Thursday, October 14, 2021
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Davis administration will allow retired civil servants who are reengaged by the government to simultaneously receive their salary and their pension, a shift in policy from the Minnis administration.
A memorandum seen by The Tribune says Cabinet has “agreed that the present policy position which does not allow reengaged public officers to retain their pension entitlements be rescinded.”
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis criticised the Davis administration’s policy shift yesterday, saying it represents a return to the fiscally imprudent “double dipping” policy that his administration stopped.
Dr Minnis also said the new administration is bringing back three senior retired civil servants. He challenged the administration to say whether the men will receive a higher salary than what they got when they initially left the service. He said the policy of his administration was that re-engaged retirees would not receive more money than what they made when they initially left the service.
Asked for a response, Fred Mitchell, minister of foreign affairs and public service, said yesterday: “The government’s advice is that someone’s pension is earned and you cannot lawfully deny them the pension. If you bring someone back, you seek to pay them what they are worth and what they agree to. The snipes from the sidelines by the former prime minister do not justify the pay which he gave the chosen few in the face of and contrary to his own policies. He is not credible.”
Mr Mitchell noted that the administration’s policy on the matter is the same as it was during previous Progressive Liberal Party administrations.
“…It was not we who reversed course,” Mr Mitchell said.
Dr Minnis said the policy change is a “slap in the face” to younger people currently in the system.
He said: “There are people in the system now who can do the jobs, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries and undersecretaries. Is this a salt on the young population?”
Dr Minnis said the new administration is bringing back former Permanent Secretaries Luther Smith, Colin Higgs and Crestwell Sturrup.
The new administration changed its policy, he claimed, “to facilitate their old cronies”.
Former Public Service and NIB Minister Brensil Rolle announced in 2017 that retired civil servants who are re-engaged will have their pensions stopped in order to “unclog” the public sector.
He said this was the policy of the last Ingraham administration.
“For example,” he said at the time, “if your pension is $50,000 and the position that we’re offering is $70,000, we’ll pay you the difference as opposed to someone getting a salary and a pension.
“The primary reason why we are doing that is to not only add some structure to the public service but to make sure those persons who are talented in the service would get an opportunity to be promoted.”
The memo seen by The Tribune yesterday also said that Cabinet agreed that all serving statutory board and committee members be invited to resign and that Cabinet ministers be invited to provide recommendations for who should populate the committees.