JIS News

The House of Representatives has approved the Pensions Amendments Act 2003, the Pensions (Teachers) (Amendment) Act 2003 and the Pensions (Parochial Officers) (Amendment) Act 2003, to provide for the payment of pensions and gratuities due to the dependents of public officers, teachers and parochial officers in line with those payments applicable to other public employees.
The provisions are to be made retroactive to July 1, 1974, which is the effective date for similar awards to other categories of public employees.
State Minister for Finance and Planning, Fitz Jackson, who piloted the amendments in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct. 21) in the absence of Dr. Omar Davies, explained that currently, no enhanced gratuity was payable to the dependents of public officials, parochial officers and teachers, who die as a result of injuries or disease attributable to their duties, and a decision was taken to maintain parity in the retirement benefits of all categories of public employees.
Though supporting the amendments, Opposition Spokesman on Finance and Public Service, Audley Shaw, questioned the financial implications of the move.
Mr. Jackson assured that the stress on the national budget would be minimal as the number of persons who died during the course of performing their duties was very small, amounting to approximately 25 persons.
In response to concerns raised by Opposition Spokesman on Labour, Rudyard Spencer, about the management of pension funds, Mr. Jackson indicated that the Bill providing the regulations governing the improved management of pensions was to go to Cabinet on Thursday, October 23.
“That Bill will be before the Cabinet Legislative Sub-Committee”, Minister Jackson informed, pointing out that it provided for registration and certification of pension fund managers and administrators, and sought to ensure the security of private sector-managed pension funds.

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