Press Release from the Anguilla Social Security Board

By anguillian August 1, 2014 09:48



The Social Security Board will not be in the habit of redressing matters raised on the political platform. However on this occasion we have deemed the statements made by the former Minister of Social Security and former Minister of Finance, Mr. Victor Banks as being so appalling in his quest to regain political power that in the interest of the Contributors to the Social Security Fund who may be alarmed by statements raised at a political meeting in East End on Saturday, 19th July 2014 that we wish to set the record straight for our Contributors.

Mr. Banks stated that the Special Assistance Programme which was an initiative designed by the Social Security Board as an attempt to gain political mileage for the AUM. This statement was unfounded and clearly questioned the credibility and integrity of the Anguilla Social Security Board. It has not been the practice of the Social Security Board under my leadership as Chairman to use my office for political mileage of Government. Decisions made by the Board are made in the best interest of the Contributors and Anguilla as a whole. One may recall that the Special Assistance, Food Voucher Programme was started in December 2012 and ended in December 2013. It was a programme designed to specifically help persons in indisputable need and specifically children who we understood may have been exposed to particular hardship. The Programme ended in December 2013 because acting as a responsible Board we wanted to conduct an assessment of the program at that stage and then further approve a budget for that program which was completed and sent to the Minister of Finance for his approval which is a legislative requirement.

The suggestion of Mr Banks therefore that essentially the programme was only for political mileage is to dismiss the recognition of the Board of the circumstances of the indigent and those in desperate need and to fairly and comprehensively find a way to address it.

With respect to the statements by Mr Banks on the National Health Insurance programme in which he suggested that as a Board we failed to do the proper due diligence required, we deem the statements extremely irresponsible since professionals from across the Caribbean including an Actuary appointed to conduct the assessment completed several years’ studies and reports into the best system for Anguilla. The initiative criticized by Mr. Banks is only a pilot project with the plan to eventually roll out to all Anguilla a fully assessed and structured plan based on criteria set out by the Fund. What is so ironic is that the National Health fund was the same fund that Mr. Banks tried and failed to implement years ago.

It is disappointing that Mr Banks should be so critical on flawed bases of two initiatives that would so greatly enhance the lives of ordinary Anguillians – namely the Special Assistance Food Voucher Programme and the Notational Health Insurance Programme. Mr Banks should realise that the Anguilla Social Security Board has shifted focus to improving the quality of life for all and not a few. So instead of contributing to areas like Jazz Festival and other festivals benefiting private individuals where over a Million dollars were spent, the Board is seeking to improve the quality of life for all by instituting programs to benefit the masses. Based on the conditions for the Development Fund we balanced at this particular time in the economy the value to Anguillians of festival and private ventures as opposed to more structured social projects. The same Minister of Finance is questioning a social project of $2 million dollars that will be able to provide medical benefits for the elderly who would have contributed to the development of Anguilla over the years in some shape or form. By his own admission the Fund is not discriminatory because he and other critics stand to benefit.

The Board will be presenting a complete report to cover our stewardship during the period 2010 to 2014, but will include in that report, the period 2005 to 2010. This report when completed will be made public to ALL Anguillans.

We want to assure the people of Anguilla that decisions taken by this Board will NOT affect benefits due to contributors but will however seek to enhance the lives of all Citizens and will certainly positively consider those persons in our society who are considered at risk.

Please note that the Board is also reviewing other erroneous statements made about the Social Security Board during the Political Meeting held by the Anguilla United Front on July 19, 2014 with a view to determine course of action to be taken.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

By anguillian August 1, 2014 09:48


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