Tue | Dec 7, 2021

Inequality a major cause of strife – Campbell

Published:Tuesday | February 26, 2019 | 12:05 AM
Past president of the Rotary Club of Kingston Francois St Juste (left) welcomes Courtney Campbell (right), president and CEO, Victoria Mutual Group, to the recent Rotary Club of Kingston’s luncheon meeting. Looking on are Rotarians Neville Henry (partially hidden background left) and  Andre Gooden.
Past president of the Rotary Club of Kingston Francois St Juste (left) welcomes Courtney Campbell (right), president and CEO, Victoria Mutual Group, to the recent Rotary Club of Kingston’s luncheon meeting. Looking on are Rotarians Neville Henry (partially hidden background left) and Andre Gooden.

President and CEO of Victoria Mutual Group, Courtney Campbell has said that one of the major causes of strife and lack of peace in Jamaica is inequality. According to Campbell, research has shown that Jamaica is one of the most unequal societies in the world.

“The correlation between that fact and the unfortunate reality that we are constantly numbered among the most violent nations in the world is clear. The matter of crime is complicated and … when persons are made to feel ‘less than’ the result is strife and conflict,” he noted.

On the other hand, Campbell said a more equal society tends to improve social conditions and is a more hospitable environment for sustainable economic growth. “So by reducing inequality, we are improving lives,” he noted.

Campbell was speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel recently. Campbell said that his organisation was founded by a group of clergymen over 140 years ago to reduce inequality and to help hard-working Jamaicans own homes and improve their personal economic realities.

He said that that mission remained at the core of his organisation, with focus on five main areas. Among them is pension protection.

According to Campbell, Jamaica is at risk of an old-age poverty crisis if there isn’t a significant increase in the membership of pension plans.

“With increasing life expectancy and the reliance of older Jamaicans on those in the workforce, (the dependency rate) projected to double by 2050, the situation is serious,” he lamented.

He quoted excerpts from the Financial Services Commission’s end-of-September 2018 quarterly report suggesting that those being employed are not necessarily enrolling in a pension scheme.

The FSC report went on to say: “Pension coverage in Jamaica now stands at 9.45 per cent of the employed labour force as a result of no growth in plan membership, coupled with an increase in the employed labour force as at July 31, 2017”.

Campbell also noted that only 46 per cent of the Jamaican workforce is contributing to the NIS, which pays benefits after age 65.

“Our work through VM Pensions aims to level the playing field so that there can be greater parity among Jamaicans – no matter their background – when they retire,” he said.

In response, the Victoria Mutual Group would be relaunching its Approved Retirement Scheme later this year.