No talk shop! Rev Bowen wants documents laid after NIS Town Halls Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Reverend Cassandra Bowen wants that when all the consultations and Town Halls with members of the Board of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) are completed “I would like to see something positive going forward and a solution that is feasible to everybody and most of all, those documents being laid in parliament.”

The documents were referring to outstanding audits.

Rev Bowen said that this cannot be a talk shop exercise for people to just feel like they are contributing. She made her voice and position well known when the first of a series of town halls got underway around Barbados to get the public’s input on the pre-crisis issue facing the National Insurance Fund.

Many applauded the Reverend who is also an educator as she called for greater education especially at all levels of schooling to avoid producing adults who are ignorant about NIS deductions, contributions, pensions, and other financial and social instruments that are crucial in their future. She confessed that she wishes she had the foresight to see down the road when she was younger. She made an earnest plea for webinars, seminars and workshops to “educate, educate, educate”.

Having been raised by her grandmother, Rev Bowen said she learnt a hard lesson about pensions and the NIS very early in life. She said it was “unfair” that her grandmother got her pension stopped because she took in her four grandchildren who were living in an orphanage in Trinidad. She alleged that the NIS deemed her gran unfit to continue to qualify for the pension she was receiving because she could afford to take on the burden of her grandchildren.

Rev Bowen came to the first Town Hall at The Combermere School with her points listed on a piece of paper and for almost each and every point, she got a rousing round of applause from the crowd present. Including when she argued that someone should be fired for the misuse of NIS funds and there should be a restriction placed on government borrowing from the NIS Fund. She also agreed that contributions are down and the brain drain amongst the younger citizens is high and will continue to climb. Recently retired and receiving a “gratuity”, as she laughed at her pension amount, she too confessed that under other circumstances she would migrate, “I want the same problem with different people”.

NIS CEO Kim Tudor told Rev Bowen that the NIS Board would like to see her notes because she made salient points and hit home the fact that “you have to look at it broadly”.