30 June, 2010


Even if it is legal for the Social Security Board to lend to government why are they keeping quiet about it?  There may well be some arguable justification for the Social Security Board
having loaned contributors’ funds to government.  It could be said that if the loans had not been made government would not have been able to meet the end-of-month salaries to the thousands of public servants on the payroll.  The public service might have struck. Bank loans might have gone into default by the thousand The government might have collapsed as the island descended into chaos and panic spread through the island. However, neither the government not the Social Security Board have deigned up to this date to make a single announcement about the rumoured use of the Social Security Fund in making allegedly unsecured advances to government, far less giving any explanation.  The result is that the concerned citizen can only feverishly speculate.
Would the island have suffered long-term damage to the people, economy and image if it had been allowed, in effect, to declare bankruptcy while preserving the Social Security Fund for the benefit of the contributors?  Was the choice that faced government a simple black and white one of either using up the funds in keeping the public servants employed, or preserving the funds and laying off large numbers of public servants? 
Other questions spring to mind in this fevered circumstance of lack of solid information.  Is there a planned end to this lending?  Is there a top limit, a written-in-concrete line of credit, so to say?  What happens when the limit is reached and there are no further funds to borrow?  Is there a long-term plan to end and to repay this borrowing, or is it just a stop-gap measure until the money is used up or a plan can be hatched?  Is the loan a short-term bridging loan until the proceeds of the promised Caribbean Development Bank loan is received?  Not a word of clarification has been tossed in the public's direction by either the Board or the government.
Why is it all so hush-hush?  Why is this ongoing lending not a matter of full and frank public disclosure and discussion?  Why is the Minister of Finance not going on radio and giving us a measured reassurance?  Why is the argument in favour of the loans not written up and published in the newspapers and in the Official Gazette?  Why has the Social Security Board been silent in the face of all the speculation?  Is it for shame, or is there some other cause for secrecy?
In my view it is fundamentally wrong for the public service, in effect, to plunder the Social Security Fund while failing to have the courage to cut costs where costs need to be cut. 
The failure of the government to have its press officer publish, for use of the press, details of government’s decision to borrow from the Fund, immediately this decision was taken in the Executive Council, amounts to a fundamental breach of the government’s election promise of transparency. 
The failure of the Social Security Board to publish for public information its decision to advance monies from the Fund to government has created a lack of confidence in the new Board that will take a lot of unnecessary effort to cure. 
No justification for the concealment and lack of transparency put forward at this late date can make up for the loss of confidence that has occurred.
In desperation, I have gone to the British government’s Freedom of Information Act website.


  1. Well said and Well done.
    It may be the only way to get to know where our social security monies are.
    Using the British Freedom of Information procedure to find out what is going on in our own country is a brilliant idea. however it is also a disgrace that we have to go this far to find our social security monies.
    We are bankrupt and can not even pay employees without borrowing, how the hell are we going to ever pay back loans to social security?
    Who in their right mind could agree to our government borrowing any money from social security knowing we can not pay it back.
    Is this criminal?

  2. The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded."

    –Charles-Louis De Secondat(1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu – Source: The Spirit of the Laws, 1748


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