Lament of a broke pensioner
The Editor, Sir:
This is an open letter to Dr Peter Phillips, minister of finance, and the Rev Ronald Thwaites, minister of education.
I worked with a department of government that falls under the Ministry of Education for more than 20 years and retired in 2012. I am sure that the department sent in all the pension papers in time, as I got a letter telling me how much pension I would get each month and how much my lump sum would be before I stopped working.
Because of that, the department started paying the monthly amount on time. The problem is with the lump sum. I got to understand that the department hasn't got any money to pay it. They tried to help by giving me 'little-little' to help out, but because I am getting it in pieces, it is just disappearing.
If I got it in one go, I could put it in the bank and get a little interest each month to help make up the pension which cannot stretch anymore, or I could use it to start a little business.
I find it hard that after I've worked so long for Government, I have had to suffer so much to get what is due to me. I believe that when the Government is going to pay the rest of the pension, it should pay with interest from the time I should have got it.
If I had received the funds when expected, the interest rate would have been about seven per cent, but now it is going to be three per cent or less. That is not fair. Dr Phillips and Rev Thwaites must make sure the people who work in Government can access all their pension when it is due.
The little that I get each month covers all my bills since October last year, although I have cut back on everything, including food, and as the value of the Jamaican dollar plunges, everything gets worse. Since everything has frozen, I guess the pensions have frozen, too. Only the Lord knows what poor people are going to do.
In Jamaica, if you don't get a placard and block a road, you cannot get what is rightfully yours. Well, if that is what Mr Phillips and Mr Thwaites want, it's coming soon.