Open letter to Chairman of the NIC Isaac Anthony

By Andrew Antoine

Isaac Anthony

Below is an open letter written by longtime NIC contributor Andrew Antoine to Isaac Anthony, Chairman, National Insurance Corporation Board.

TO: ISAAC ANTHONY – CHAIRMAN – NATIONAL INSURANCE CORPORATION BOARD

FROM: ANDREW ANTOINE

23rd July, 2018

Andrew Antoine
P.O. Box CP5509
Castries

Mr. Isaac Anthony
Chairman
National Insurance Corporation Board
Francis Compton Building
Castries Waterfront

Dear Mr. Anthony,

According to a copy of a letter dated 3rd July, 2018, which was leaked to the host of “Can I Help You”, Richard Frederick, the Director of Finance, Cointha Thomas, requested that the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) make a loan of EC$70m to EC$100m available to the Government of Saint Lucia.

That money, Miss Thomas explained, would be used to discharge the government’s obligations to holders of government bonds maturing between 30th July, 2018 and 31st July, 2018. In her letter, Miss Thomas also ‘directed’ the Corporation to deposit the loan amount into account number 310702002. The letter was addressed to a director of the NIC, Mr. Matthew L. Mathurin.

(My interest in this stems from the fact that I have made contributions to the NIS/NIC for more than thirty years.)

Mr. Anthony, on the basis that the above-mentioned letter is not a ‘fake’, and while I fully appreciate that the NIC has the authority to ‘invest’ funds which it holds in trust for its paying and paid-up pensioners, several things about the letter bother me. Here, therefore, are some questions/concerns that I have:

* Why is the above letter written by the Director of Finance and not the Prime Minister or the Minister for Finance in the Office of the Prime Minister? Is this normal?

* Why is the said letter addressed to one of the NIC directors, Mr. Matthew L. Mathurin, and not the chairperson?

* Do you know whether identical letters were written to other members of the board?

* Given this government’s, and especially the Prime Minister’s, dismal record to date in handling Saint Lucia’s finances, I am deeply disturbed that the NIC may be giving, or has already given, favourable consideration to Miss Thomas’s request.

May I remind you, Mr. Anthony, that the NIC Board and the NIC are supposed to act as the custodians for our public pension and insurance funds? The conduct of the Prime Minister in managing Saint Lucia’s finances has convinced me that neither he nor the Minister for Finance in the Office of the Prime Minister has a single clue, or is qualified, in that regard. Further, it doesn’t appear that the Prime Minister takes any advice from his technocrats in addressing or dealing with such issues for which he has absolutely no expertise.

A bit of caution here, Mr. Anthony. The eyes of the general public are as much on the Prime Minister as they are on you and your Board in this matter. Failure on your part to exercise the kind of prudence required here will leave pensioners with no choice but to hold you and the NIC Board just as responsible as the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister may not think much about accountability in government, but the people of this country do. Be advised!

Yours Sincerely

________________________
Andrew Antoine

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

8 comments

  1. The way out of this impasse is simple. NIC should purchase all the maturing bonds, and collect the full benefits for subscribers at the next maturity date. The proposed Hotei tax of 25% should be available then, to retire it. Martin Elliott, Chairman, Carribbean Computer Literacy Institute. [email protected]

    (0)(0)
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  3. If the fund becomes insolvent, then there is a crisis. But as long as there is organized government instead of a kleptocracy, this is very unlikely to happen. Or, you will see another Venezuela in the making.

    (0)(0)
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  5. Bullshit talks.

    (1)(1)
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  7. Vaughn A R Blanchard

    I wrote this somewhere else. All of a sudden, everyone is an armchair Actuary. Members of the NIC Board and Investment Committee receive adequate training to make sound decisions. NIC is not a savings account for individuals. You may have contributed for fifty years, and you are your beneficiary may never get out what you put in, because it is a fund. I support the comments made by Anonymous#1. You have a good grasp of the workings of actuarial science.

    (1)(0)
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  9. Anyone making any pretense at addressing national insurance risk, without any reference to actuarial studies for Saint Lucia is at best, a complete jackass or at worst, just another moron. Everywhere around the world, there are variations on the basic model of social security protection, by way of deductions from the salaries of workers. Then there are non-contributory beneficiaries especially for the working poor.

    Some people do not even live long enough to see gain benefits from their forced contributions. If properly instituted, some spouses may benefit.

    The threat to a national system is not created by the lending of what technically are surplus funds, but on the volume of legitimate claims being made on the system. That too becomes a concern, if people have legitimate claims and the lifespan or national longevity increases because of the generally improved state of health of adults. That becomes obvious if the population age cohort at the top of the population pyramid grows significantly larger, as people begin to live longer.

    In any case, our bozos do not at all seem to understand the issue of the time value of money. Saint Lucian's deep ignorance of basic financial matters is deep. Goes very deep. Is abysmal even!

    The so-called elite's claim on being forward-looking, progressive and developmental is tenuous at best.

    There is a standing NIC policy to allocate a percentage of funds for lending locally. If that is too high, then attack this. If that is politically abused going the way of the past spendthrift SLP say so too.

    But there is sound money management and unsound money management. NIC has to find a relatively safe place to park the money collected from individuals, to protect its value from natural inflation or the creeping increase in the general price level which occurs naturally everywhere.

    Unless Saint Lucia is taken over by Putin, as one so-called great democracy now is, our government is the safest institution to lend money to, and then in turn, receive interest to keep even the nominal value of the money borrowed by the government. Once it is time for repayment, most governments just recycle this debt by issuing another series of government bonds to cover the scheduled repayments. The sky is not falling.

    In terms of debt management, debt denominated in local currency does not affect the country's debt profile and attract the same degree of negative criticism as the debt denominated in foreign currency. It is more manageable. You can be contributing for three or thirty years. It makes no difference. Therefore, all those political and hysterical references to the sky is falling is just solemn nonsense.

    The major issue of concern is always whether or not the base or working population numerically and its contributions are shrinking in relation to the outflow of funds to service the obligations to the various classes of qualified retirees.

    (4)(0)
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  11. antoine is yet another labour party operative ..labour using all tricks in the book to bring down the government

    (3)(1)
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  13. I am in total agreement with mr. antoine's letter. That money belongs to all nic contributors not the government rainy day piggy bank

    (6)(5)
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  15. I am in total agreement with Mr. Issac Anthony. It is time we start holding people accountable for their actions. Especially when their decisions will directly impact NIC contributors with regard to their pensions.

    (6)(4)

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