Lovell says Social Security’s notice to pensioners is callous and ALP Gov’t needs to fill the gap it has created

15

Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), condemns the Social Security Board and Prime Minister Gaston Browne, the Minister of Finance, for the Scheme’s insensitive notice to pensioners on Friday, September 2, on the matter of their July – and future – payments.

 

“The manner in which the Board told pensioners that not only will they not be paid for July, but there is no foreseeable date on which they will be paid, is not merely insensitive, but downright callous,” Lovell says.

 

“These are among our most vulnerable citizens.  Many of our seniors depend solely on their Social Security pensions to eat, buy medication, pay bills, or contribute to their children’s households.  To pull the financial rug from under them in this fashion is unconscionable,” Lovell adds.

 

Lovell, who is a former Minister of Finance, points out that, even during the toughest years of the World Financial Crisis, the UPP Administration never cut off seniors in this fashion.  In fact, he says, a significant percentage of the funds it borrowed went into shoring up the Social Security Scheme.

 

The Political Leader also reminds PM Browne that it was successive Antigua Labour Party Administrations that systematically plundered Social Security and, ultimately, put the agency in this position.  And its recent efforts to make regular contributions amount to “too little, too late,” Lovell says.

 

He points, again, to other poor decisions by the Board and the Minister of Finance, including the disposal of real estate at almost giveaway prices and the saddling of the Scheme with so-called assets like the former Air Force Base that yields little to no real cash income.

 

In the meantime, Lovell calls on Browne to put other measures in place to help Social Security pensioners survive what the Scheme has identified as a slow economic period.  He suggests the expansion of the PDV-CAB Benefit Card programme as one example and an increase in the value of the APUA utility subsidy as another practical way to ease the squeeze.

 

However, Lovell says these are stopper-gap efforts, and what the situation calls for is an injection of enough funds to tide it over until the economy improves.

 

At this time, he continues, what is needed is not patience or prayer, as has been proposed by the authorities.  “Faith without works is dead!” Lovell declares.  “The Government needs to actually dosomething for the pensioners.  This is no time for platitudes or excuses.”

Support Antigua Newsroom from as little as $5 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Lovell did nothing when He was there….Now Lovell has all these BIG FAT chat. He is just playing a POLITICAL GAME. Hon.Gaston Browne will definitely fix Social Security.

    • When you have a country in trouble like Antigua and Barbuda and it’s people making everything political it’s no wonder your in the position your in stop being political A – holes and think about those people depending on social security and for one moment ask yourself how are they making it how’s they health and are they getting enough to eat when the day come it doesn’t take an expert to know the country is in trouble with all these late payment to the elderly and government workers.

    • As he used to say, being in opposition is a batman’s paradise. When he was the finance minister and Social Security couldn’t pay pensions and people were lining in front of Social Security early in the morning only to be disappointed time and time again for not getting their pension paid, he blamed it on the collapse of the Stanford Financial Group and the world economy. Listen Lovell knows that Social Security is not run by the government. The Director has full authority as to what he does and does not do. One should read the Act in order to understand Government role. The unions have their person on the board as well and other NGO’s. But you do not hear anything from these groups. Because they all know the truth. Social Security is bankrupt because they didn’t do are still not doing a good job in managing the funds. Time to reorganize the entire funds administration. Not just poor money in a bottomless pit.

    • He certainly didn’t tell the pensioners that there’s no timeline on when their n3xt cheque would arrive. Such caring administration. I do hope you recognize sarcasm.

  2. With all due respect to Mr. Lovell and the UPP, yes there were some late payments in their time and the ALP exploited it for political mileage. However, the Social Security Scheme is in its present crisis primarily because the Scheme was plundered by the ALP. If they cannot solve the problem and solve it fast they need to go. I am sure Harold Lovell and the UPP will do a better job.

    • The UPP were there for ten years and didn’t solve the problem. Infact, they added to the problem in case you didn’t know. And yes, government is continuous, but one ALP government is not the same as the other. This is the Gaston Browne lead ABLP government, and they have not added one dollar to the problem. Infact, they have pumped more money in Social Security than any other government before. And the present problem is caused by Covid. With the closure of especially the hotels the contributions are at their lowest. But the opposition knows that and would try and get political mileage out of it.

  3. The aging Lovell is just talk, however, this is an important matter and cannot be ignored. The ABLP is in danger of losing the support of seniors, and the huge majority vote Red, but times are changing. I have confidence in the Government of the day to fix this thing or it might bring them down. Angry seniors are a force to be reckoned with. Whew!!!!

    • You cannot solve this economic problem without solving the health problem. This problem is brought on by Covid. Companies had to close down and less tourists visit the country, and, in the end, there are less contributions for Social Security. It easier said than done. Especially when you cannot get people to take the vaccine so that the country can return to some normalcy. There is no money tree out there that they can go and pick from.

  4. Lovell has no vision, no strategy, no plan and no nothing. Oppose for opposing sake and criticising will NOT get you elected Mr. IMF/ROMANTIC RHYTHMS.

  5. Hon. Gaston Browne..Please fix this problem once and for All. Do not let this happen another month. Bring this situation UP TO DATE.

  6. When the UPP was in government and social security payments was late whis was not as late as now, some of the same pensioners use to make ALP operatives encourage them to camp out under social security and protest for their money. Now these same pensioners are quiet like a church mouse taking their lack of payment to the lord in prayer

  7. I agree with the Labour Party.

    DO NOT EVEN THINK OF ACCEPTING THE U.P.P. DUMB ADVICE OF GOING TO THE I.M.F. FOR MONEY.

    If the A.B.L.P. is voted out of office (that will not happen) let the U.P.P. GO TO THE I.M.F. and let the people feel the squeeze that they (the U.P.P.) had put them under.

    Oh how easily some of us forget.

    • Not me. I’ll never forget. They knock their chest about social programs. But social programs have only made people more dependable on government. And that is exactly what these UPP politicians like. People should be empowered and made to provide for themselves. No wonder we see a growth in self-employed individuals under this government.

Comments are closed.