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.
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.