Categorized | National News

Pension Bill Overwhelmingly Supported

The government’s proposed legislation, the Employees’ Pension Fund Protection Bill, meant to give greater protection to employees’ benefits is receiving overwhelming support in the House of Assembly though some members did raise concerns about the legislation as debate got underway Monday.

Members on both sides of the political isle agree that while the Bill is not a guarantee scheme or insurance policy, it does put in place the proper regulatory framework that empowers workers to seek redress if the need arises.

Debate on the Employee Pension Protection Bill got underway amid an ongoing struggle with former City Markets’ employees still battling to receive their payments owed and pension.

A recently released forensic accounting report revealed that the company which shut down operations last April was unable to pay the $11 million owed to its employees due to a lack of liquidity.

In the House Monday Tall Pines Member of Parliament Leslie Miller praised the bill, but as it relates to the City Markets’ employees, he said the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“Nothing prevents us in this parliament from taking this bill back another 10 years,” he said. “We could make this bill retroactive if we so please, to cover those persons who are out there demonstrating to ensure that their appeal for justice is in fact dealt with.”

While the previous owners of the now defunct City Market have bickered among themselves over who is at fault and should be held accountable for the employees’ pension fund being depleted, Mr. Miller charged that both recent owners are at fault.

“That group that bought the company for the $1 had a $25 million debt placed on their heads,” he said. “All of the liabilities that that company was carrying including the employee pension fund, was a part of the $1 price tag that they paid for City Markets i.e. those persons that would have bought City Markets from Neil and Massey are still I believe responsible for the repayment of those debts that were taken out of the pension fund for those Bahamians.”

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis also contributed to Monday’s debate and noted that the previous administration is owed some of the credit for getting the landmark legislation to parliament.

While overall he is in favour of the bill, Dr. Minnis did raise some concerns about the government’s handling of this legislation.

“In order for this piece of legislation to come into effect, there must be regulations and no regulations have been tabled in this parliament and in fact, I conclude that no regulations have been drafted up. No regulations have been drafted up to date,” he said. “This is a significant difference between a Free National Movement (FNM) administration and this current Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook