This screenshot shows Senator Caswell Franklyn (FILE)
Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn says he does not know how much money the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has in its coffers, adding he did not believe it knew either.
Furthermore, he declared yesterday, the Government must stop using NIS funds to finance capital projects.
He made the submissions in the Senate as members debated the acquisition of a parcel of land at Pine Plantation Road, St Michael, where the new headquarters of the Barbados Fire Service will be built.
The $20 million project, which is expected to be completed this year, is being financed by the NIS under a special lease agreement.
“At this point in time, this Government, and the last one [is] trying to make sure the National Insurance doesn’t pay out any money. Nobody in Barbados can tell me the National Insurance know how much money [it] got. I don’t believe the audited financial statements,” he declared, prompting Government Senator Jerome Walcott to ask that it be withdrawn since audited statements were presented to both the Upper and Lower Houses annually.
But Franklyn persisted, adding: “I am not satisfied the National Insurance has the money that this Government says it has. When the National Insurance audited their financial statement, they didn’t know they were missing millions,” he said.
“We are using funds that are put aside for our pensions. We are finding ways to cut back on those benefits and using the funds for a capital works programme. Legally, you can do it, but it is wrong morally . . . ,” he said.
Franklyn was also against the movement of the Barbados Fire Service’s headquarters from Probyn Street, The City, to Pine Plantation Road.
“I have trouble with moving the fire station out of Bridgetown to provide a public green space. When that fire station leaves . . . and there is a fire in Bridgetown, trying to get back down here in traffic, you will end up with some public black space.” (BA)