Is like ah stirred up ah Red Ants nest in de Love Vine column last week when ah write say ah proud ah de NIS. How when ah was allowed to become ah member, ah had only three years to reach retirement age; and when de big six-zero came, and Mr “Jakie” Jacobs, the NIS Bailiff told me ah had qualified foh ah Pen-shun ah was overwhelmed. Ah went on to say dat de pen-shun was small, is sill small, can’t even pay light bill, but it punctual, regular and reliable. Also dey’s Dignity in ah NIS Pen-shun, thank God ah not on de Go-venom-mint Public Assistance a.k.a. Poor Relief. Every forth-night ah could put on me pot, go to de Bank and tek off ah $50. 00 and as ole people would say “mek message.”
From de criticism levelled at me, it is clear dat most of de folks wanted to swipe at de ULP, charging dem foh dipping dey hand too deep in NIS money, investing in dead capital. Ah good topic dat was discussed at last Fry-dey’s NIS Consultation, was de Ju-C property at de corner of Granby and James Street dat NIS was literally forced to purchase. Ah valuable commercial site turned into small Car Park wid an MT Office building locked up like ah storeroom. . Barring ah miracle nothing will happen at de Ju-C site before 2025.
Another charge levelled at my article and also discussed at de NIS Consultation was do ole sore dat will not heal, way de Go-Venom-Mint failed to pay Public Servants NIS contributions dat accumulated to over twelve million dollars, and in order foh NIS to get dat money (on de books) dey had to turn it into ah loan to Go-venom-mint. Another serious deficiency is lack of jobs. Employment means more Taxes, more NIS. De unemployment figures in SVG is appalling. Yuh doh have to know eco-no-mix to know dat de solution to unemployment is not Poor Relief, and when yuh can’t pay Poor Relief, you put dem on NIS non-contributors benefit. So de Maths is simple, No Employment, No salary, den No Tax, No NIS. Lie-Za say dat’s ah scenario way leadership perceived to be able to See-lack Vision.
Simple Mat-ah-mat-tic-all logic again, yuh purchasing 50 low income timber houses from Guy-Anna? But way de labour from? Guy-Anna of course. We doh have skills to build anything any more. We are ah permanent Poor Relief workforce.
In de meantime ah will continue to encourage people to take pride in any sort of employment. Whether yu are ah Surveyor, Store clerk, Vendor, consider yu-self as self employed, NIS recognizes people who are self-employed. Ah want to appeal to young people specially, who make dey dollar by farming, and dat includes every crop considered legal, all yuh join de NIS, let NIS invest yuh money foh yuh in de long term is de best. Doh mind if even yuh doh live to attain retirement age, yuh are entitled to other benefits including sick and maternity, and best of all dey’s ah fat $4, 500.00 resting at NIS to give us ah decent burial. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.