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Opposition Leader Godwin Friday in an April 4, 2024 photo.
Opposition Leader Godwin Friday in an April 4, 2024 photo.
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The meeting between the New Democratic Party  (NDP) and the National Insurance Services “was no fluff” says Opposition Leader Godwin Friday.

“It was a fruitful meeting, it was something that we should have been doing years and years ago,” Friday said of the talks.

The NIS and the NDP met amidst reforms of the social security agency that are intended to ensure its sustainability and push the “exhaustion date” from 2035 to 2060.

“We had this notion in this country that somehow the institutions of government were off limits to the opposition, that we were not legitimate, that we were not part of the system of governance, we are not part of the government, per se, but we are part of our system of governance.”

The opposition said in a press statement that the NDP and NIS met at the NIS headquarters on May 21.

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The opposition leader, speaking on his party’s radio programme on Monday, said that the opposition has to be able to consult if it is to do its job properly. 

He noted thatin the United States, there are many committees and people can be summoned to respond to lawmakers’ questions. 

“Of course, the NIS had its own troubles over the past couple of years, it was a crisis situation, of seeking to find ways in which to put it back on a sound footing, and they needed all the allies they could find,” Friday said. 

So naturally, they reached out to us as well. So we are going to ensure that that connection, while we are in opposition, does not recede into the background, that we continue to have these consultations. 

“And when we had the meeting on Tuesday, it was no fluff. We were there talking about substantive issues, we’re talking about things about visionary stuff, as well.

NDP and NIS team
The NDP and NIS teams after their meeting on May 21, 2024.

Friday said the issues included how to get the NIS to be viable and secure going forward without having to raise premiums, “where they’re no longer affordable, and raise the age of retirement, to where the NIS becomes a death benefit, rather than a pension. 

“So what we did there is essentially draw a line at that and say, you can’t really raise the age of retirement beyond 65, given the expected life expectancy here, and we have to give people a reason to join the NIS.”

He said that if the NIS keeps raising the age of retirement and reducing benefits, people would question the benefits of joining it.

“So that is the balancing act that they have to perform,” Friday said. 

The opposition leader said there is high unemployment, especially among young people.

“And these are the people who want to be contributing at this early age to the NIS because they need it for a long time.  

“But when you have 40% unemployment in young people, that is a large pool of contributors of income for the NIS that’s not available,” Friday said. 

“So we have to make the economy grow so that we can have more and more people contributing, and then making the thing viable. “

Friday said the NIS representatives seemed open-minded to “the other creative ways that we had that we explored… 

“And I’m sure that the dialogue was beneficial, not just to us, but to them, and I hope that it will continue,” he said.  

One reply on “NIS talks with opposition ‘was no fluff,’ Friday says”

  1. Hey all dem qubans in d country dey contributing to NIS?

    If not…..what a waste. If d case is not.. then Nis is being robbed Vincentains shudda ha those jobs to continue contributing to NIS. I’m talking bout d healthcare providers too whose jobs where taken away under d jab mandate.

    Seriously talking con somebody tell me if dey r or r not. I might song foolish. NIS is to benefit vincentains so put vincentains to work give back d ppl dem dey job. Again r dey contributors.
    I know dey r foreigners possible on contract so dey may r may not….if not that’s why vincentains shudda have those jobs to keep building up Nis so pensioners have a song future.

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