The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

PM Gonsalves is known to love the term masterstroke.  Well here is his latest masterstroke. The government owes the NIS EC$15 million for contributions and cannot pay them.  So he is presenting a resolution to Parliament this week to allow the government to issue a treasury note, or treasury notes, for the amount outstanding to the NIS, thus putting off payment for several more years.

Can I do that?  Can any business in Kingstown do that?

The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION 

TO BE MOVED BY DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES, MINISTER OF FINANCE:      

WHEREAS section 44 of the Finance Administration Act provides that no money shall be raised on the credit of the Government except under the authority of that Act or another Act of Parliament or of a resolution of the House of Assembly;

AND WHEREAS the Government proposes to enter into agreement with the National Insurance Board to raise a loan from the National Insurance Fund in an amount sufficient to produce as nearly as may be the sum of fifteen million dollars to liquidate outstanding contributions owed by the Government to the National Insurance Fund;

AND WHEREAS the Government proposes to raise the loan by the issue of treasury notes totalling fifteen million dollars;

NOW BE IT RESOLVED by this Honourable House that the Government may, pursuant to this Resolution, raise a loan from the National Insurance Fund in an amount sufficient to produce as nearly as may be the sum of fifteen million dollars to liquidate outstanding contributions owed by the Government to the National Insurance Fund.

This is other people’s money; it doesn’t belong to the Government, it belongs to the workers. If a private individual or company did fail to pay NIS contributions after its been collected and after its due, they are liable to be prosecuted.

What I would like to know is how the NIS ever allowed the Government to run up a bill for contributions exceeding EC$15 million?  Is the Government also paying the fine for late payment?

It shows me who is really in charge of the NIS.

It is an absolute disgrace, but I am sure in the mind of Gonsalves it’s just another masterstroke.

Just a thought, how will such a deal work with VINLEC, CWSA and the UWI, who are all owed millions?   Will those shortly become masterstrokes as well?

Peter Binose 

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

5 replies on “A masterstroke or gross liberty”

  1. Knowing the history of this ministry of finance when it comes to monies short and disappearance, i don’t believe that NIS is owed so much. In my opinion they may be owed $5m but this broken ministry will ask for 15 and the 10 goes where no one knows. Just imagine i meet you in Kingstown and ask you for a ride to go to Fancy and i tell you i will put gas in your car, you agree, i now ask you to lend me $100 to put gas in your own car. Watch a mess.

  2. Ks784, the ministry of finance will never see the money, they have already had it and spent it, probably on the airport. What they are doing is passing a piece of paper around a table to try and put right a wrong, the money is long gone. Its simply a way of not paying the NIS deductions for another 5 years.

  3. You mean to tell me not one single soul at the NIS raised his or her voice to protest this? Peter Binose, you are correct this is the people’s money that they have worked for and were forced to leave with the NIS, whether they wanted to or not. they had no choice in the matter. With CWSA or VINLEC, it is not the same thing.

  4. 1. The Government should never have used the NIS as a piggy bank, not even for one cent. The money is there to fund the pensions of hard-working people.

    2. The government may very well default on any treasury notes it issues, as have many other poor and fiscally mismanaged countries in recent years. Retirees will not only have to tighten their belts, they will have to buy shorter and shorter belts.

    3. The Government wouldn’t have to borrow a penny from anyone if it only had the courage and expended the political capital to collect delinquent and present income tax from the thousands of well-off Vincentian tax evaders, including the many retirees who pay nothing here and nothing in England, the United States, or Canada on their pension and investment incomes.

    4. The Government is dead broke.

  5. Catherine, everyone wants to try and keep their job. Gonsalves is head of the NIS board. What are they expected to do, if he says jump they will ask how high.

    The government deducted contributions from employees wages for a specific purpose, to pay into that persons NIS account. To use it for any other purpose is fraud and deception. To repay it twelve months later does not make it any less a crime, it is still fraud and deception.

    If you rob a bank but pay them back the money twelve months later, the crime is you still robbed a bank.

    This government is little more than a mafia organisation, they break laws at will, do all the things that you or I may go to prison for.

    They took the land from the farmers for Argyle airport over 6 years ago and still havn’t paid them, they are crooks and gangsters.

    It really is time to remove this Marxist scum.

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