Twenty-Eight Employees of the National Insurance Services (NIS) were on Saturday recognized for their years of service to the company.
The employees were acknowledged as the NIS celebrated its 30th anniversary during a dinner ceremony, which was held at the Spring Estate in Biabou. The event was also used as a send-off for executive director of the NIS Reginald Thomas, who leaves the institution at the end of this month.
Of the 28 employees given plaques of appreciation, nine have given over 30 years of service, four have been at the NIS for over 25 years, while 10 of them were recognized for giving over 20 years of service. Five persons were recognized for over 15 years of work.
Heading the 30 years and over list was executive director Reginald Thomas. The other persons were Leslie Jacobs, Alfredo Ollivierre, Sharon Ashton, Sandra George, Richard Lewis, Dexter Jack, Ann Marie Daniel and deputy executive director Mineva Glasgow.
Recognized for giving between 25 and 29 years of service were Suzette Solomon, Sonia Slater, Perpetua Ashton and Betty Medford.
In the 20 to 24 years of service category were Lennox Timm, Dawn Small, Colleen Thomas, Winston Edwards. Patrice Henville, Ingrid Cadougan, Nicole Byron, Lucille Browne, Neteko Quammie and Laverne Edwards.
Ynold Jacobs, Peter Samuel, Yvonne Ambrose, Donnette Arrindell-Ackie and Cheryl Harry were recognized for having worked at the NIS for over 15 years.
Thomas became involved with social security as a staff member at the National Provident Fund on February 26, 1979 and continued to the NIS on January 5, 1987.
ââ¦We (NIS) have touched many lives,â said Thomas on Saturday, adding, âWe have contributed in many ways to economic development and sustainability of our lovely country St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).â
He noted that over the years, employees have helped expand the NISâs investment portfolio and base, while the company was able to build its own headquarters on Upper Bay Street, open an office on Union Island and provide collection points in Bequia and Georgetown.
Thomas said that the NIS has contributed to health care, housing, agriculture, student loans and natural disasters.
âWe will do everything to ensure that you can come to us for your pension and we will pay those pensions on time, every time,â said Thomas.
Also addressing the gathering was Minister of Social Development Frederick Stephenson, who stated that the NIS has been a tremendous source of support for many hard working persons.
âI know that you are on sound footing and you would continue to serve the people of SVG. I think that out of all the national insurance services in the Caribbean, we are in the top position, number one,â said Stephenson.
Minister Camillo Gonsalves also spoke at the ceremony and noted that years ago (in the days of the National Provident Fund) people in SVG were convinced that something like the NIS could not work here.
He said that persons did not believe that in a small and poor country like SVG people could set up an entity where pensions could be paid and where compensation would be paid for injury and where social security could become an integral part of the social fabric.
âIt is not long ago when people thought these were political gimmicks and these were games that politicians played to say we are going to bring social security to this country. In a relative short period of time, the NIS has moved from being viewed with suspicion to being viewed as an integral cornerstone of the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines,â said Gonsalves.
He noted that we now expect our social security services to do a diverse set of tasks for the people.
âWe expect that on this 30-year bedrock of success the NIS will continue to grow, continue to expand, will continue to invest citizensâ money wisely and will continue to be such a critical cornerstone of growth of development and of future success in SVG,â said Gonsalves.
The function was held under the theme, âTo Sir, with Loveâ and also heard from chair of the NIS Lennox Bowman and secretary general of the Inter-American Centre for Social Security Omar de la Torre.
Bowman said that the NIS is on sound footing and will continue to serve the people of SVG. He noted that over the years, the NIS has become a brand which promises and gives exactly what is promised.(LC)