Tag Archives: NIS

Senior Citizens Affected by National Insurance Glitch and LATE Tax Returns a Possibility

The National Insurance Office wishes to advise customers that a hardware malfunction has severely affected its computer network. As a result, the delivery of all benefits including pensions will be delayed. The NIS technical team has been working consistently to rectify the matter but it is anticipated that it will take about three weeks to correct the problem and restore the network to its full capacity. The National Insurance Office apologises for the inconvenience causedNIS Website (30.09.2014)

The National Insurance  Scheme (NIS) has advised that they have encountered a computer hardware problem and it will take about three weeks (they hope) to mail benefit cheques including pensions. It is unimaginable if the same malfunction were to occur in a private sector company the catastrophic impact it would have on the business.  The cryptic message delivered by the NIS fails to give insight as to the nature of the problem therefore Barbadian taxpayers and those directly impacted by the hardware problem are left to speculate as to how come.

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Understanding the NIS of Barbados (1) – Social Characteristics and Basic Structure

Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman

Modern Barbados is a society which has evolved from a foundation of slavery. Since 1834, up to the present day, the institution of slavery on the island has been replaced by an overt but complex system of prejudice and discrimination based on colour and perceived class.

Putting the “red legs” aside, the perceived lowest class of citizen in Barbados is black in colour. This black colour-lowest class combination is viewed as the sociological pool from which our nation has historically produced its labourers, murderers, thieves, rogues, vagabonds, local prostitutes, and petty criminals, to mention a few categories. With the passage of time, this group has produced almost every type of citizen except the owners of large successful businesses or corporations with the capacity to survive through the ages.

At this end of our social continuum, there are some people who have worked hard to help raise their children and maintain their households and who have assisted significantly in the development of Barbados (e.g. housewives, small vendors, handymen) without ever being officially employed. We can therefore understand and appreciate the need for government to offer this group a helping hand whenever the need arises.

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Concern About the National Insurance Scheme

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of National Insurance Board

Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of National Insurance Board

The National Insurance Scheme is backlogged with sickness benefit claims. Barbados Today has learned that the backlog is resulting in scores of individuals waiting to receive their sickness benefit payments, some as far back as November. And while it is not clear how much longer those persons will have to wait, it is at this time uncertain if unemployment benefits will also be affected by this wait. NIS PILE UP BACKLOG OF SICKNESS BENEFITS CLAIMS CAUSED BY ‘TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES’ on the back page of “Barbados Today” dated 03 January

My, my, my! Now we have gremlins running about the NIS Department. I wonder how come. I hope that it is not contagious. Can it get any worse?

We have to keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t spread to other departments. Are there really “technical difficulties” being experienced by the department, or they of a pillaging kind? Why did Mrs. Hunt have to pass the buck to the marketing and research department? I would not have thought that such problems would come under the jurisdiction of that department. Is there no specific IT Department? Was she too busy, or was she afraid that Mr. Maddens questions could be too difficult to answer, and therefore evoke one that could be embarrassing to the Government? Was there a directive not to talk to the press on this issue because the Minister of Finance does not have an answer yet? Could it be that the answer is a million-dollar one?

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Numbers Don’t Lie. People do!

We apologize to Walter Blackman for picking up his submission several days lateDavid

Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman

His silver hairs will purchase us a good opinion, and buy men’s voices to commend our deeds.

William Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

I make reference to a Nation News article dated November 4, 2013, entitled “Numbers don’t lie” and written by Sanka Price. In that article, Mr. Erskine Griffith is highlighted as a top‐level civil servant who served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance under six Ministers of Finance and five Prime Ministers, dating back from his appointment to the post under Tom Adams to Owen Arthur, under whom he retired as the Director of Finance and Head of the Civil Service in 2000.

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A Country Marking Time

Cyprus, the latest EU country under the gun

Cyprus, the latest EU country under the gun

BU was under the impression that the 2013-2014 Estimates debated last week in the Lower House – and which will be rubber stamped in the Upper House this week – was set to be one of the most important parliamentary debates in a post-Independence period. BU makes no apology by stating that many of the contributions from both sides can easily be described as arrant nonsense.

Of great interest is the fact the Estimates debate (Appropriations Bill) revealed that several heads do not have enough money allocated to cover the annualized expenditure needed based on historical data. In fact it is patently obvious that the government expects it will have to return to parliament, soon, to seek approval for additional monies from the Consolidated Fund in the form of a supplementary. The bottomline is that the Appropriations Bill is meant to be government’s budget, and how is a budget defined?  An estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.

One therefore has the question what was the purpose of the five day debate in the Lower Chamber. How can one debate the Appropriations Bill if the Heads are not realistically budgeted for? Given the current state of the global economy this is not the time to be playing the donkey with public finances. The general election is done and we need our government to come clean and tell us what is the plan. There is no time for a preamble, please cut to the chase. How about an across the board slash in salaries of 15%? It is obvious we cannot continue to use the NIS monies to fund government’s day to day expenses. This is folly of an indescribable kind. The revelations by the Auditor General which both political sides love to quote but also ignore adds to the negative outlook.

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Governor General Elliott Belgrave Picks Tony Marshall BUT Boots Dr. Francis Chandler

His ExcellencySir Elliott BelgraveGCMG KA CHB QC

His Excellency
Sir Elliott Belgrave
GCMG KA CHB QC

BU listened with interest to DJ and others at Voice of Barbados (VOB92.9FM) extending best wishing to Senator Tony Marshall on his appointment to the Upper Chamber of the Barbados Parliament as an Independent Senator. BU on the other hand withholds all plauditory remarks until Tony Marshall shows respect to the public he pretended to serve while he was  #1 afternoon talk show host and Chairman of the important National Insurance Scheme.

Some will see the irony of Senators Marshall and Byer-Suckoo being members of that Chamber in the current term. It was the then Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo who refused to renew Tony Marshall’s appointment to the National Insurance Board. The usually loquacious Tony Marshall has not issued a public statement that we are aware of on the matter. There was rampant speculation at the time on BU about the ‘optics’ he would have exuded as Chairman of the NIS Scheme given his former role as a director on the CLICO Board. There was the other camp who believed it had to do with matters arising from the NIS on again off again decision to fund the problem plagued Paradise Beach Development Project (Four Seasons Project). Whatever the reason the public, taxpayers, are none the wiser.

Tony Marshall given his roles to date BU regards him as a person of public interest and we are within our right to place the former banker under the microscope. As the #1 talk show host in Barbados he never used the VOB92.9FM bully pulpit to speak out about CLICO from an insider perspective. Contrast his position with Tony Hoyos who resigned on principle from the Barbados National Bank Board (now Republic Bank) to express his disagreement at the time about the share price government was willing to accept from RBL (how this matter finally was settled is fodder for another blog).

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NIS Pension Looms Large

Click image to access presentation in PDF

The presentation maybe of interest if we consider the importance of the NIS Scheme’s contribution  to supplementing retirement income.  BU continues to be optimistic that full transparency will engulf the management of the fund to ensure that one day coming soon the audited financials of the NIS Scheme will be made public to encourage the rigour of public scrutiny. It must be part of the checks and balances to encourage resilience and integrity to our most important fund.