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The Editor Speaks: Meagre pensions

The number of Cayman Islands elderly persons who receive meagre pensions and are losing their homes for mortgage defaults are rising.

Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed this in the LA saying more and more people at present need support from government. It is growing every year, he said, because the meagre provisions of private pension plans are nowhere near enough for people to live on.

McLaughlin said the difference between the public sector pension scheme to those in the private sector, was as big as “night and day”.

Opposition Leader, Ezzard Miller said, the reason the public sector pensions are so meagre was because the providers are capitalizing and “profiteering from the poor people”. He brought the House’s attention to what happened in 1990 when pressure was applied to the government by those in the pension business to prevent a national pension plan.

Whilst saying what one shouldn’t do to the pension plans as they are now he didn’t say what should be done but said “these are serious problems”.

Yes they are.

He urged the LA to put all their heads together and try and solve all the problems now destroying people’s lives. He pointed out that his colleague, East End Member Arden McLean, in 2004 had called for proper mortgage legislation, presented a private Members Motion but the government of the day had “ridiculed” them. The government did nothing to solve the problem that was mounting then.

The debate on the above was due to a Private Members Motion brought by George Town MLA, Kenneth Bryan. He had requested government increases the amount that private sector pension scheme members can access before they are 65 from $35,000 to $100,000 in order to cover home loans.

This, of course, would cause another problem down the road as there would then be next to no pension monies available to the member when they reached pensionable age. He was advocating they could draw $100,000.

After further discussion Bryan agreed a compromise with the government reducing the amount to $50,000.

Even that spells disaster and government would have queues of people lining up for a handout for poor relief.

Whenever you have MLA’s having seats on the Banks and Insurance Companies Boards nothing will be done, except lots of talk.

Talk can be as big as it likes but none of it will make a any difference to the meagre pensions available now.


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