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Jun 18, 2019

“How the U.D.P. Can Leverage S.S.B.’s Sustainability to Gain Political Advantage”

A three-page memo explaining “How the U.D.P. can leverage S.S.B.’s sustainability to gain political advantage” does exist. The document, written by Chief Executive Officer, Doctor Colin Young, with the support of the Social Security Board, was brought to the public’s attention on Monday by the People’s United Party.  In a release, the P.U.P. expressed its shock in what it described as “outright political hijacking of an organization built by and sustained on the backs of the hard-working Belizean people.” The P.U.P. goes further to claim that the Barrow administration “sees the S.S.B. as a convenient cash cow.”  Doctor Young is accused of attempting to spin the contribution and pension reform scheme to gain political mileage whenever elections are called. Young, however, says that nothing could be further from the truth. According to the C.E.O., the memo was written to convince Cabinet that the political blowback of such a decision can be mitigated and not necessarily taken advantage of. In fact, according to Doctor Young, convincing the Prime Minister to support such contributions reform proved difficult.

 

Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, C.E.O., S.S.B.

“While the administration understood the financial situation of the Fund, they were also very concerned about the political implications. This is a political decision to raise contributions and they were worried of that that would mean in terms of their political capital. I came back and I sensitize the Board and I felt as the C.E.O. that I had to address the political side of a political decision to the government. I had a hard time in convincing the Prime Minister. And so what I did is that I pointed out to the Prime Minister is that yes you will have some impacts to this but the right thing to do, despite the political fallout that would come from this, is to do what it takes to safeguard S.S.B.  That is what occurred. There was no sinister motive here. In addition, to this memo I worked and I lobbied the individual ministers so when this paper went up to Cabinet to make a decision about whether they are going to support the position that was agreed between the S.S.B. and the social partners that there would be the political support for this decision. I met with the majority of Cabinet, one on one, to explain to them not only the actuarial support but also the process that we went through to engage the partners. At the end of the day however when you are talking to the political directorate it is a political decision.I felt obliged to point out to the government that if you do nothing meaning if you do not agree with the position taken by the social partners and the S.S.B. that there will be political implications for that and that if you did something there will also be political implications for doing that. But because it is the right thing then you can say as the administration that you took the bull by the horn and made a difficult decision that was  perhaps not in the clearly interest of the U.D.P. administration but certainly in the best interest of the fund.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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