The Region Seeks Ways to Strengthen Social Security

Posted on: April 28, 2016

Authored by: Lindsay Thompson
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: April 28, 2016

 

Minister of Labour and National Insurance, and Minister of the Public Service, the Hon. Shane Gibson, delivering the Keynote Address at the opening of The 27th CARICOM Heads of Social Security Meeting at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Wednesday, April 27, 2016.  (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Countries within the region are strategizing ways to ensure sustainability of their respective social security schemes.  Minister of Labour and National Insurance, and Minister of the Public Service, the Hon. Shane Gibson, said Wednesday that he was happy the agenda of the 27th CARICOM Heads of Social Security Meeting would focus on advancing social security in the Caribbean.  Minister Gibson was delivering the keynote address at the forum, which takes place April 27-29 at Atlantis, Paradise Island.

Participating Countries, including The Bahamas, are Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, The British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Christopher & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

The meeting also takes into account the global trends in social security and how these fit within the region, and at a national level.

“Caribbean nations must find their own unique method to adopt the innovative strategies in management and administration that help to improve communications with stakeholders and citizen engagement, expand benefits, improve compliance levels and strengthen their governance structures; all while ensuring the sustainability of their national insurance funds,” the Minister said.

He shared that in The Bahamas, the National Insurance Fund has reserves of approximately $1.8 billion, and that NIB plays a critical role in the Bahamian economy.

“In fact, in many instances, NIB has invested in a number of infrastructural projects and private sector equity offerings as a means of stimulating economic activity and ultimately building our economy.”

One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aimed at building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation, speaks to the need for investment in infrastructure, including information and communication technology.

“This type of investment empowers communities and advances a digital agenda that will improve the ease with which citizens do business,” Mr. Gibson said.

In this vein, he shared with delegates that the NIB has reached a significant milestone in its history – the implementation of a state-of-the-art Insurance Administration System software, which will improve its services to the public.

And, by June of this year, the NIB will cause businesses to benefit from these modern facilities when the employer self-service portal is introduced.

Another measure Mr. Gibson shared is the introduction of the NIB Smart Card, which contains encrypted information for the insured, has other security features to prevent fraud, and is the gateway to the government’s proposed National Health Insurance plan.

He said however, that the NIB new policies do not allow for undocumented migrants in this case, CARICOM nationals, to be registered as insured people. Consequently, they will not be able to obtain a smart card.

In this vein, contributions of those CARICOM nationals who fall into this category will be available to be pooled in support of their benefit claims in their home country under the CARICOM Reciprocal Agreement on Social Security.

“We are pleased that efforts are being made by CARICOM to engage with Haiti with a view to Haiti signing onto the Reciprocal arrangements,” Mr. Gibson said.

He said he is looking forward to the discussion on the accession of the CARICOM Agreement on Social Security in respect of Haiti and Suriname and Associate Member States and the outcome, during the meeting.

The 27th CARICOM Heads of Social Security Meeting came on the heels of the Meeting of the Inter-American Conference on Social Security (CAOSA) held April 24 to 27, 2016, which was opened by the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister, at Atlantis.

 

The National Insurance Board hosts the 27th CARICOM Heads of Social Security Meeting at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, April 27 to 29, 2016. Minister of Labour and National Insurance, and Minister of the Public Service, the Hon. Shane Gibson, pictured centre, delivered the Keynote Address.  Also pictured among the delegates are: Rowena Bethel, Director, NIB; Renae McKay, Chairperson, NIB; Salas Hamilton, Communication Specialist, CARICOM Secretariat CSME Unit; Ariel Pino, Senior Specialist for Social Protection & Occupational Safety and Health, ILO, Port of Spain; Omar de la Torre de la Mora, Secretary General of the Inter-American Conference on Social Security (CISS) and Phaedra Mackey-Knowles, Deputy Director, Investments, NIB.  (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

All News

Ministry of Health Press Release – Ebola Remains Unlikely

Authored by: Ministry of Health Source: Ministry of Health Date: March 28, 2016   The Ministry of Health and its agencies including the Public Hospitals Authority, Department of Public Health and the Pan American Health Organization in an update this morning maintains that a suspected case of Ebola at the Princess Margret Hospital is unlikely….

Ministry of foreign affairs press statement on allegations regarding the nationality of the belgium bombing suspect

NASSAU, Bahamas, 24 March, 2016 — The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas expresses its prayers and sympathy to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Belgium over the tragic loss of life, injury and destruction during the recent terrorist attacks. The Government reaffirms its commitment to the fight against terrorism in all…

Statement on the Belgium Bombings

The Bahamas stands with the people of Belgium today in the face of another act of terror that demonstrates the all too real radicalization of extremist views in modern life. We pledge to continue to work together with the world community to stop these atrocities. We offer our condolences and sympathy to the Government and…

CG attends reception for csw 60 delegates

NEW YORK — Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, attended a reception hosted by H.E. Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS), on Friday, March 18, 2016, at Alibaba Restaurant, 862 Second Avenue, for Bahamian delegates attending the sixtieth session of the…

Rahming and Mexican envoy

NEW YORK  H.E. Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez-Camacho, newly appointed Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, on Friday, March 18, 2016, paid a courtesy call on H.E. Ambassador Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Permanent Representative to the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS). The two envoys discussed areas of common interest and concern, including…