Categorized | Opinions, Politics

Budget: Social Security and Montserrat Political Madness

by  Man from Baker Hill

If you were born between 1950 and 1960 your social security benefit has been reduced by as much as 10%. In 2009, the government passed laws effective January 2010 that would affect the accrued benefits of every social security pensioner who was born between 1950 and 1966.  The truth is that if two employees worked for the same employer, made the same number of contributions to their social security, based on the same salary, the one who became 60 years up to December 29, 2009 would receive about 10% more pension than the one who became 60 years on January 03, 2010.

I listened to the 2011 Budget speech. It was the best read Budget speech that I have listened to over the past twenty years.  And except for his remarks about Japanese in shelters, the CM made a successful attempt to impress. However, what jumped out at me was the CM’s mention of civil servants and legislators/politicians pension. He said that in spite of the proposed amendments to their pension laws, no accrued benefits would be adjusted downwards.  That was good news for politicians and civil servants. But it was like spit in the face of a number of Montserratians who turned 60 years since January 2010, especially those who relied solely on their social security age benefit. One segment of their accrued benefit was reduced from 30% to 20%.

Dear lord, I wonder if the CM is aware of the plight of other pensioners who will receive only social security benefits. I wonder if the he is aware  of what I just described abve. This is not a just wondering piece. This is not fiction. This is not designed to deceive the public or to present a negative picture of politics in Montserrat. This is bread and butter issue for Montserratians, who are not civil servants, and who contributed towards their social security since 1986. I really wonder if the CM is aware that the accrued benefits of those born after 1950 were adjusted downwards, and overnight too. I wonder if the CM appreciates that their rights of expectation to their accrued benefits had been taken away.

But no, the CM obviously cares only about civil servants. In the budget speech he bragged that the civil servants will get a combined pension fixed at 85% of their final salary. And when our pension tax law kicks in, the civil servants pension will amount to 110% of their pre-retirement disposable income.

I wonder how many Montserratians know that if a certain politician were to retire in 2011 he would receive an annual pension of $168,000.00. That is 166% of his annual salary. And if you factor in the reality that he will pay no income tax on $60,000.00 of the pension, his real pension could be as much as 175% of his present annual salary of $101,000.00.

And even though that politician did not contribute one dollar, he is guaranteed a pension after only six years of work.  It is the law…of the land made by politicians just for politicians.

Yet, based on the other laws of Montserrat, made just for you, the maximum social security monthly pension that a person will receive if she becomes 60 years in 2011 would be about $1,500.00. That is not even 40% of her final salary, even though for twenty-five years she would have contributed the maximum amount towards her social security. In fact the maximum social security pension of $2,500.00 monthly is only attainable in the year 2026 after 40 years of contributions.

Montserratians, did you know that in the year 2007 our politicians amended a law that caused their pension benefits to increase by as much as 100%?  And did you know that in 2006 our politicians made it possible for some civil servants to receive pensions that exceed 100% of their pre-retirement salary? Well, now you know. Well, this is real politics on Montserrat. Yes, the politicians make the Laws… for the other Montserratians to pay the tax so that legislators and civil servants will get big pensions.

This article though, is not about politicians or civil servants pensions. It is about inequity and injustice to the voiceless and the needy whose accrued pension benefits have been adjusted downwards to accommodate Montserrat’s specials.

And as I mentioned earlier, the CM could not resist bragging about legislators and civil servants pensions. He patted himself on the back for creating madness at the social security. Yes he did!   But he forgot that in2009 he moved a bill in the house which reduced the social security pensions for a group of Montserratians by as much as 10%.

It is budget time; the time when every elected politician seeks to outshine each other, as they try to impress the voiceless and the needy that they represent.

So through this article, I humbly beg each legislator to revisit the amendment to Regulation 31 of the Social Security Regulations. Seek to understand the amendment, discuss it, debate it and agree to add the words, ‘the accrued benefits for persons born after 1950 will not be adjusted downwards’. That is all I beg of you for fiscal 2011.

How could the Social Security Board make recommendations that deny people of their rights of expectations?  How could politicians and the legal department accept the recommendations without considering the impact on the social security pensioners? Shouldn’t the whole bunch of them be flogged?

Mr. CM, please fix this injustice, before Social Security becomes Montserrat’s next political Madness.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by  Man from Baker Hill

If you were born between 1950 and 1960 your social security benefit has been reduced by as much as 10%. In 2009, the government passed laws effective January 2010 that would affect the accrued benefits of every social security pensioner who was born between 1950 and 1966.  The truth is that if two employees worked for the same employer, made the same number of contributions to their social security, based on the same salary, the one who became 60 years up to December 29, 2009 would receive about 10% more pension than the one who became 60 years on January 03, 2010.

I listened to the 2011 Budget speech. It was the best read Budget speech that I have listened to over the past twenty years.  And except for his remarks about Japanese in shelters, the CM made a successful attempt to impress. However, what jumped out at me was the CM’s mention of civil servants and legislators/politicians pension. He said that in spite of the proposed amendments to their pension laws, no accrued benefits would be adjusted downwards.  That was good news for politicians and civil servants. But it was like spit in the face of a number of Montserratians who turned 60 years since January 2010, especially those who relied solely on their social security age benefit. One segment of their accrued benefit was reduced from 30% to 20%.

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Dear lord, I wonder if the CM is aware of the plight of other pensioners who will receive only social security benefits. I wonder if the he is aware  of what I just described abve. This is not a just wondering piece. This is not fiction. This is not designed to deceive the public or to present a negative picture of politics in Montserrat. This is bread and butter issue for Montserratians, who are not civil servants, and who contributed towards their social security since 1986. I really wonder if the CM is aware that the accrued benefits of those born after 1950 were adjusted downwards, and overnight too. I wonder if the CM appreciates that their rights of expectation to their accrued benefits had been taken away.

But no, the CM obviously cares only about civil servants. In the budget speech he bragged that the civil servants will get a combined pension fixed at 85% of their final salary. And when our pension tax law kicks in, the civil servants pension will amount to 110% of their pre-retirement disposable income.

I wonder how many Montserratians know that if a certain politician were to retire in 2011 he would receive an annual pension of $168,000.00. That is 166% of his annual salary. And if you factor in the reality that he will pay no income tax on $60,000.00 of the pension, his real pension could be as much as 175% of his present annual salary of $101,000.00.

And even though that politician did not contribute one dollar, he is guaranteed a pension after only six years of work.  It is the law…of the land made by politicians just for politicians.

Yet, based on the other laws of Montserrat, made just for you, the maximum social security monthly pension that a person will receive if she becomes 60 years in 2011 would be about $1,500.00. That is not even 40% of her final salary, even though for twenty-five years she would have contributed the maximum amount towards her social security. In fact the maximum social security pension of $2,500.00 monthly is only attainable in the year 2026 after 40 years of contributions.

Montserratians, did you know that in the year 2007 our politicians amended a law that caused their pension benefits to increase by as much as 100%?  And did you know that in 2006 our politicians made it possible for some civil servants to receive pensions that exceed 100% of their pre-retirement salary? Well, now you know. Well, this is real politics on Montserrat. Yes, the politicians make the Laws… for the other Montserratians to pay the tax so that legislators and civil servants will get big pensions.

This article though, is not about politicians or civil servants pensions. It is about inequity and injustice to the voiceless and the needy whose accrued pension benefits have been adjusted downwards to accommodate Montserrat’s specials.

And as I mentioned earlier, the CM could not resist bragging about legislators and civil servants pensions. He patted himself on the back for creating madness at the social security. Yes he did!   But he forgot that in2009 he moved a bill in the house which reduced the social security pensions for a group of Montserratians by as much as 10%.

It is budget time; the time when every elected politician seeks to outshine each other, as they try to impress the voiceless and the needy that they represent.

So through this article, I humbly beg each legislator to revisit the amendment to Regulation 31 of the Social Security Regulations. Seek to understand the amendment, discuss it, debate it and agree to add the words, ‘the accrued benefits for persons born after 1950 will not be adjusted downwards’. That is all I beg of you for fiscal 2011.

How could the Social Security Board make recommendations that deny people of their rights of expectations?  How could politicians and the legal department accept the recommendations without considering the impact on the social security pensioners? Shouldn’t the whole bunch of them be flogged?

Mr. CM, please fix this injustice, before Social Security becomes Montserrat’s next political Madness.