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Cabinet has approved a proposed amendment to Section 9 of the Retiring Allowances Legislative Act, to facilitate payment of a pension to Parliamentarians, who opt out of the pension scheme for civil servants, by requesting and securing contribution refunds.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, on November 5, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Dwight Nelson, informed that the Act, currently stipulates that legislators serve two consecutive terms in Parliament, or a minimum of eight years, in order to be eligible for a pension.
“What we have found is that, some legislators, after the end of the first term, with no apparent intention of serving a second term, requested refunds of their contributions. It turned out later on, that they did, in fact, serve a second term, but given the break and the refund of the contributions, they would not become eligible, under the (existing) regulations, for a pension, irrespective of the fact that he or she would have served two terms, or the minimum of eight years.and some have fallen on hard times,” he said.
“So, the Government has decided that, in order to address their needs, we would amend the legislation, to allow them to refund the contributions, which were given back to them, and as such, make them eligible for a pension,” Senator Nelson outlined.
The Minister said that the proposed revision has gone through the requisite “processes,” resulting in Cabinet’s approval, and that the amended legislation, “will now be laid on the table in Parliament.”
Senator Nelson further advised that the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), is “fully in support of this amendment.”