PM Says Former ABLP Leaders Also To Blame For State Of Social Security

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Former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has admitted that his own party contributed to the dire state of the Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board.

The board has been unable to meet its obligations to pensioners and other qualified person on a timely basis due to a shortfall in revenue.

Browne blames this on mismanagement by governments headed by two former Labour Party leaders Sir Vere Cornwall Bird and Sir Lester Bird.

“When I say mismanagement; I think it was unconscionable for the Labour Party over 28 years not to have paid in its premiums.

“Because at the end of the day it was the government’s money it was trust money, people’s pension,” he said.

Browne defended his statements by saying this was part of this style to “call a spade a spade.”

He hastened to add, “I am not trying to diminish anybody’s contribution because the individuals who led the labour party at the time Sir Lester and prior to him Sir Vere, I mean, I still maintain they would have made the largest contributions to the soci-economic advancement of the country.”

But he said “on that particular issue they mismanagement social security.”

In a rare move, Browne said he agreed with United Progressive Party Leader Harold Lovell who criticised the ABLP’s role in the management of the scheme.

However, Browne said, “then UPP came and compounded it.”

“So I am agreeing with Harold Lovell in terms of where the damage was done initially.”

He said: “to recover from over 30 years of not paying contributions and no proper investment policy that’s just not going to happen easily. It’s going to take some time.”

Browne who is also finance minister said his government will be challenged keep social security a float.

The prime minister said the only way out of this is to “find fresh money to repay those low interest loans they carrying for the government of Antigua and Barbuda and to help them to put together a viable investment portfolio.”

The government is considering selling the former US Naval Base to pump cash into social security.

“Again they have some assets that we gave them and we would have to liquidate those assets,” he said.

Approval has also been given to the social security to sell a two-acre parcel of land close to the former Air Force Base for 1.2 million dollars.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Finally, Finally, Finally. The truth is out from the horses mouth. “STOP THE PRESS” The ALP former leaders bankrupt the Social Security Scheme, for over 30 years they took out workers contribution and never paid it into the Scheme, then turn around and take monies out for all sorts of crap. All I will say “Wicked Set A People”.

  2. Confession is good for the soul.
    Mr. Lester Bird, if there are any more confession you may wants to make concerning the past governing of Antigua and Barbuda now is the time.

  3. Why is it that I seldom hear about the fact that the U.P P. Administration DID NOT pay into Social Security, approximately FIFTY PERCENT (50%) of the contributions it should have?

    The amount that was not paid in amounted to approximately 60 MILLION DOLLARS.

    Why is it that I seldom hear that it was due to the fact that the U.P.P. took this country into an I.M.F. plan, that they were FORCED to pay consistently into Social Security?

    Wouldn’t the monies that the U.P.P. DID NOT PAY INTO Social Security make a difference today?

    Of course the hypocrites will try to hide these facts.

    The facts are the facts and truth is truth.

    Gaston spoke truthfully.

    Now, will Harold Lovell and the U.P.P. supporters speak truthfully?

    I am not holding me breath.

      • Nothing? Guy there is data on the IMF website (see Press Information Notice: IMF Concludes Article IV Consultation with Antigua and Barbuda
        December 17, 1997) which shows in the 90’s when Molwyn Jospeh was finance minister, there were social security payments. The point the PM makes is no other admin, other than his, has made all the payments. Infact via CIP, they have paid beyond what they were required to pay (some 3 million monthly), in order to keep the scheme from going belly up

  4. Just last week I make a suggestion to sell all of the non performing assets of Social Security.Now I see Gaston Browne is saying the same thing.I called the former US Air Station by name as Pan AM Base.Now he is throwing in the former US Naval Base.Social Security needs a Headquarters to be built.So that their monthly rental bills would be no more.I wondered how much they are paying out at this time.It would tell all of us those who are enriching themselves out of Social Security monthly.One of the things Gaston Browne campaigned on in 2014 was the reduction in real estate rental by Government.Has anything really changed in that campaign promise.I would say NO.

  5. Why didn’t the government lease the former American Base facility to AUA when they had made the offered? By now the treasury will have a little money the coffer. From what I understtood was that AUA and Jumby Bay both had made on offered to lease the property of the former American Base and the negotiation did not went well.

  6. Why didn’t the government lease the former American Base facility to AUA when they had made the offered? By now the treasury will have a little money the coffer. From what I understood was that AUA and Jumby Bay both had made on offered to lease the property of the former American Base and the negotiation did not went well.

  7. Where do the PM get his info? Thought the fleecing of SS was from 1994 to date. not because some lands are given to them makes it OK…..The Statutory Corporations need liquid CASH Mr PM are making sure the monies deducted from government employees are paid into SS/MB/EL? Although you claim that the founding father of the nation mismanaged the SC it wasn’t a crime or corruption and A&B flourished during that time. Almost all the new breed of politicians are fleecing the country though malfeasance and none can walk in his shoe. There is a saying “when you point a finger at someone remember at least three is pointing back at you”. Your BALLS is getting too big for you rpants now?

  8. In the nation-village A&B, EVERYBODY Party, NOBODY Party, all the pensioners want to party! At monthend the pensioners want a little thanksgiving to drink a little wine, a little beer, a little rum, a little lemonade and a little smoke! The gov’t has a big problem. “The board has been unable to meet its obligations to pensioners and other qualified person on a TIMELY BASIS(my emphasis) to a shortfall in revenue”. Can a short-term payment mechanism be put in place? The number of pensioners is known(?) and the preparation time is known(?) and at a fixed monthly date the Social Security administrators will decide if there isn’t enough money, the Finance dept makes a ‘bridge transfer’ from a specially earmarked account (CIP?) to the Pensioners account for TIMELY PAYMENT. After money is collected by SS, it is transferred back to CIP(?).
    Now the gov’t has a big ‘finance-migraine headache ‘ that it must get rid of.The EVERYBODY PARTY with the gov’t must require and monitor the steps needed to establish the investment portfolio……wait! Wasn’t there a report done and handed into the gov’t not very,very long ago?…….findings……recommendations !!!!!

  9. Simple solution: just copy the way Singapore does it, they have what is called the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and it is like a private retirement account. What people have at retirement is what they contribute through the life, simple as that. Just copy Singapore’s system and everything will be fine.

    Also, the retirement ages in Antigua are too early. People are living longer now and the ages for retirement need to be increased ASAP. People can work until they are 68. Let’s be realistic.

    • That is just one scheme that we could learn from. I really hope the PM take this as a priority in his term. But I see Molwyn is more focused on implementing a National Healthcare System. Which is fine too. But you think you can mandate Antiguans and Barbudans for their own good to make contributions for their pension. It’s only when they get old and see the writing on the wall they start panicking. And then you see many become a burden on the society. Because these days even children seem to abandon their parents so easily. That is why the new Fiennes Institute will be packed as soon as the doors open.

  10. Knight in Shining Armour

    Why dont you stop hiding behind the Faithful National and show Us that you really support the UPP.ABLP cannot do anything right for you. COWARD.

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