November 26, 2007
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Joseph Parry addressed the Public Presentation of the 8th Actuarial Report from the Reform Committee of the Social Security department of St. Kitts- Nevis on Friday, November 23rd at the Four Seasons Resort.
At the beginning of his address, Premier Parry gave a brief historical overview of the St.Kitts”“Nevis Social Security board. “The Social Security board started some 30 years ago and I was the first manager of the Social Security department in Nevis. I can tell you that many people were not in tuned to Social Security at first. In Nevis, it was very hard to get people to be part of Social Security and put into the scheme early on, but today Social Security has grown tremendously. Today the St.Kitts-Nevis Social Security contribution fund is worth EC$800 million and it is one of the best funded Social Security systems in the Caribbean.”
On recounting the obvious foresight of his Party, Mr. Parry discussed how the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) led Nevis Island Administration (NIA) had advocated a Health Care scheme during their campaign. Mr. Parry further stated that now that the NRP is seated in government, plans are underway to execute their campaign promise to the people of Nevis for a better health care system.
The Premier informed the audience that the Deputy Premier, Hon. Hensley Daniel, recently travelled to the United States with the Nevis Surgeon Specialist, Dr. Cardell Rawlins, and the Permanent Secretary of Health- Mrs. Joslyn Liburd. There they held discussions with Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida. ‘The Health scheme would be put into effect to help Nevisians get quality health care at reasonable costs. We are making these initiatives basically because there has been too much talk and not enough action for health care in Nevis,’ he said. Mr. Parry advised the Social Security Reform Committee to consider the possibility of having St. Kitts being a part of the Health scheme in an effort to make the whole venture ‘cheaper for us all”.
During his presentation, the Premier outlined factors that would affect Social Security in Nevis. He explained that as life expectancy was now longer than it was in the past, people would need the social security assistance for a longer time than was originally expected.
When Premier Parry spoke about Nevis needing more representation on the Social Security board beside the lone representative they have now, the crowd gave a thunderous applause!
“I have some concern as to why there is only one representative from Nevis on the board. As far as I know Nevis contributes more than 20% to Social Security and Nevis must have put in more than EC$200 million of that EC$800 million fund. I make that statement as I do because if you are from Nevis but live in St. Kitts and have been put on that board by the government of St. Kitts you are not representing Nevis. We would like to see a Nevisian or Kittian living in Nevis representing for the people of Nevis.”
Mr. Parry said that many changes will be taking place in Nevis, not only economically, but politically, as Nevis will be seeking greater autonomy. Therefore, it will be important for the Social Security Board Reform Committee to look at the impact that this will have on the island of Nevis.