number of people taking their lives in recent months, the Ministry of Health has been concerned for some time about the number of self-harm incidents.”

  36. “So, how the Hell does a COMMISSION that is established to oversee financial services, absolve itself from such a NATIONAL SHAME… ”

    If ASKING QUESTIONS is deemed to be ‘supporting hypocrisy,’ then so be it.

    It is all good to become OVERWHELMED with EMOTION and PROCEED to ‘talk’ shiite.


    (1). Is the NI Department REGISTERED as a financial institution, similarly to credit unions or insurance companies?

    (2). Does NIS operations fall within the purview of the FSC Act?

    IF the ANSWER to BOTH questions is YES, then, by all means, FSC should “stand on PRINCIPLE… and intervene to make wrong things right.”

    However, if the answer is ‘NO,’ then it is UNREASONABLE to expect FSC to intervene in matters that are BEYOND the SCOPE of their AUTHORITY.

    That, my friend, is a fact, whether we like it, agree with it…… or not.

    • Artax
      It is persons of your ilk who facilitate this shiite by introducing a lotta shitty technicalities to impress David with your academic excuses.

      So if a village policeman who works at the airport observes his neighbor breaking the law is none of his business since it is outside of his area of policing…?

      What jurisdiction do YOU have …to come here with YOUR interventions? Who appointed YOU? Don’t you just CARE…?

      If we have a COMMISSION that has responsibility for ensuring transparency and reporting by financial and other organizations – and they can make a big deal trying to run over a credit union for a late report, What now stops them from making a STATEMENT that clarifies the responsibilities of the NIS (for example) to produce the reports REQUIRED BY LAW?

      You is one of dem kummishoners or wuh?

      This make them look like somebody’s attack dog, just there to terrorize those targeted by the powers that be, (which are mostly EVIL nowadays)

      Stop making excuses for shiite Artax…

      Next you will be arguing that it is none of the business of the DPP, even though our LAWS ARE CLEARLY being breeched – perhaps because some obscure regulation says that such reports had to be printed on paper – while we now email them….

    • A reminder the trade union is represented on the Board of the NIS. First time we hear them squealing about lack of timely audited financial statements.

      NUPW: Finish NIS audits

      THE NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC WORKERS (NUPW) is calling on the Government to complete audited financial reports of the National Insurance Scheme, so that a true state of the NIS Fund can be determined.
      The call comes after the executive council of the union met with its membership recently to discuss Government’s latest plans to reform the NIS.
      In addition, the NUPW has made it clear it opposes the recent Government decision to increase the pensionable age to 68 years old, up from 67.
      “Considering the suite of proposed reforms, the union holds the view that the savings to the scheme from other proposed reforms should be adequate enough to allow the scheme to carry the burden of not having to work until 68 to receive the maximum pension,” general secretary Richard Green said in a press statement released yesterday.
      “The NUPW has further concerns with the move to a nine per cent per annum from the current six per cent per annum penalty for early retirement.
      “This is a disproportionately burdensome penalty to public officers that choose to retire early due to other extenuating factors,” the union boss said.
      Also in the statement, the NUPW recommended a review of all public pensions with the intention to
      bring transparency, equity, and fairness to the qualification and eligibility for those pensions.
      The union noted that it recognises the considerable different pension legislations in Barbados, inclusive of the Pensions Act, the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Act,
      the Casual Employees Pensions Act, the Public Employees Pension Act, and the Statutory Boards Pensions Act.
      Green said that at the meeting, members had expressed reservation about the extent to which the proposed reforms addressed the issue of governance, and that there remained a concern Government would still have arbitrary powers to make final determination on the NIS, especially in the areas of investment and investment policy.
      “Even with the proposed reforms, more safeguards and controls are required for the management of the Scheme, the investment policy of the board and the general governance structure,” Green said.
      He added there should be legislative support that strengthened and enforced compliance by employers and encouraged the collection of contributions from the self-employed in Barbados, and greater scrutiny and policing of the collection of NIS deductions as a first step to addressing the financial health of the NIS. ( BA/PR)

      Source: Nation

    • Getting back to the NUPW being concerned about the non production of NIS Audits, it could take a page from Cawswell’s book. It is suppose to be the union with the largest public sector membership.

    • Where is the resilience of Barbadians?

      One of the hallmarks of Barbadians since breaking political ties with the United Kingdom on November 30, 1966, was the resilience and confidence shown by the population. Despite the uncertainty characterising the prospects for social and economic development at that historical juncture, the imposing, colossal leader Mr Errol Barrow challenged Barbadians to take their social and economic destiny into their own hands.
      The post-Independence period ushered in structural transformation in the Barbadian economy with the emergence of new sectors like tourism, manufacturing, and international financial services. This macroeconomic shift was essential given the declining returns in the agriculture sector, which previously dominated the agrarian Barbados economy.
      Other important developments taking place in the post-Independence period include the establishment of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the expansion of free education, increased access to publicly-sponsored tertiary education at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, the establishment of the Barbados Community College, the deepening of the role of trade unions, and the establishment of the Central Bank of Barbados and other key public institutions.
      Some of these developments helped to nurture democracy in the country as demonstrated by the willingness of many people and institutions to express their views and opinions on topics of national importance. Indeed, the frequency and quality of the contributions kept the Governments in check to a considerable extent.
      While Barbadians were becoming more confident with themselves, their participation in nationbuilding was impressive. Also, despite the challenges to the economy occasioned by the oil crisis in the 1970s and the global economic downturn in the early 1980s and 1990s, the openness of the Governments and their commitment to good governance ensured the resilience of the population kept the impact of the challenges to tolerable levels.
      The debt restructuring programme undertaken by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration shortly after assuming office in May 2018 included the repudiation/write-off of in excess of $3.5 billion of the national debt. The promise made in the manifesto of the BLP for the election of May 2018 was to reprofile the national debt, which for spokespersons like myself at the time meant restructuring the debt in a way that some creditors would be paid their equivalent sums at a later date.
      The unfortunate investors who bought Government securities and provided loans in good faith include the NIS (which lost $1.268 billion), the Central
      Bank of Barbados (which lost $1.6 billion), many domestic individual investors, along with many domestic and foreign financial institutions that lost hundreds of millions of dollars collectively.
      This unprecedented action by the administration, which had such devastating consequences for many individuals and institutions, was surprisingly met with “silence” by the disadvantaged parties and Barbadians generally. Where was the resilience of the citizens to such high-handed decision-making?
      With regard to the NIS, other monies were written off, including arrears of public and private institutions, and the loan to the ill-fated Four Seasons Hotel project. Indeed, the sum owed to the NIS written off was in the neighbourhood of $2 billion. It will also be informative to ascertain the quantum of new arrears in contributions to the NIS by private and public institutions since the onset of the coronavirus in April 2020.
      The funds at the NIS belong to the contributors and are to be used for its beneficiaries and the well-being of the country. Morally, no Government should confer on itself (through a Cabinet-appointed board of directors) the right to deny the NIS the opportunity to collect its receivables, especially when the Government is a major source of indebtedness to the NIS.
      The NIS funds are not owned by the Government and, therefore, should be treated differently to the money in the Consolidated Fund raised through taxation. Legislation is urgently required to prevent a recurrence of this morally insane act.
      It is indisputable or incontrovertible that the misguided action of the current administration in removing almost $2 billion from the balance sheet of the NIS exacerbated its financial problems and hastened the search for reform measures to improve the viability of the NIS. Therefore, the few resilient, patriotic Barbadians who are fighting against the NIS reform measures announced by the Mia Amor Mottley administration are on solid ground.
      Any NIS reforms should be preceded by the Government correcting its high-handed decision to write off close to $2 billion owed to the NIS and making an arrangement to recapitalise the NIS to the tune of the $2 billion via a realistic payment plan. The money should not come from more taxation on struggling Barbadians.
      Reforming the NIS will be burdensome to some Barbadians and, thus, it is incumbent on the Prime Minister and other capable Members of Parliament to lead the discussions on the subject.

      – Anthony Wood is a former Cabinet Minister in a previous Barbados Labour Party administration.

      Source: Nation

  37. @ NO
    We know the answers. They are all around us. We just like to ask a bundle of questions. My Brother: there are more answers than questions. Do you seriously think we don’t know the answers to why there are no reports or accountability for anything.
    We know the answers. For every question we ask there are at least fifteen answers.

  38. @ David,

    You stated that “this article has gone viral.” The reason why I dug it up from your BU archives was because the subject matter (NIS), was being manipulated by the current set of incumbents. Somebody stated that there was a recent radio phone in show that involved a number of government interviewees who were all pro the government in their debate on the restructuring of the NIS.

    We all forget that BU has a fantastic set of archives. For those of a certain vintage who are familiar with the writings of “the native son”. We are all aware of his demise on the BU platform. It came with the introduction of the BLP electoral victory in 2018. He was probably black-listed under the order of the BLP government.

    The viral article explains why he had to be disposed off. His experience of having worked in the UK as a journalist; schooled in the old style “Fleet Street” traditional of British journalists would have have made him a feared entity amongst certain Barbadians.

    I do not need to defend the “Native Son”. His article is timely and shines a spotlight on the disastrous plundering of the NIS funds.

    David, the “Native Son” stated that “the questions are too long for a short blog and if you want to read the full list please email me”. For the good of our country, I would encourage you to take up the man’s offer.

  39. Bush Tea on August 15, 2023 at 11:46 PM 

    RE: “It is persons of your ilk who facilitate this shiite by introducing a lotta shitty technicalities to impress David with your academic excuses.”

    All this for ASKING two (2) simple QUESTIONS?

    How could a man who has been described as ‘appallingly ignorant bookkeeper that learnt by rote,
    ‘talking’ runny jobby, and, recently, moronic,’ impress David or anyone, or be associated with anything theoretical or relating to education and scholarship?

    RE: “So if a village policeman who works at the airport observes his neighbor breaking the law is none of his business since it is outside of his area of policing…?”

    Surely you can do better than that.
    You’ve presented an example of ‘comparing apples with apples,’ when your argument is essentially ‘comparing APPLES and ORANGES.’

    Ironically, however, I deleted a similar example from my above comment, because I anticipated such a response.
    I’m sure you’ll agree Customs, Immigration and Police are LAW ENFORCEMENT agencies.
    Immigration investigators, for example, undergo training similar to that of police detectives and also have ‘powers of arrest.’
    This does not mean an IO can go onto a crime scene and conduct a criminal investigation.
    Police officers from various units, such as drugs, canine, regular patrol etc, are stationed at the airport.
    Yet, there is a reason why Customs enforcement officers arrest drug smugglers on the airport’s compound, and drug squad officers arrest them as soon as they pass the roundabout by the airport.

    RE: “What jurisdiction do YOU have …to come here with YOUR interventions? Who appointed YOU? Don’t you just CARE…?”

    I believe it’s the SAME “jurisdiction YOU have to come here with YOUR interventions?”
    And, I was probably appointed by the same person “who appointed YOU?”

    WHO in this forum, other than NorthernObserver, John A and I have been CONSTANTLY ‘talking’ about the implications of NIS not preparing financial statements?

    And, ‘I just don’t CARE?’

    RE: “Stop making excuses for shiite Artax…”

    ASKING two questions is “making excuses for shiite?”

    Since you introduced the police in your scenario, do you believe police detectives should conduct thorough investigations……
    …… or take the ‘easy way out,’ by beating suspects to forcibly solicit a confession?

  40. Artax
    If you were not one of Bushie’s favorite bloggers, the bushman would lambast your burro with unspeakable language dis morning self…

    Instead, Bushie is simply advising that, when your bedtime is called at the nursing home at 8:30 pm, you make sure that you get your donkey in the people bed …and turn off the damn computer.

    There is clearly a correlation between when you are coherent, and when it is past your bedtime…

    • Source: BT

      “Foolishness”, DLP says of reason given for not paying back NIS debt

      The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has hit back at Special Envoy to Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Investment and Financial Services Professor Avinash Persad who suggested that it would be disastrous for the Government to repay the $1.3 billion debt to National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which it wrote off during the 2018-2019 debt restructuring programme.
      In an article in Barbados TODAY, Professor Persad warned that if the Mottley-led administration heeded the calls from the DLP and others to repay the money, it would be tantamount to reversing the debt restructuring programme and putting the Barbados dollar at risk.
      “It means [putting] the dollar back into jeopardy and [putting] debt back at 178 per cent [of Gross Domestic Product]. That just doesn’t add up. I think it’s just trying to score political points without making any economic sense,” he said. However, in a strongly-worded response, DLP president Dr Ronnie Yearwood dismissed Persaud’s statements as “foolishness”.
      “What Mr Persaud said about the effect of the $1.3 billion write-off of NIS, our money, and that Government shouldn’t pay it back, is the type of foolishness you would expect from highly paid consultants masquerading as economists and professors,” he told Barbados TODAY in a specially prepared statement. Yearwood pointed out that a debt restructuring exercise could take on many forms and have many aspects.
      “The vast majority of government debt restructured in 2018 took the form of the Government lowering the interest rate and taking a longer time to pay back the loan, but the principal on the loan was still to be paid back. I want to remind Barbadians that in the case of the NIS, $1.3 billion owed by the Government to the NIS was written off totally – the principal, interest, nothing will be paid back,” he contended.
      The DLP leader argued that the NIS lost twice because the remaining debt that was not restructured now has lower interest rates and a longer payback time. “The $1.3 billion written off had a major impact on the [NIS] Fund and reduced its viability and sustainability. It is that $1.3 billion that we are asking to be repaid to NIS over time. The Government is borrowing and spending money on various things that it deems important and politically advantageous. Why can’t it make paying back the NIS a priority?” Dr Yearwood queried.
      Persaud had contended that paying back the money would also threaten the living standards of Barbadians and place the social security assets in a much worse position. “It is just ridiculous posturing…it is political posturing. Of course, we all would love not to have had a debt restructuring, and every single person who experienced a loss from the debt restructuring would have a cause that they should have been saved, but it only meant that others would have suffered more.
      “Unfortunately, it had to be as broad as possible. If it were not broad, it would have to be concentrated on all the others… all the private pensioners. We would not have done enough to save the dollar. If it was easy to save the dollar, it would have been done before,” the investment and financial services consultant contended.

    • Wuh, Bushie, you’re one of my favourite BU contributors as well.

      But, come on, my friend.

      Wasn’t it YOU who ‘said’ that I ‘does talk a lot of jobby, the soft runny type?’
      How then could one who ‘talks jobby,’ make “academic excuses to IMPRESS” anyone?

      Bushman, your August 16, 2023 11:46 PM contribution was uncharacteristic of you.

      Perhaps early this morning you re-read it and realized the ‘adult Pamper’ wasn’t the only thing filled with ‘a lotta shiite?’ 🤣

      And, you’re angry with me for exposing it???

      🤣 🤣 🤣

      It ain’t even 1:30PM yet. ⏰

      So, I wide awake. 😃

  41. @ David

    I have to agree with Yearwood on this particular occasion.

    Persaud is definitely ‘talking a lotta shiite.’

    The $1.3B could be repaid to the NIS, over a PRORATED period of time, SIMILARLY to what John A has been REPEATEDLY SUGGESTING in this forum.

    How according to Persaud, ‘paying back the money threaten the living standards of Barbadians and place the social security assets in a much worse position,’…..

    …… when, for example, millions of dollars were spent demolishing the old NIS Building, Fire Station and Golden Square Market….. to construct the ‘Heroes’ Square Park, which WILL NOT CONTRIBUTE to any SIGNIFICANT ‘IMPROVEMENT in the living standards of Barbadians?’

    There are Queen’s Park, Independence Square Park and Jubilee Gardens, in Bridgetown…… all serving similar purposes.

    Public funds were wasted on license plate tags, which, in Bajan parlance, ‘died a sudden death.’

  42. “Whether paid in installments or lump sum to the NIF the money must be earned.”

    @ David

    Ironically, IT IS FROM the ‘HARD EARNED’ SALARIES and WAGES of BARBADIANS, that 11.10% is DEDUCTED, either MONTHLY, BI-WEEKLY or WEEKLY, for the NIS……

    …… $1.3B of which the Mottley Administration chose to ‘WRITE OFF.’

    Also, bear in mind, successive BLP and DLP administrations USED to purchase government bonds, give ‘COW’ Williams to develop Apes Hill, finance the Grotto Housing Project…… and invest ‘willy-nilly’ in whatever project they chose to.

    This current BLP administration has WASTED funds, both EARNED and BORROWED, for UNPRODUCTIVE PURPOSES that could’ve been better used for the development of Barbados and Barbadians.

  43. “…what will a debt to gdp look like of 179% were the 1.3 billion not swiped from the NIF.”
    So using that Kelmonique, moon-town logic to its conclusion, we should probably write off the whole NIS shiite fund ….and bring our GDP close to the black.

    Then we can all live happily afterwards provided we all die BEFORE age 69 ….and all will be well….?

    …see why Covid-19 was a PLAN-demic now? The damn people KNEW that the NIS funds could take a hit….

  44. I am shocked at the continued comments re “refunding the NIS”.
    It suggests ‘we’ didn’t understand what the restructuring meant. Like the late HC head Tank, telling the boys stealing limes “Ah please, put them back on”.
    Devaluation is a partial straw man. The GoB couldn’t BORROW without reducing/removing some debt. Without borrowing they would have to CUT.
    Bajans had no say, despite Tony Woods comments. Once the NIS and CBB said yeah, they had the required approval. Why they paid W/O a success fee of US$50M is the real question? You done know that got “shared”.
    To re-fund the NIS, the GoB has to run a large surplus. And with rising interest rates, and all the borrowed money, it isn’t happening anytime soon.
    Let’s focus on debt forgiveness for that is the easiest way to ‘earn’ funds.

    • Yearwood: Mottley did not address NIS issues

      Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has not addressed any of the issues Barbadians are facing concerning the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
      Instead, says Democratic Labour Party (DLP) president Dr Ronnie Yearwood, what the public received yesterday was “the same lot of old talk, same lecturing in her 45 minutes of addressing the country”.
      That was his reaction after the Prime Minister held a press conference at Ilaro Court to speak, among other things, on the NIS pension reform plans.
      “The NIS, according to the actuarial reports, with its debt restructuring exercise, the choice that the Government of Barbados made, under the advice by people like Mr [Avinash] Persaud to write off $1.3 billion of the NIS debt, has put the fund in jeopardy. What they also did was to shift wealth from the poorest to the wealthiest,” Yearwood said.
      He added he was baffled by the Prime Minister asking where the money will come from to repay that debt.
      “Nobody has made the claim for immediate paying back of the funds. What people are saying is that you pay this back over a 20- to 30-year period to protect the NIS for the most vulnerable in society because that is
      what the fund was designed for.”
      The recently re-elected leader of the DLP added: “The BLP [Barbados Labour Party] under Owen Arthur undertook major NIS reform, without rancour and during an election cycle, which saw the contribution rate move from 14 per cent to 18 per cent and the retirement age from 65 to 67. The DLP supported that reform and so shows it is prepared to support further NIS reform. However, the DLP has made it clear that it doesn’t currently support the proposed increase in age to 68.”
      Yearwood said there was no denying the current administration inherited debt due to many factors, including a global financial crisis of 2008, that had to be addressed, but tough choices have to be made.
      “The Prime Minister cannot blame COVID for all the bad choices it made, especially when the Government deliberately chose to have the NIS bear the burden of a $1.3 billion write-off.
      “Remember, the debt that was restructured was not just debt incurred from 2008 to 2018, but all Government debt, including some of the now PM’s pet projects and failures – EduTech, Greenland, Gems, Dodds Prison, Crab Hill Police Station. . . .” ( NS)

      Source: Nation

  45. Do you know what I would like to see? Instead of telling me that we now have a well oil and roadworthy machine, tell me what is the effect of each of the little fixes that you made.

    I fear we may dealing with mechanics who may put air in the tires, add wiper fluid and clean the windshield and are telling us… the engine fixed.

    I am fully convinced that an influx of new citizens may be the only real solution but no one has the balls to tell us so.

    So what do they do, inflict pain and try to convince you “Mission accomplished, problem solved”.

  46. 68, 2034, 2050, 300M, 30 years, 500, 60, 750, 10M, 70,000

    Stop it! I am hearing too many frigging numbers.

    In all my math classes I was told that the number of numbers is infinite but at the rate this administration is going we will soon have a numbers shortage.

    NIS gone. Numbers gone! All we have left is old talk.

    Dear God, give David of BU strength so that we don’t lose this medium.

    If old talk done then we done.

  47. Did you hear what I heard? Mia is going on vacation?

    I have very little confidence in Mia Mottley’s miserable motley misfits.

    The truth is, I am always apprehensive when Mia is at the wheel, but when she let’s go the wheel and say ‘Somebody tek the wheel’ I swear that my blood stop flowing and I stop breathing.

    Hopefully, this gang has her on speed dial.

    When I run down the list of the crew names my mind is no longer at ease. I remember when I went shopping with my young son, he would like to walk in the store behind me and all I would do is find the nearest exit.

    An exit is not enough… the AG is so damn silly he might put himself in jail, the deputy PM voice is so monotone she might put the nation to sleep; Corey Lane might come out in some silly super hero costume …

    I am not a fan of Mia, but I want her at the wheel. She will have to come back and work twice as hard fixing the mess that was made.

  48. @TheoG
    Would you deny the PM some well deserved R&R? My only problem is that it should be a staycation; rent a beachside villa and relax. If Bim is good enuff for tourists, it should be good enuff for the PM. Imagine the PM setting an example for all Bajans to spend their dollars at home instead of jetting off to some foreign climes.

  49. @Sarge
    As aways, an excellent suggestion.

    I hate to tell you that I made the same suggestion to her and her exact words to me were “There is no frequent flyer miles in a staycation. I have accumulate enough miles to the moon and I need miles to get back. I am out of here”

    I have witnessed to that conversation.

    • Some of you are aware the PM has a health problem? A person should retain the right to do what they want on their personal time. Stop the nitpicking.

  50. You cud imagine dat de same people dat telling Mia she should stan home, LIVE overseas! Wot de RH yuh telling muh!

  51. @TheO Yardfowlus Rex
    I hate to call snyone a yardfowl but as you have labeled yourself as such I believe I can use it here.

    Yardfowlus, learn to smile. Look for the humor and not for scratchgrain.

  52. @Cowboy Frankie Layne
    “You cud imagine dat de same people dat telling Mia she should stan home, LIVE overseas! Wot de RH yuh telling muh!

    “Geez… They send out the e-squad – a yardfowl and now a cow lover.

    I will give you $5000.00 for each name including pseudonyms, that you can call who overseas and is also the Prime Minister of Barbados.

    Limit your thoughts to cows. Anything more will make you look silly.

    • We are treated by politicians how we deserve. Serious issues to discuss and what? We allow those with motives to derail discussions, yet we claim to be intelligent.

  53. 😃
    You must forgive me. I love silliness and being silly.

    I claim to have bouts of intelligence and bouts of idiocy, but will respect your good work and accept the reprimand.

    • @Hants

      It is surprising giving the vetting this document would have gone through, then the two Houses of Parliament. It harrows the blogmaster with fear and wonder to quote Artax.

    Excerpt from the article
    “A frustrated Saffrey told Barbados TODAY: “I am tired of people trying to exploit me and exploit my name and my organisation. I was even attacked yesterday [Tuesday] because of that video. A man came to the shelter on Monday, pulled scissors on me, and said that I should be dead because I left the woman on the streets with the children.”

    My thoughts:
    Mr Saffrey: there is a saying “No good deed goes unpunished”.

    A few criticisms against you seem to suggest you could have done more. or could have done better. Don’t these folks know that doing more and doing better cost money? Have any of these critics sent you a check to support the your fine work?

    Mr. Saffrey, these criticisms are really an honor. People are acknowledging your work and seeing you at the forefront of the battle against homeless ness and poverty. People are looking to you for support in the same way that they look at the government; But some with their jealousy and pettiness, are unable to give you the compliments that you so richly deserved and instead they send criticism your way.

    Mr. Saffrey, here is a short story, just for you: Robert M. Hutchkins became the president of one of the top universities of America though he started his journey from a laundry to wood cutting and finally a president at the age of 36.

    Senior colleagues started to criticize him, his decisions, even newspapers were filled with his amateur skills. Once his father was asked, if he feels low after reading about his son’s needless criticism. He replied that
    —“nobody kicks a dead dog” —

    Yes! You, Mr. Saffrey, are no dead dog! You are top of the heap and they will try to drag you down. Stay strong! Stay helpful! Stay beautiful!

  55. @CIO Hants
    Hopefully that isn’t for your beachfront estate.

    They will put a lien on it and then try to get it cheap.

    Pay the man,
    Pay the lawyer and

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