Private pension bills passed for six former teachers
December 6, 2013
Private pension bills passed for six former teachers

Six private pension bills were passed in the House of Assembly on Monday.{{more}}

Pension (Declaration) Bills for Lennox John, Elaine Ollivierre, Cools Vanloo, Joy Cato, Rudolf Sutherland, and Ensley Williams were taken through all their stages and passed.

“Each of these six public servants, former teachers, have served this country quite well. In the case of several of them, they were principals and in the case of Mr Lennox John, he was the principal of Bishop’s College and Headmaster of the [St Vincent] Grammar School,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves said, as he piloted the bill through the House.

The Prime Minister said in each case, for the period being considered, these persons were employed, not by the government, but by the school authorities.

Gonsalves noted that John, Ollivierre, Vanloo and Cato had been employed by the Anglican community; Sutherland at the Intermediate High School, before it became a government school, and Williams at the Mountain View Adventist Academy.

The Prime Minister explained that even when a public servant is paid by the Government, if that person was not appointed by the Public Service Commission, he or she would not be entitled to the pension and gratuity through the state system.

“All you would be entitled to would be what is paid through the National Insurance Services,…” he said.

“The difficulty really is that these persons … have taught the children of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and it is only fair that they be given some form of pension consideration in the same manner that others who have been formerly appointed by the Public Service Commission,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said he had hoped that there would have a general amendment of the pension act, both the one for public servants and for teachers, with special provisions in each case, but that exercise has proven to be taking longer than he would have wished.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace said the six Bills had the support of the members of the Opposition.

“It is very important, I think, to recognize contributions and where it is allowed, provide for pension. So we give our full support,” Eustace said.

The Prime Minister urged “even greater speed” by the offices of the Clerk of the House and the Attorney General so that the Bills could be assented and printed quickly.

“I will try to see if I can get the officials in the Ministry of Finance to do some speedy work. I can’t hold out any specific promise, because it is not in my hands completely, but I believe I do have some influence in the system, for the need for expedition,” Gonsalves said.