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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The St. Lucia Civil Service Association has received a number of enquiries from members who have expressed their concerns about a letter circulating on social media purporting to represent a request from the Ministry of Finance to the National Insurance Corporation for a bridging loan of between M$70 to M$100 EC dollars.
According to the letter this request is to finance the payment of Government bonds which matures on or about July 31, 2018 on the RGSM.
The letter went on to suggest that repayment of the facility would be made at 3% interest by October 23, 2018 given Government’s intention to re-issue the bonds between July 31 and August 2, 2018.
The CSA is concerned that copies of this letter circulating in the public domain reflects a lack of confidentiality required for matters of this nature.
While it may be easy to point fingers at public officers for this breach, there are other ways in which information finds itself the public domain including the possibility that this correspondence is being shared by disgruntled persons within or close to the Cabinet of Ministers or through hacking of the government systems by persons who have gained access through whatever means.
A third possibility is that Government is leaking its own information either to test the mood of the population or to gain a political advantage through public sympathy. Suffice it to say it is not fair to blame public officers anytime there is a breach of confidentiality.
Additionally, and even more disconcerting is the manner in which funds placed in the trust of the NIC by the workers and employers of this country can be made available to bail out the Government, who appear to have been unprepared to meet its obligations. Furthermore, the repayment of this loan is based on a proposal to re-issue bonds which in itself may be risky.
Notwithstanding, the pronouncements of Government Ministers who are suggesting otherwise, the CSA is of the view that speculative nature of the bond market poses a risk to the pension fund of workers of the country.
CSA therefore calls on the NIC Board to exercise the necessary diligence in coming to its decision and to consider the interest of the workers of this Country before political and personal considerations.
The board has a duty to safeguard our pension and other corresponding benefits of workers and must not fail in its duty to so do.