NIS Town Hall – The Golden Chip

Today is the scheduled NIS Town Hall for a concerned public to share feedback to the revelation our National Insurance Fund (NIF) needs another lifeline. In recent days the buzz is a concern the eligibility age for NIS pension will be extended to 72 years old.

The blogmaster is willing to bet Prime Minister Mottley being the political animal she is anticipated that NIS reform currently being contemplated will significantly deflate her popularity, she needs the time to implement reform and win back favour BEFORE the next general election, the perfect political gamble. Especially if she is serious about demitting office at that time. Therefore one of the reasons for an early general election call.

Follow the NIS town hall at Combermere School, Waterford at 6PM.

Proposed Public Pension Formula Makes Bad Situation Worse

The following important comment was posted by Actuary and Talk Show host Walter Blackman to respond to a comment raised on the blog 60 Love Can LoseBlogmaster

Walter Blackman – Actuary and Brasstacks host

Pensions have surfaced as an extremely important issue at this stage of our national development, so I want to commend you for bringing this pension-related matter to the attention of BU readers.

The challenge for me is to distil esoteric, actuarial and mathematical concepts into information that you and all BU readers can understand. Please forgive me if I fail to overcome that challenge

We grew up hearing that one of the major benefits derived from working for the government was the receipt of a pension and gratuity.

I will use a 5-year average pay of $5,000 (assumed to be under the NIS ceiling, for illustrative purposes only). I simply want to show how the changes in pension legislation have affected government workers hired before September 1, 1975, those hired on or after September 1, 1975, and those to be hired on or after January 1, 2023.

A person born on January 1, 1945, who was hired before September 1, 1975 and who retired after 33 1/3 years of service will receive the following:

  • Government pension = $3,333.33
  • NIS Pension = $3,000
  • Total Pensions received = $6,333.33

Note that this pensioner is receiving a total monthly pension which is greater than the pay he was getting as an active worker.

This was a problem that the government decided to solve.A person born on January 1, 1945, who was hired on or after September 1, 1975 and who retired after 33 1/3 years of service will receive the following:

  • Government pension = $333.33
  • NIS Pension = $3,000
  • Total Pensions received = $3,333.33

Note the drastic reduction in government pension. This was not the best approach to be taken by the Government of Barbados to solve the pension problem.

A person born on January 1, 2003, who will be hired on or after January 1, 2023 and who will retire after the following years or less of service will receive the following:

  • Government pension (1-36 years of service) = $0
  • Government pension (37 years of service) = $$83.33
  • Government pension (38 years of service) = $166.67
  • Government pension (39 years of service) = $250.00
  • Government pension (40 years of service) = $333.33

This proposed pension formula makes a bad situation worse. The unions ought to make their voices heard.

Walter Blackman – Audio Version

Note:
Gratuity = 25% x monthly pension x 150
Pension to be paid = 0.75% of calculated pension

For example:
Government Pension = $3,333.33 per month
Gratuity = $125,000.00
Monthly Pension to be paid = $2,500.00

Barbadians Waiting for NIS Severance Forever and a Day

The Pratt and Morgan case established legal precedent with a time guideline a convicted person can be kept on ‘death row’. The 1993 judgement handed down by the Privy Council determined that if the state for any reason was unable to carry out the death sentence within a five year period, it was deemed cruel and inhumane punishment to the prisoner sitting on death row. The logic being that the death sentence should be carried out ‘speedily’ and any protracted period post death sentence represented death sentence plus mental torment.

Mental torment is defined as “a state of great bodily or mental suffering; agony; misery. something that causes great bodily or mental pain or suffering. a source of much trouble, worry, or annoyance”.

In a May 31, 2022 Nation newspaper report it was reported former workers of Grand Barbados Hotel have been waiting for severance payment to be settled. In cases where an employer does not pay severance, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) makes the payment and seeks to recover the payment from the delinquent employer if possible. It therefore begs the question why former Grand Barbados employees should have to wait almost ten years to receive payments guaranteed under law. It is interesting to note Toni Moore was the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) representative at that time. Moore is the current General Secretary of the BWU and Member of Parliament for St. George North. 

The blogmaster is of the view a similar mental torment affects employees who are made to wait protracted periods for severance payment. Although the employer should pay at first instance, the law affords protection in cases where this is not possible. Whatever due process/diligence has to be done CANNOT take ten years to complete. We have to start treating persons humanely. The blogmaster recalls the haste Minister Sinckler changed the disbursement criteria of the Industrial Credit Fund to pay Mark Maloney fees for constructing the overpriced Grotto housing units. There are several other examples to demonstrate who the cow likes he licks, who he does not he kicks. 

What does it matter for the government to boast about all manner of things and we continue to fail to build a just society.


NIS Management Team

Ms. Kim Tudor – Director

Mrs. Frances Fontinelle-Walcott – Deputy Director

Mr. Trevor Gibbs – Chief Legal Officer

Mrs. Janice Estwick – Financial Controller

Mr. Luther Jones –  Manager, Investments

Mr. Quincy Yarde – Chief Information Technology Officer

Mrs. Lee-Ann Mayers-Franklyn – Chief Internal Auditor

Mrs. Norma King-Brathwaite – Assistant Director, Benefits

Mr. Derek Lowe – Assistant Director, Customer Relations

Ms. Sophia Mings-Mascoll – Finance Officer, Compliance, Severance and Registration

Mrs. Carole Layne-Browne – Finance Officer, Collections

Mr. David Archer – Assistant Director, Human Resources and Administration

Ms. Katrina Bend- Marketing and Research Officer

The Ageing and Elder Abuse…relationship between social security – Pensions

We continue our focus on elder abuse in Barbados – Blogmaster
Submitted by Cheurfleur

Pensions are paid to old people from the NIS Fund which is financed by contributions from the employed. That group of able persons ages 18 to 60, originally, i.e 42 years by 52 weeks plus  plus 7 years by 52 weeks, i.e 67 years now.  

With a population of 1000 able bodied persons paying $100 for 42 years or 49, using annuities calculation the pot makes X to support Y in 1900s but Z currently.

I shall leave the actual calculations to Mr Annuity.  I am only concerned with elder abuse.

https://www.ssa.gov/history/pre1935.html

At its inception there weren’t that many people living far beyond 60 years of age. What we had was more contributors and less gobblers.  By the turn of the 19th century with better health services, vaccinations and greater production and higher income people began living longer.  No problem.

Then came the 20th century with women’s lib and all the other ‘liberations’ and fewer children were born ) per woman/family) thus fewer worker/contributors 20 years later vis  a vis elders migrating out of the system plus more more men on the ‘block’. (It’s worse in Japan).

There is a dilemma now.  How to balance this imbalance?  Have governments done anything constructive to balance it? 

They have raised contributions and extended the age of retirement by 7 years.  

But contributors are actually living until retirement (originally 60s) and surviving way beyond 80s (not the prayer request) at time of conceptualizing the ‘scheme’.  With the ‘rich man diseases’ prevalent, the plight of the fund managers is grave and great.  This was not how it was supposed to be.  You aren’t supposed to be there to get back 40 years of contributions.  Never mind the presumption of interest gained from your investments.  Ask Rockefeller or Rothschild.

Mr Annuity can tell you that there isn’t enough money to do business for these long-life, now  ‘good-for-nothing’, ‘resource sucking’ retirees.  Albeit some have worked and put aside extras in private pensions and endowments to make a better nest but they still have to give back what they took earlier.  Mathematicians nor Actuaries can fix this.

Every man for himself and God for us all.  Stay clear of hospitals

Forget your children and relatives who will prey pon yuh fuh yuh li’le pension and other valuables.  The real abusers are the vultures who first took the contributions and are taking again.  Notice how many of the aged population died during 2019 to 2020 and are still the most vulnerable.

What goes?

I have to ask questions from here on.

  • What profit it is to anyone faced with this quandary to put policies in place to protect you – old work horses?
  • Why fight to save a life that is costing you on the down side when there is no income from the up side to make it feasible?
  • Why expend resources on a population that is not giving any returns (at point) when the resource can be invested on a population to bring up resources?

If it would save some lives, won’t someone just propose that those who can fend for themselves, economically, do so and relieve the burden so that no one would want to move them out of the way, earlier?

It is not only family and the nearby public that are abusing the elderly.  

Pension Reform for Public Officer a Priority (including Members of Parliament a Priority)

The blogmaster found the comment posted by Critical Analyzer interesting even if provocative. What we can agree is that pension form in the public service- including for members of parliament – must be given a priority. The issue is compounded with the state of the National Insurance Fund that we are left to speculate.

Pension Reform as the world tries to do it now is only kicking the can down the road with the warmed over soup gimmicks of every few years increasing the retirement age, changing pension formulas and raising contributions rates while government borrowing from the pension funds for their projects.

Our pension reform needs to completely break the mold

1) For every person currently 50 years or less, change their pension age back tot 65 and have NIS pay an across the board universal basic pension (UBP) calculated based on the cost to cover a one bedroom rental, utilities and food for a single pensioner living alone. Anyone wanting more pension at retirement should seek private pension plans and other investment opportunities during their working years if they desire a higher standard of living.

2) Persons 51 and older would remain under the current arrangements with any shortfalls for the year covered by an unfunded pensions tax. This pension tax would eventually reduce and go away as the numbers under the old arrangement die out.

3) Since healthcare is the biggest money problem for pensioners, work on improving the quality and turnaround time for our taxpayer funded healthcare while bending healthcare costs down through novel approaches e.g. a requirement for medical license renewal could be a minimum amount of pro bono work at government medical facilities or referrals for free outpatient surgical procedures.

Critical Analyzer

NIS Virus

Barbados Underground has been exhaustive in its prosecution of the mismanagement of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). Government after government has mismanaged the Scheme. The issues range from faulty governance practices, late production and availability of actuarial reports, updated certified audited financial statements, appointment of incompetent individuals to the board, questionable IT decisions, questionable investment decisions…

As usual, taxpayers are left holding the ‘bag’.

The raging COVID19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the NIS which has come has no surprise to some members of the BU family. To be expected the partisan political players will seize the opportunity to criticize to feed a rabid political appetite. The time has come however to have a mature discussion about the state of the NIS and what measures are urgently needed to protect the fund.

Is it possible for Barbadians to understand the importance of a dispassionate debate about the NIS?

Is it possible for politicians to understand the time has come to address structural deficiencies how the NIS is being managed?

Chairman of the fund Leslie Haynes declared this week the NIS Board has submitted a paper to Cabinet to approve the transition to a Statutory Board. Elsewhere in the press Leader of the Opposition Joseph Atherley has questioned how the NIS and Central Bank of Barbados are being managed.

Relevant link:

Discussed for 100 marks

UNEMPLOYMENT Fund is Broke, Time for Straight Talk Chairman Leslie Haynes

The following was posted as a comment by Walter Blackman to the Walter Blackman’s Political Insights blog – David, Blogmaster

Based on the link to the NIS investments, provided by NorthernObserver, all BU readers can now sing from the same Hymn sheet – see link https://www.nis.gov.bb/investments-2/

Here are the facts, and the questions to be asked:

The unemployment Fund is broke. Not a cent is left. No bonds, no cash. Nada. Zilch. Rien.
Where will the money come from to pay current and future unemployment benefits? Remedial action has to come down the pipeline very soon.

Government owes (i.e the politicians misused our money) $2.8 billion to the National Insurance Fund, and $0.1 billion to the Severance Fund. There is no cash in the Severance Fund. Where is the money currently coming from to pay the workers’ severance that employers are refusing to pay?

Is the law being broken with respect to the payment of unemployment and severance benefits?

The only way Government can repay the money owed to the NIS is through taxation. Who will the Government tax to get the $2.9 billion for the NIS?
The Baby Boomers have started to retire and will do so by the thousands every year until 2033. How will their retirement benefits be paid? Something has to be done very soon

At the beginning of 2015, the NIS was paying roughly $40 million per month (just think about the multiplier effect this has on our economy) in NIS retirement pensions. That amounts to $480 million per year, and $960 million over two years.
We can therefore understand what the Chairman of the NIS meant when he said: “there are sufficient funds there that we can see this through at least for the next two years.”

However, the Chairman went on to say: “So there is no cause for concern.”

Every BU reader can now look the Chairman of the NIS fully in the face and say: “We do not agree with your assessment of the NIS, Mr. Chairman. There is great, great cause for concern, and in fact, we are very, very concerned. Next time you speak, please tell us what is the Board’s solutions to the massive NIS problems we face.”

…what are the Board’s solutions?

Ode to Lack of Transparency @NIS

The BU Intelligentsia is a talented crew. If there is doubt the following Ode was posted to the Walter Blackman’s Political Insights blog by the man from the Great White North.

“The time has come”, the Walter said,
‘to talk of many things’
Of NIS, and severance and quivering rears
Of politics and of stings
And why the ? LP’s always rule
And whether touts can sing.

“But hold your horse” the rum shop cried
Before we shoot the breeze
For some of us party hacks,
And most are retirees
“No hurry” said the Blogmaster,
And they thanked him for the ease.

“Analysis by colour” the rum shop cried
Is chiefly what we require
Pepper and Salt otherwise
Fulfill much of our desire
Whatever the intended topic
Let skin tone fuel our fire.

The winds today are rather cold
And snow covers the town.
To add to all this Covid mess.
the city’s once again in lock down.
So with little else to do
I sit and watch the discussion on hue.

NorthernObserver

Mystery @National Insurance

Mia Mottley exerted her prerogative as prime minister in the system of government we practice by making a few changes to her Cabinet last month. Two of the changes included the promotion of two chairmen of statutory boards Senator Lisa Cummins and Ian Gooding-Edghill.

Both individuals have distinguished themselves as competent, hard workers with a capacity and resolve to get the job done. I have been impressed with their stewardship in their respective roles as chairman of the National Insurance Scheme and the Transport Board, in the case of Gooding-Edghill… Mottley said.

Nation Newspaper

The promotion of Ian Gooding-Edghill piqued the interest of some including the blogmaster. On paper he is/was responsible for the influential NIS and problem riddled Transport Board. We cannot be sure of the performance metric used to determine how he has “distinguished” himself in the dual role. However, as a concerned citizen the blogmaster must evaluate from an armchair distance. In a simple summary the blogmaster has not observed any gargantuan shift in the performance of the National Insurance Scheme if a most important metric is applied- the production of current audited financial statements. Audited financial statements are important because it provides a comfort level to the public through the eyes of a qualified external agency about the financial health of the Fund. The failing of successive governments to remedy the situation points to a systemic problem that should concern an ageing society.

The raging pandemic has serve to make a bad situation worse given the stress currently being exerted on the NIS and will for some time to come. Although Ian Gooding-Edghill has uttered mouthings in an attempt to assure the public the NIS is solvent. His voice cannot replace the independent assurance of the external auditor.

Two observations continue to puzzle the blogmaster. The avoidance of the normally loquacious prime minister Mottley when it comes to discussing any and everything under the sun. The recognition of Gooding-Edgehill given the current state of the NIS. Until we are told what measures have been implemented at the NIS under his tenure a sensible public must assume was business as usual.

Mottley and government may miss the irony that despite its focus on the economy – supported by an army of ministers and consultants – it has been the other ‘issues’ that have been clipping at the political heels.

Political Parties about Boosting Popularity in a Crisis

… Kevin Greenidge, explained that the “win-win” 18-month programme is designed to repurpose government’s expenditure, in an effort to push capital programmes that do not directly relate to tourism; for example, road works, the Barbados Water Authority’s vineyard project, the refurbishment of schools and the digitization of the public sector…

Source: BGIS

The government launched the Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) last week. BOSS is a direct response to the crippling effect the COVID 19 pandemic has had on the global economy. All economies in the world have had to manage the fallout from the unprecedented high unemployment to respond to a man made economic recession triggered to safeguard public health.

The blogmaster has listened to arguments for and against the BOSS and the trend for every issue these days is determined by ones political inclination.

What the COVID 19 pandemic has done to is to create an unknown variable that makes it impossible for policymakers and individual households alike to engage in sensible financial planning and forecasting. However, what is known is that a deep revenue hole has been created in the financial budget for 2020/2021 and there is nobody on the planet who can predict the time it will take for economic activity to climb to pre Covid 19 level. The result is that whether in the USA, UK or Barbados unemployment has spiked.

The blogmaster is no fan of policies that will result to increasing the national debt or printing money. Especially coming after the recent debt restructuring that has had a toll. However, Barbados must execute  policies to boost economic activity to buy time until the global economy to respond. Will BOSS achieve the objective,  time will tell. What are the alternatives to BOSS?

It is easy for political leaders and others in civil society to shout at John Citizen do not do this, do not do that. If one listens to the same crew for alternatives, there is silence.

Service based economies like Barbados are presented with a greater challenge of recovery because there will be a dampened appetite for air and sea travel. It means thousands of workers will be negatively affected for months and years to come, there is no doubt. BOSS should not be seen as a panacea to solving all of our problems, it is meant to be a mitigant, to keep public sector workers employed are redirect circulation of monies in the construction sector. The government has accepted the moral responsibility – for now – to keep public servants employed during the pandemic. Those criticizing that cutting public sector workers salary is illegal, give us the alternative. If it is illegal the law can be amended for the good of all? The private sector has already responded with lay-offs and severing employees. Where does the government derive tax revenues tom pay public servants?

It would be negligent of the blogmaster not to take the opportunity to express concern about the financial state of the National Insurance Fund. The noise created by the pandemic has served to mask many of the problems the island had been battling. The inability of successive NIS Boards and governments to make public audited financial statements should be of equal concern by several of the budding political parties and traditional media. Do we know if the fund is able to live up to its tagline? Why should politicians on a whim and a fancy make decisions to grab NIS funds- our social security monies- to construct unnecessary buildings; fire station, lend to private projects; Four Seasons by avoiding rigorous qualification.

For as long as BU has had a presence in the Barbados space there has been a view echoed by the BU intelligentsia that Barbados is a country living above its pay grade. The blogmaster has to express disappointment that leaders in our tiny society have not been bold enough to address the issue of the need to recalibrate our unsustainable lifestyle. Politicians seem stuck in the mode of boosting popularity at the expense of what is in the national interest.

 

 

 

Donville Inniss Matter Tosses Up Questions about Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited Limited/National Insurance Board Joint Venture Company

Discussion on the blog Donville Inniss Case Points to Endemic Corruption in Barbados after reviewing the 2018 financials of BF&M – parent company of ICBL – revealed there is a company called Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited Limited/National Insurance Board Joint Venture (“ICBLJV”).

Barbadians have been concerned in recent years the ease with which politicians commit NIS resources to questionable projects. The latest is the construction of a fire station to replace the one being demolished at Probyn Street to – in the opinion of the blogmaster – create a more aesthetically pleasing Bridgetown. The Hyatt is coming!

We must not forget the inability of the NIS Scheme to produce audited financials since 2007?

What about the the obligation of the NIS to produce an up to date actuarial review and for the government to lay it in parliament for public access?

The Mottley government was swept into office on the trusted and well used platform message of transparency. Why have we not seen some movement on these nettlesome issues given the importance of the NIS as a social safety net for Barbadians?

Now there is this Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited Limited/National Insurance Board Joint Venture (“ICBLJV”) listed as a BF&M subsidiary. For those not aware ICBL has been one of the principal actors in the Donville Inniss money laundering case. What does the ICBL have to do with the NIS Scheme?

Extracted from 2018 BF&M Financials page 91

 

The Grenville Phillips Column – Will the Honest Barbadian Please Stand Up?

Well done to our Pan American games athletes.  Many gave impressive performances and qualified for the final of their events.  They have demonstrated that they are internationally competitive.  To improve their training and attend other competitions, our athletes need funds.  So, how can we support them?

One method is for the public to invest in the development of our athletes.  Investors normally expect a return on their investments, otherwise, it is a charitable donation.  How can investors get monetary returns on this type of investment?  How can our athletes repay their investors at a rate to encourage sustainable investments?

The simplest way is through the endorsements and other earnings that our successful athletes may receive.  Those endorsements are not guaranteed.  Therefore, the investor takes a significant risk, since most athletes may not attract any endorsements.  However, if our athletes do well, they may attract endorsements exceeding US$1M each year.  Top athletes can attract endorsements exceeding US$20M each year.

Our successful athletes should enjoy the fruit of their success.  However, investors should also receive a return on their investment in the athletes’ non-earning development years.  Athletes and investors would need to agree on an equitable split of an athlete’s future earnings.  Perhaps they can consider a 50%:50% split, where the athlete keeps half of their earnings, and the other half is shared between all investors.

If our athletes agree to share any future endorsements, then we have willing internationally competitive athletes, and we have willing investors.  All we need is a trustworthy entity to manage the investment fund.  This model of funding can be applied to any sector that is internationally competitive.

Ideally, the Government, representing all Barbadians, should be trusted to manage all of our investments.  However, the Government’s decision to confiscate part of our NIS pensions and private retirement savings, makes them an untrustworthy manager.  Their decision to simply stop paying foreign creditors confirms that assessment.

Barbadians have trusted banks with their retirement savings.  However, the banks proved that their loyalty lies elsewhere, when they voted to allow the Government to confiscate part of our retirement savings.  Barbadians also trusted the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to manage their pensions.  But, they too proved themselves untrustworthy.

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry should be an independent entity that should be trusted.  However, their extremely partisan behaviour during the last general election, proved that they can only be trusted to be loyal to their political party.

Every financial entity who voted to allow the Government to confiscate their client’s retirement savings, has proven themselves untrustworthy.  They shamelessly voted against their client’s financial interests, in exchange for a pat on the head from their political masters.

Is there any business entity in Barbados that is not politically compromised?  Is there any entity that will put the interests of their clients above their loyalty to their political party?  Is there anyone left who treasurers their professional integrity?  Can such a politically independent entity please stand up?  Anyone?

They will be willing investors and athletes, so the fund will likely be established.  I hope that one of the first recipients will be our national treasure, Ronald ‘Suki’ King.  It will be a shame if such a fund will have to be managed from outside of Barbados, for the sole reason that all local entities are too politically compromised to be trusted.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Rise of the Uneducated Class

Many issues of the day continue to question our ability to govern. One of them is the health of the National Insurance Fund (NIF). If you listen to the politician while in Opposition, it is a fund under stress. If you listen to the same politician on attaining the office of government, the NIF is described in more positive terms.

For the sober in the crowd there are the actuarial reviews to consider. Successive governments have been unresponsiveness to public inquiry about  releasing the reviews for public consumption in a timely manner. Of equal concern has been the inability of successive governments to ensure the timely release of audited financials to parliament.

Generations of Barbadians have contributed to the NIF to give currency to the tagline – it is our lifeline.  Auditor General report after report detail bad investment decisions taken by successive governments of  National Insurance Scheme (NIS) motivated by pampering and pandering the old boy network. The “investment” of USD60 millions in Clearwater Bay referred to loosely by Barbadians as Four Seasons is one example.

The NIS is one of a handful of state owned entities that should be ring-fenced to protect against the incompetence of the political class.  Judging from all reputable sources of economic data, the inability to adequately govern a 166 square mile, less than three hundred thousand people located in an idyllic geography should be evidence enough.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw have signaled in recent weeks that major reform is coming for the education  system. The issue of revamping the  system has been discussed for decades by the more progressive minds. The inability of our leading lights to manage the NIS and the other entities that combine to ensure well functioning organs in the society is an indictment on the current system of edcuation.

Successive NIS Boards, NIS Investment Committees and the ancillary services have been managed by “educated” Barbadians.  The performance of the NIS like the judiciary, like the BWA, like the transportation system, like the waste management system, like the PSV sector etc etc all point to the inability to convert significant investment in education in the post Independence period.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) since wining office in May 2018 has aggressively pursued economic strategies to address an economy in free fall.  Interestingly, we have not observed the same urgency to address challenges with the NIS. In fact Prime Minister Mia Mottley hinted that the hesitation to address the NIS problem is rooted in the enormity of the solution required given the future obligations of the fund.

This week it was reported that millions of  Brazilians protested against President Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to privatize the pension plan. The story attracted the attention of this blogmaster because one senses that Barbados will have to implement draconian measures to protect the NIS for the many sooner rather than later. Already President hBolsonaro as suspended several benefits to Brazil’s low income, disabled and senior citizens. Only a few years ago Brazil was considered the emerging economy from the Latam region.

Related links:

Brazil: Bolsonaro to Suspend Senior, Disabled Benefits Programs

Brazil: Millions Protest Bolsonaro’s Neoliberal Pension Reform

The message to Barbadians is that we cannot continue to do the same thing all the time and expect a different result.

BB = P+G (E*SOEs +NG-S)

 

 

Expectant Pensioners Will Pay for Mismanagement of National Insurance Scheme

The following (with minor edit) is a comment posted by Walter Blackman to BU blog Whimpering Opposition.

– David, blogmaster

David
April 27, 2019 8:48 AM

“First thing this morning and we are off to the races attacking people instead of debating the real issues?”

David,

Through the vehicle of BU, you are getting a very deep insight into the nature of Barbadians, as a people.

We have paid billions of dollars into the NIS since 1967. The money that was paid into the NIS was supposed to be prudently invested and used primarily to pay benefits to participants and their beneficiaries, along with the administrative costs of running the NIS department.

Reportedly, the NIS for Barbados was first articulated by Charles Duncan O’Neale almost a century ago. From the moment the concept was aired, some anti-progressive minded members of the white minority on the island rationalized that they were wealthy enough to provide for their unborn great-great-great grandchildren and therefore should not be called upon to contribute to any fund which pays out benefits to perceived poor and needy black Barbadians. To this very day, some of these white Barbadians are still demanding that they be allowed to opt out of the NIS.

With this background in mind, any sensible Barbadian ought to have been outraged when they saw black politicians from poor, humble origins take up the hard-earned NIS money of Barbadian taxpayers and stupidly give it away to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the flimsiest of excuses. All of us are forced to suspect that kickbacks, fraud, and corruption must have been associated with the squandering of our NIS funds.

Somewhere along the line, possibly within the next 30 years, many Barbadians will weep and gnash their teeth as they witness the NIS become totally transformed into a Ponzi scheme, and then collapse, never to be resurrected. By that time, the retiring age for a full pension might be 85 or 90 years old!

This is but one simple issue in the area of finance that is desperately crying out for political ventilation and a solution. There are many, many more financial problems, alternatives, and solutions that ought to be put to the electorate.

Barbados needs outstanding financial leadership now, more than ever.

Given the excessive, prolonged “spiriting away” of public funds, along with the deep financial morass that the country is now mired in, I must boldly ask BU readers a few simple questions:

  1. Who on the government’s side is seen as the person who can get up, address and communicate financial issues to Barbadians in a clear, understandable manner, and then get buy-in from the electorate and major stakeholders?
  2. Who is the named UPP’s spokesman on Finance?
  3. Who is the named Solutions Barbados’ spokesman on Finance?
  4. Who is the named DLP’s spokesman on Finance?

The Grenville Phillips Column – Cowards of the Highest Order

Some soldiers are so terrified of the horrors of war, that they intentionally harm themselves so that they can be transported away from the battlefield and receive priority medical treatment.  I am very sympathetic to soldiers who have been prematurely deployed to the battlefield.  A properly trained soldier has accepted the responsibility of defending citizens, which may require the ultimate sacrifice of death.

The Government encouraged us to prepare for our old-age by making National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions and investing in pension plans.  We were told that we could confidently invest in our future this way because the NIS Board consisted of eminently qualified persons.

The NIS Board has one main responsibility, which is to protect the money that should be paid to us in our old-age.  The NIS Board decided to lend our money to the Government.  The Government had difficulty in repaying what was owed to us.  As lender acting on our behalf, the NIS Board could easily have allowed the Government to repay our money over a longer repayment period, given the state of the national economy.  That would be acting in both our interests and the Government’s.

Shockingly, our eminent NIS Board members voted to allow the Government never to repay approximately $800M of our money.  What could have possessed them to harm us like this?

If they were intimidated by having their families threatened, then I could understand why they appeared to betray us.  However, once they were forced to vote against our best interests, they should have resigned.  If they are already compromised, then why are they loitering on the NIS Board pretending to represent our interests?

The Banks managing our pension plans knew that voting against our interests would harm us financially, but they did it anyway.  However, unlike the NIS Board members who may be subject to intimidation, all of our banks are foreign owned.  What possible reason could they offer for acting so cowardly?

Their decision to vote against our best interests means that they also voted against theirs.  Why would they do something so lunatic?  How can that level of cowardice inspire any confidence in their banks?  Why would anyone want to deposit money in cowardly banks who chose not to fight for depositors or themselves?

The banks are now recouping their losses by greedily charging us higher banking fees, but none of that money goes to our pension funds.  Based on their politically partisan behaviour during the last general election, the only rational reason for their decision to harm us financially, appears to be that they are still politically compromised.

The NIS Board and Barbados based banks would not have had to make the decision to financially harm us if the BLP administration had the courage to fight for us, rather than critically wounding us by defaulting on foreign loans.

Once the BLP administration had economically ruined us, they rushed us to the IMF, who made a quick decision to operate.  Now they have the gall to boast about how fast they got the doctor to see us – after they figuratively shot us in the gut.  Are they serious?

The politically compromised radio and newspapers have lost all journalistic integrity as they defend every irresponsible action of the BLP administration as brave and caring.  Are they mad?  What is so brave about defaulting on a loan?  Any idiot can do that.  It takes courage, creativity and perseverance to make those payments, especially after losing your job.

What is so brave and caring about laying-off people.  Any simpleton can do that.  It takes intelligence to properly manage people to be productive, and there seems to be none of that in BERT.  What is so brave and caring about raising taxes.  The most incompetent among us can easily do the same.  It takes bravery to lower taxes, and intelligence to provide an enabling economic environment where low-taxed persons can thrive.

Unfortunately, BERT’s demonstrated incompetence appears to be just the start of things to come.  Despite being fully aware that there are non-austerity alternatives to their severe austerity plan, BERT refuses to consider any of them.  That would normally be front-page news of a media outlet committed to truthfully informing the public.  But not our news media who appear to shamelessly play the role of propaganda-arm of the BLP administration.

Our sycophant news media refuse to report on any non-austerity plan, including Solutions Barbados’.  Instead, they continue to mislead the public that the mass suffering of Barbadians is the necessary and only solution. They are dead wrong and cowards of the highest order.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com