JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Sixty-five year old Vivienne Castro, a former employee of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), is the epitome of dedicated and faithful service to country and her fellow man.
  • During her 42 years at the NIS, she often went beyond the call of duty to ensure that persons contributed towards a pension or other benefit for themselves and their families.
  • Retired since 2012 , she continues to serve, visiting the NIS office a few times each week to assist those who are unable to visit the facility, especially the elderly.

Sixty-five year old Vivienne Castro, a former employee of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), is the epitome of dedicated and faithful service to country and her fellow man.

During her 42 years at the NIS, she often went beyond the call of duty to ensure that persons contributed towards a pension or other benefit for themselves and their families.

Retired since 2012 , she continues to serve, visiting the NIS office a few times each  week to assist those who are unable to visit the facility, especially the elderly. She even drives around with forms in her car for those she may meet who are in need of benefits from the scheme.

“I have gone to get the application, go to the office and look about their pension and when it is approved I go to the office, take their cheques, pension books and take it to them. These are elderly people… sometimes it is outside of my work scope, sometimes I do it even on Saturdays,” she tells JIS News.

On October 20, Mrs. Castro will be honoured with the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful service, at the National Heroes Day at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony to be held at King’s House,

Born in the small rural community of Macka Tree, St. Catherine on March 13, 1949, Vivienne Patricia James Castro, says she always dreamed of working in the public sector and giving back to her country.

Fresh out of high school, she jumped at the first opportunity to work with the government in 1968 as a steno typist at the Board of Supervision, which was set up to offer aid to the poor.

She was later transferred to the NIS, where she worked for 42 years, 30 of which were spent as an inspector, working diligently to ensure that both employers and employees adhered to the regulations of the scheme.

“I would ensure that the business places in my assigned area were registered so that they could pay over the deductions taken from their employees and I ensured that the employees were registered and had their NIS number,” she tells JIS News.

She says she has seen the results of her perseverance because now some of the employers and employees she encouraged are now retired and are receiving pension.

Lisa Campbell, a young widow and one of the many persons that Mrs. Castro has assisted during her years at the NIS, says the honouree has been very involved in her life since the first day they met 10 years ago.

When Ms. Campbell’s daughter was just eight years old, her common law husband died, and desperately in need of financial support, she turned to the NIS where she met the helpful Mrs. Castro, who assisted her with processing for the widow’s pension. Ms. Campbell says they have formed a bond, which has been unbreakable.

“At the time, my daughter was in primary school and Mrs. Castro encouraged me to save some of the pension money for when she reached high school. I did that and my daughter went through high school and now she is in her first year at the University of the West Indies (UWI) studying medicine,” says a grateful Ms. Campbell

Long time friend and former colleague, Elvena Reittie, who has known Mrs. Castro for over 40 years, also testifies of the depth of character her friend possesses.

“She is very committed to her work…and deserves the award for which she has been nominated,” Mrs. Reittie says.

Mrs. Castro says that she is happy that she was able to make a meaningful contribution to her country and that her many years of service to the NIS has been recognized. She vows to continue rendering assistance to those in need.

“All these years I have been helping people, it is in my DNA…and I will do it until I can do it no longer,” stresses Mrs. Castro.