BLP warns NIS is not Government’s ATM

While opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) supports Government’s plans to borrow $76 million mainly to improve police accommodation, it has questioned the sourcing of the money from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

Senator Jerome Walcott, opposition leader in the Upper House, expressed his party’s concerns today during debate on a Government resolution seeking parliamentary approval to borrow the money.

Walcott said even though the Opposition agreed that the police needed improved infrastructure, it had to “reiterate the concerns being expressed by persons in Barbados in terms of utilization of the funds of the National Insurance Fund” as an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) for Government’s projects.

The opposition senator referred to officials of the current administration speaking about profits for NIS when Goverment borrowed from the Fund. Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer told delegates attending the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) 60th annual conference at the weekend that the NIS was repaid with interest whenever it loaned Government money.

jerome“I understand the arguments being advanced in support of this but I am merely referring to the various actuarial reports in the past and the most recent one which have highlighted the level of commitment and indebtedness of the Government of Barbados is to the NIS,” he noted.

The loan will be used to finance construction of a new police station at Hastings, a public centre complex at Cane Garden, a police headquarters in the Pine, a police station and magistrate’s court at Boarded Hall, refurbishment of the old Barbados Water Authority headquarters in the Pine and the Elaine Scantlebury Home at Bellplaine, and repairs to the Old Male Barracks at Central Police Station and the former Black Rock Police Station.

Walcott spoke of the project being long in coming. “Having heard the Attorney General speaking about this soon-to-be constructed new police station and enhanced facilities, I am at a bit of a loss that some seven years later . . . we’ve now reached the stage where we are about to implement this very important project.”

The former health minister restated the BLP’s position that the mere provision of new buildings would not fight crime in Barbados. “The construction of new police stations and enhancement of facilities will not solve the intense crime situation,” he contended, noting that “almost daily there are reports of shootings and robberies in Barbados”.

Claiming that Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith had provided conflicting figures on gun-related and other violent crime, Walcott said this did not bode well for the country.

“Whether we play with the statistics and we argue that there is no real change, there is no real increase, the point of the matter is this is the current situation in Barbados. Average Barbadians are living in fear to some extent.”

Walcott sought to make clear that his party did not lay blame for the crime upsurge solely on the current government, saying he did not believe that crime should be politicized. He also gave the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) a vote of confidence. “I have no doubt that the acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and the Royal Barbados Police Force will succeed in bringing this situation under control . . . [They have] done it in the past and I have no doubt that they will do it again”.

He however warned that Barbados’ crime situation would not be erased overnight and a lot of work needed to be done. Among factors the opposition senator listed as being responsible for the current level of violent crime are illicit drug activities and, “whether the Government likes it or not, unemployment and the state of the economy also impacts on this.”

14 Responses to BLP warns NIS is not Government’s ATM

  1. Tony Webster August 27, 2015 at 7:57 am

    What really galls me, is hearing the Minister responsible for the N.I.S., bleanting continually, about what a “good” rate of return/ interest, which the NIS receives on sums lent to the government. Please remind me lady: WHERE does the Min. finance get the money from, to repay both principlal and interest from? Man-in-de-Moom?

    Extending her discourse, and taking it all like hook, line, and sinckler, would it therefore not make just as much sense, for the goodly Senator, to lend ALL the NIS dunds to government…at 25%p.a.?

    Not me to accuse such a nice lady, of misleading the House, or even the average citizen…but …well, there is such a thing as being disingenuous. In spades.

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce August 27, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Wait…….Oh, so this discussion on Sunday i.e Freundel called on delegates to“put heads together” and come up with a programme that will “touch and heal” every Barbadian household, and they came up with the idea to borrow from themselves! Was Fog Horn Leg Horn chairing the meeting with HeKnows? If, one borrow from oneself, one don’t have to pay it back. N.I.S is deducted from salaries for benefits i.e unemployment, maternity, sick pay and pensions. It is not used for loans. Pray tell me, what is going to happen to the unfortunate that relies on benefits and pensions when there are no funds left? Boy, wunna got to stop these Cartoon Characters before they cripple Barbados.

  3. Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey
    Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey August 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    My this is 2 cents…the $76 million to repair as I have counted in the phone book to be approx (17) including Central….Police buildings would be a pay out of approx. $4.5 million per station. WHAT pray tell are they building a mini mall !!! Pockets getting lined now for Xmas coming

  4. carson c cadogan August 27, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Wonders never cease.

    Is this The same Barbados Labour Party which vehemently opposed the setting up of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) when it was proposed by Frank Walcott and the Barbados Workers Union now setting themselves up as the Guardians of the NIS?

    Left to the Barbados Labour Party they would never have been a NIS. When in power, as they like to call it, they continually made use of NIS funds for various programs in Barbados. But that was ok as it was the Barbados Labour Party. All of a sudden it is now wrong to make use of the said funds in the interest of BARBADOS and Bajans.

    • panwallie September 13, 2015 at 2:22 am

      Thanks for reminding them (BLP) that they have also raided the lucky dip.

  5. Jack Baeur
    Jack Baeur August 27, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    then they will be telling not asking the ppl of this country to wait on their pensions ,unemployment and various much needed dependent claims because there is a computer issue.

  6. harry turnover August 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    See how this recognised yard fowl come out to spread some rhetoric instead of picking on some corn in the yard.
    Some other yard fowl should now come out and tell him that when the BLP was borrowing the surpluses like dem that all was well with ALL of the funds .
    People didn’t have to wait two years or more for any benefits,and the then Government wasn’t borrowing money to pay salaries..or blaming computer glitches when problems arose.
    Is this the same yard fowl who prefers to exercise his right by remaining silent when DEM said on the buildup to the last election that there will be NO LAY OFFS in the Civil Service…..and after being re elected said that lay offs will be the last resort

  7. carson c cadogan August 27, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Harry Turnover, like all good BLP supporters you have a very short memory.

    Dont you recall that the “computer glitches” at NIS all started during the tenure of the BLP?

    Govt. was not “borrowing money to pay salaries” due to the fact that the newly introduced vat at the time was sucking inordinate amounts from the purses of Bajans. So much so, that conscience stricken, the BLP introduced something known as “a reverse tax credit” to give back to the people a bit of the excess which the BLP Govt. was gouging out of them.

  8. Shadia Forde
    Shadia Forde August 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Stupseeee ppl want the f***ing money

  9. Josh August 31, 2015 at 4:33 am

    They would do better to use the money to upgrade the QEH and psychiatric hospital.

  10. helicopter(8P) August 31, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Messing around with N.I.S funds by government is so much like a mother who puts away some fried dolphin stakes for dinner but the children all decide to eat it all up hoping that more stakes will appear without their father having to go out to sea at in the morning.

  11. Basil Graham August 31, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    come on carson c cadougan, no other government has borrowed money from the NIS in the amounts or with the frequency that this current government is now doing, so while I understand you being forever partisan, please, take your head out of the sand.

    • panwallie September 13, 2015 at 2:31 am

      Does the amount or frequency matter? Neither one of the parties should be abusing NIS funds the way they have been. There are too many loans borrowed from NIS that are not being repaid. The public need to call on for a list of all the NIS debtors and employers in arrears.

  12. Mr Whapax September 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I fully expect next year that I will have to wait until age 100 before I can get a pension. If the NIS is so flush with money why institute the deferral of pensions from age 65 to god knows when now? Successive governments must be banned from touching the NIS money. Who ensures that this money is repaid by government and who will enforce the “agreements” if they don’t? I have promised to stop listening to local news because every day something worse comes to the fore.


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