Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Pity the poor pensioner

Published:Saturday | September 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The plight of NIS pensioners who have received no upgrade on their fortnightly allocations for several years was the subject of a plea for an urgent increase by Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips at the PNP's recently held annual conference. Dr Phillips pointed to the extent of national service offered by the pensioners, who suffer from inadequacy in pension allocations, while encountering a similarity in rising utility costs, transportation, health, and food prices.

Following upon the heels of this plea came headlines in your publication of Thursday, September 21, instant, 'Plagued by poverty', which itself highlighted the plight of many of the less fortunate across the island, including, no doubt, some NIS pensioners.

It is pitiful to see an elderly NIS pensioner laboriously counting out and allocating meagre portions of a fortnightly receipt to utility bills and then haltingly move to the next window in the same building to effect utility payments.


I have been witness to a pensioner, after having made payments upon utility bills, proceed to the street corner with outstretched hands soliciting 'bus fare' as an alternative to making the trek home in the sweltering sunlight, perhaps even on an empty stomach.

Yes, NIS pensioners, after years of dutiful service to the nation, face the same levels of cost of living but with little or no strength in their circumstances to structure meaningful improvements. They deserve immediate attention from the minister of finance or the minister of social security. Their plight is grim! Their silent cries rustle the dust in dry, open spaces, where deaf ears retreat as the poverty abounds and prosperity lingers.


Kingston 19