Grenada govt faces challenge on pensions

St Georges – Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says government will soon appoint a committee to review the impact of the High Court ruling last month that could result in it having to pay a significant amount of money to public servants who were disqualified from receiving a pension following the enforcement of the Pension Disqualification Act in 1983.

In addition, Mitchell said that the committee will be making recommendations on the best working solution to the financial challenge that has arisen because of the judgement.

“We are confident that we will find a solution that will satisfy the workers and the people of Grenada. I want to make this pledge here tonight, I declare to you that through visionary and mature leadership and through dialogue and reasonableness we will fix this pension issue,” Mitchell told a public meeting of his ruling New National Party (NNP) on Sunday.

He told supporters that his government would not be appealing the judgment but will be seeking a solution to pay out what is estimated to be more than one billion EC dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in payment from the Consolidated Fund.

On March 29, the High Court ruled that the Pension Disqualification Act, which was originally approved during the reign of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Government (PEG) of then prime minister Maurice Bishop, and then validated by the Validation Act of 1985, was unconstitutional.

The pension issue surfaced with the collapse of the 1979-83 PRG, which during its term in office, had established the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and replacing the pension scheme for public servants that had been enshrined in the Grenada Constitution.

But the High Court ruling has restored the original pension scheme to public sector workers.

“Don’t give yourself no headache, we have the people here to solve the problem. We have good people with us, we have people who understand the labour movement and the worker’s interest,” Mitchell told the meeting, identifying, Labour Minister Peter David and retired trade unionist Chester Humphrey, who currently serves as President of the Senate, as among those who will provide a solution to the government on the matter.

“We have people like brother Chester Humphrey who worked his entire life with the labour movement and is on board with us to help solve this problem, so don’t worry at all,” said Prime Minister Mitchell.

In a recent virtual meeting with members of the Social Partners Committee, the Prime Minister underscored the significance of the pension ruling, said that it is not only for public officers but for all Grenadians who will have to contribute to any fiscal measures that may become necessary to allow the state to fund pension pay-outs. (CMC)

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