27 June, 2010
I have had a look at the Social Security Act to see if there is any control on how the fund is to be administered. Section 3 sets up the Social Security Board. By the Schedule to the Act the Board is to consist of 7 persons to be appointed by the Minister of Finance, viz, the Director, 2 representatives of Government; 2 representatives of employers; and 2 representatives of employed persons. Sounds eminently fair, and no doubt it would be, if only it worked like that. (The Social Security Act should be able to be read on the Board’s website, but both links provided are dead!)
Needless to say, immediately after the general elections of February 2010 the new Minister of Finance (Hubert Hughes) fired the cronies of the previous Minister of Finance (Victor Banks) who had been appointed to the Board and appointed instead his own cronies. The rule in
Anguilla, as elsewhere, is the winner gets all.
We know who the new members of the Board are from The Anguillian Newspaper. They are Thomas Astaphan, chairman; Alkins Rogers, vice-chairman; Timothy Hodge, Director; Dr Aidan Harrigan, member; Evan Lake, member; Pastor Victor Hugo Brooks, member; Kirkley Carty, member. Astaphan and Harrigan represent Government; Carty and
Lake are said to represent employers; and Rogers and Brooks to represent employees.
Section 12 of the Act sets up a Social Security Fund Investment Committee. The Committee is said to consist of the Chairman (Tommy Astaphan), the Permanent Secretary Finance (Kathleen Rogers); two persons nominated by the Minister, and the Director (Timothy Hodge). That amounts to almost complete control of the funds available for investment by government officers from the Ministry of Finance. More worrying, a search of the Social Security website, four months after the general elections of February 2010, does not reveal who are the other two members of the Investment Committee. The membership of neither the Board nor the Investment Committee is mentioned on the Board’s website.