Pensioners begin receiving overdue payments for November

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Pensioners in Antigua and Barbuda whose payments for the month of November have been delayed, will begin receiving payments from today Friday.

That’s the word from Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne who attempted to relay this message to a group of opposition United Progressive Party organized protestors including a few pensioners who gathered outside of the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday morning.

Speaking to a few of the partisan political protestors, while some of the UPP opposition supporters were rowdy, sometimes shouting profanities, Prime Minister Browne placed the late payments into context.  He noted that the Social Security Scheme which handles payments to pensioners was insolvent, generating a lower income than its expenditure for decades.  He said successive governments, dating back over thirty plus years were not consistent in paying premiums into the scheme.  This he said resulted in over half a billion dollars in premiums not being paid into the scheme, preventing it from making investments that would have provided it with sustainable income for the future. The Prime Minister also outlined that contributions to the scheme is the only income the institution receives and therefore it cannot meet all of its obligations on a monthly basis.

The country’s leader was quick to point out that unlike previous government, his Antigua Labour Party government has never borrowed from the scheme and has consistently paid its monthly premiums.  “Due to the reduced work week, unemployment and law-offs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the contributions into the scheme have been significantly impacted, with government having to supplement the scheme with over two million dollars on a monthly basis, in addition to its three million dollar monthly contribution, in order for pensioners to be paid.  He noted that last week the treasury of Antigua and Barbuda paid the Social Security Scheme an additional three million dollars to ensure that payments are made to pensioners.

“The Gaston Browne administration has consistently demonstrated that it values the contributions made by pensioners to the development of Antigua and Barbuda and has therefore ensured that its contributions to the scheme are paid on time, to include during the past eight months of the economic downtown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

On Thursday afternoon, the Social Security Scheme announced that late payments can be collected from its offices in St. John’s and that December pensions will be paid before the end of December.

Upon the Prime Minister’s departure, the picketers quickly dispersed, which was followed by a press statement from the Opposition United Progressive Party outlining that it was in solidarity with the picket which it organized.

The Pensioners Association, which is the bargaining agent for pensioners later stated that it played no part in the organizing of the picket.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Sad situation, Antigua seems to be the only island in the eastern caribbean grouping to be experiencing this problem. The social security monies have vanished under successive administrations. This is serious.

    • @ Paul T, Antigua is not the only island in the Caribbean with pension problems. The USVI – GERS is currently facing bankruptcy from years of poor investments and loans. In addition to past administration’s not paying the adequate share into the system. This is the reason I support pension funds managed independently from government entities, with the correct oversight and corrective measures in place. The government now will have to reassess the funds assets and raise the funds to make the account solvent.

      • So what were the reasons given for not paying pensions on time.Now that they protested their rights.The Tap Dawg and Social Security found the ways to pay them for November.So December would be paid at the end of the month.Let us all wait and see.The Pensioners already paid their parts into Social Security.Now it is their times to reap the benefits.From what they paid into their Social Security accounts.They are given the run around every month.Keep on protesting Pensioners.To heck with your weak Pensioners Association.They stand for nothing.They are afraid of the Dawg.

  2. How could HFWL and the UPP endorse such disrespectful behaviour to our beloved PM during the picket? Don’t he know the show will be on the other foot the next 40 years when UPP will have as 0.1 percent probability of regaining office?

  3. How come the pm find the money so quick to pay….
    He really a hold on to the money for election…pay the ppl them money man…

  4. PICKET organized by UPP is a total DISGRACE. Tbe PENSIONERS will be paid in full in December 2020. UPP can continue to organize Picket with 50 Persons. This would not get UPP elected. The election will be as follows.

    ABLP 16 SEATS

    UPP. 00 SEAT

    Having Damani as your SPOKEPERSON is BIG JOKE. UPP FINISHED / DONE.

    • @Eric Carden
      If people did not picket they would not be receiving their pension. Gaston has the money to pay but doesn’t pay because he cares little for the common man. They can suck salt.

  5. I agree that the Pensioners should receive Their money on time but in COVID 19 the Hon.Gaston Browne is doing His best. There is no need to Politicize this issue . UPP is working from all angles to gain support but They are failing. UPP your time is long gone. UPP stop playing politics with the Pensioners.

    • PETE nobody is politicizing the issue unlike the days of the ALP in Opposition. Anyway, the point is the Junior Minister of Finance declared to the Nation that the government had a line of credit of $500,000,000 (yes half a billion) lined up to allow the country to weather the financial storm. This declaration was further confirmed by the Prime Minister and Minster of Finance. Well! now is the time to turn to that line of credit to assist the pensioners with timely payments and also to assist the vulnerable and needy in the society who are suffering as a result of financial difficulty caused by the covid pandemic. The government needs to act and act now to alleviate peoples suffering. Was the line of half a billion credit just a big LIE.

  6. It’s true??? The PLM/UPP crowd were behind this demonstration. The PLM/UPP are the ones who seem to have mismanaged these funds years ago, and now it’s caught up with us. These people simply created this chaos years ago. Gaston handling this like a real statesman now.

    • You have no idea what you are talking about or you are just a hypocrite. One reason the ALP was thrown out of office was because civil servants and pensioners were tired of receiving their payments late. When the Social Security Scheme was set up, people on the board who objected to the labour government taking the funds were dismissed. Successive Labour governments have never made their required contributions and took all the money. Gaston says the scheme is short half a billion dollars. Who is responsible when The opposition was in power for only 10 years since the fund was started.

    • @Conrad. You either dont read well or just purposely lie. The UPP met a debt of almost 500 million owed by ALP to Docial Security. They have a fact sheet showing how they paid into the scheme but with that kind of damage by ALP, it was impossible to settle it all. Note that, not only were ALP not paying, they removed money grom the scheme; i will just posit the 2.2 million taken after hurricane Luis. Note well that all of major players that existed then are still in government now; except that have been knighted for their damage to the country.
      So on to the present government, the creature of self-enrichment. It is clear what is happening here. They are making the most money ever in our history, yet they exist in a constant state of crisis. A lot of this has to do with monies that should be used for national development, as in St Kitts, are frittered away elsewhere for personal gain; Long Bay land flip for example.
      This is the real problem and Covid or no Covid, the nation will never catch itself with ABLPs mindset and practices.

  7. Conrad do you live on Mars or Jupiter? Why don’t you contact the Social Security Office to get the details. It all the previous ALP Administrations that have left Social Security in this financial hole. I am sure you would have heard your esteemed leader Gaston Browne when he declared that Statutory Bodies should not have surplus (reserves) and one such body he was referring to was the Social Security. They (ALP) raped it (Social Security) and now they are trying to pin the rape on the UPP. All least in the current rape allegation in the news, the accused rapist is not trying to pin it one anyone. His defence is that it was consensual. Perhaps if the ALP could use that defence it would as well.

  8. Tabor ..Why bring something of this nature into Politics. Remember UPP has a CONVICTED / MURDERER on Their ticket. TEK DAT TABOR.

    • ZIMBA it is the Prime Minister himself and now his foot soldier CONRAD who have brought the PENSIONERS issue into politics. I was only responding to CONRAD’S political spin on the issue. You know you guys – From The Sideline, Pete, Conrad, Anon the 1st, Eric Carden and Tenman turn everything into politics. I can recall when Tenman foolishly turned the passing of Eugene Humphreys into a political issue.

    • O my God, Zimba, tell me it’s not true. You said “UPP has a CONVICTED/MURDERER on their ticket”. ZIMBA, how could that be? Tell me it’s not true, please. O my God!!!! (Now don’t tell me not to take the name of the Lord in vain. I mean it.)

    • @Zimba. As I recall, he was an ALP member when that happened; probably would not gave happened if he kept far from ALP. He left ALP on his own afterwards, no doubt realizing that evil reigns within that organization. Now he is turning a new page, which I am sure he wished he had done the first time.

  9. We see you, ANR.
    So “while some of the UPP opposition supporters were rowdy, sometimes shouting profanities, all your boy Top Dog was trying to do was place “the late payments in context”. Nice work. We see you.
    Fortunately, we all heard and saw him. Every word and every gesture.
    Concerning the Pensioners Association which was hurrying to tell the dictator, IT WASN’T WE, if I was advising UPP, I say leave them alone. But I am not a politician, and they are voters. I think the protests started too early. There has to be more suffering for reality to shine through.

  10. ZIMBA:He was with the Labor Party.When that of which you speak was done.Back then you gutless spineless men of straw had nothing to say.Now he is with the UPP.You gutless people telling us about him.You were once crying on the Radio Observer about Chet and not giving you work.Now you have crawled back to them on your gut.You are now defending them.Where are your morals.

  11. I heard The President of the PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION called in to REAL TALK POINTE FM on BEEF show last evening . The President told Beef that They DID NOT support the Protest. The protest was organized by UPP .UPP awful PEOPLE.

  12. To ALL BLUE KOOLAID DRINKERS.
    Take off the BLIND FOLDERS .Give our Prime Minister CREDIT for His handling of the ANTIGUA / BARBUDA Economy. UPP totally DESTROYED Social Security and It takes the BRILLIANT mind of Hon.Gaston Browne to repair Social Security. Hon. Gaston Browne is SMARTEST FINANCIAL MIND in the Caribbean. Let Us all join and support our Prime Minister. Look at the UPP Candidates . None of the UPP Candidates can fill a Cabinet post. The PRESIDENT of PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION told BEEF on POINTE FM that They did not support the PROTEST. The FAILED Protest was organized by UPP. Not looking good for UPP. UPP bunch of LOSERS.

  13. CHARLES TABOR and UPP

    Why you GUYS never gave our BRILLIANT Prime Minister CREDIT for the EXCELLENT work He is doing ? 2023 UPP will lose Their single seat in ALL SAINTS EAST and ST.LUKES .Tabor did you see the latest polling ? KNIGHT on Observer radio has destryed UPP.

  14. @ PHILLIP G

    You are so correct. Knight on Observer Radio cussing each night. It is besides me how Knight cussing can enhance the UPP. I have been calling on the UPP to distance Themselves from KNIGHT and SERPENT. I heard that certain members of the UPP will never go on KNIGHT show.
    .

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