The Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) fraction in the Island Council has requested an Island Council meeting to be held Tuesday, April 18. The meeting is to discuss the recent 3.5 per cent reduction in the gross pension premium which was introduced on April 1, and the twelve per cent reduction which is planned for April 1, 2018.
It is the opinion of WIPM that these reductions, if followed through, will be particularly detrimental to the pensioners who are no longer able to increase their earning power. The decision will also have a negative impact on the socio-economic development of the island, WIPM said Wednesday in a statement.
“The WIPM Party is vehemently against any reduction in the pension. Since 10-10-10 we have been fighting to ensure that there is fair standard of living for the people of Saba. Study after study has shown that the cost of living has increased significantly since the transition. The Spies Report highlighted that measures have to be taken to fight poverty and improve living standards.
This reduction goes against the outcomes of these reports and even the response of the Dutch Government to the Spies Report, where they agreed to take additional measures to improve the socio-economic conditions, particularly of the low-income groups on the island,” the WIPM fraction members stated. “These reductions can be avoided if the Dutch Government acknowledges that mistakes were made when calculating the initial capitalization required to set up the [Pension Fund Caribbean Netherlands – Ed.] PCN. Since then, regulatory requirements by the Dutch Central Bank have reduced the available reserves of the pension fund. The PCN needs the funds that are owed to it so that it can provide the pension to the persons who paid into it now and into the future, and just as important, in the amount that the pensioners anticipate,” stated WIPM.
The Daily Herald.