TALKBACK: Some happy for pensioners, others blast Government
EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS, as the saying goes, so pensioners were quite relieved to see a few more dollars on their cheques this month.
Director of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Ian Carrington, explained the rationale in an interview with the DAILY NATION.
“In October, Minister of Finance [Chris] Sinckler increased the non-contributory by $10 per week. As per our agreement when we did pension reform, we looked at it again and realised there were no increases in 2015 or 2016 and we got the cumulative increase that they would have gotten in [both years]. So, yes, there is an increase in pensions and it takes effect from January 2, which I think is the first pension date in January,” he said.
Carrington said there would also be increases for people receiving other benefits, like maternity and funeral grants.
The senior citizens seemed quite pleased with the increase. However, there was more than a bit of scepticism among the general population. Here are some of their views.
Ione Mitchell: Not that this is big news. Pensioners can tell you they used to get a slight increase annually but over the past couple years it had stopped. This is just a return to the normal practice.
David Gill: I am happy for the pensioners; they need help with the increase in cost of living. I cannot help but wonder if this is a move to alleviate the fears over possible liquidity issues at NIS as highlighted in an IMF report and a recent NATION newspaper article. If that is the case, let’s hope this action has not put the programme under further stress and brought it one step closer to failure.
Alisa Cox-West: The increase is great. Now let’s work on the consistency of the payments because some months the cheque is late or doesn’t come at all. Antonio Cozier: It’s beginning to look a lot like elections . . . everywhere I go.
Maureen Hinkson: What about our income tax return for Christmas to buy a ham? Public servants can’t get something too?
Derek Dunne: Is there an election coming up or something?
Levi Mayers: Everybody getting increase and public servants cannot get [nothing] – no income tax returns, no appointments, no wage increases, [nothing].
Ashanda Coward: Happy they got an increase. Some of you, be happy for them . . . . Some of you so ungrateful; it ain’t funny.
Lynda Bonnett: More money for unscrupulous family to enjoy and treat them bad.
Margaret Ross: Anything to help the elderly and there’s always room for improvement.
Pamalea Payne: Just can’t please people. They criticise when you don’t, and when you do, it’s worse. Why not just give thanks?
Mary Adams: Still waiting on two income tax returns.
Russell Margaret: Happy for them, our nation builders. Yours and mine will come. Be patient.
Chetwyn Greenidge: Truly grateful that the pensioners are getting an increase for Christmas.
Anthony Chase: That’s great news for the pensioners. We need not dissect and criticise everything.
Sherrylyn Toppin is The Nation’s Online Editor.