COI re­port rec­om­men­da­tions on re­tire­ment age have been ig­nored

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Dear Edi­tor, The writer could not help be­ing self-con­scious of the ex­cep­tion­ally se­nior age at which he func­tioned as an Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor in the sugar in­dus­try – the coun­try’s largest em­ployer, and of feel­ing lucky as not to be so buf­feted as the newly ap­pointed Chair­man of GECOM. But then the for­mer had a recog­nis­able per­for­mance record in his field of spe­cial­i­sa­tion – not un­like many who have sur­vived to be re­spected se­niors in their re­spec­tive com­pe­tency ar­eas, but who have been over­looked, with pref­er­ence be­ing given to se­lected new­com­ers to crit­i­cal lev­els of de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

What has be­come an es­tab­lished prac­tice that al­lows for the ac­com­mo­da­tion of par­venus into the pub­lic ser­vice sys­tem for ex­am­ple, is use of the con­tract mech­a­nism, in some cases for in­ter­minable pe­ri­ods.

It is against this back­ground that one won­ders about the ex­plicit re­luc­tance, both of past and cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tions, to raise the re­tire­ment age in the pub­lic ser­vice from the 55 years es­tab­lished in the colo­nial era.

In this con­nec­tion the 2016 COI Re­port on the Pub­lic Ser­vice of Guyana drew at­ten­tion to the fol­low­ing, which is tab­u­larised for con­ve­nience:

Of com­par­a­tive in­ter­est, the for­mer Cana­dian owned Baux­ite (Rusal) and Elec­tric­ity (GPL) com­pa­nies still man­age a re­tire­ment age of 65 years.

At para 315 the Re­port com­mented as fol­lows:

“315 The higher re­tire­ment age of 65 years would pro­vide for higher pen­sions un­der the Pen­sion Act for pub­lic of­fi­cers who would also con­tinue to con­trib­ute to the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme (NIS) un­til the age of 60 years when NIS pen­sions would be paid. This would fur­ther in­crease the fi­nances of the NIS Scheme by the ex­tended con­tri­bu­tions from the em­ployer and the em­ploy­ees for an ad­di­tional pe­riod of five years, thus con­tribut­ing to the con­tin­u­ing vi­a­bil­ity of the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme. We are con­vinced that a higher re­tire­ment age for the Pub­lic Ser­vants would be mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial to the State, the pub­lic em­ploy­ees, and the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme.” (Note: The Re­port ad­verted to the fact that there is no stip­u­lated re­tire­ment age for our Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and Min­is­ters.)

Accordingly the Rec­om­men­da­tions: “64. That the re­tire­ment age for new en­trants into the Pub­lic Ser­vice, and those cur­rently in the Pub­lic Ser­vice who are be­low 50 years of age, be re­tired on at­tain­ing 65 years of age, with the op­tion of re­tir­ing on at­tain­ing 60 years; 65.That pen­sion en­ti­tle­ments be cal­cu­lated at a max­i­mum of 43 and one-third ser­vice years; Re­port made the fol­low­ing

66.That pub­lic ser­vants who are cur­rently be­low 55 years of age, be al­lowed the op­tion to re­tire on at­tain­ing 60 years or any time be­fore 65 or on at­tain­ing 65 years of age;

67.That no per­son re­tir­ing from the Pub­lic Ser­vice be­fore at­tain­ing the age of 65 years should be em­ployed on con­tract in an es­tab­lished Pub­lic Ser­vice po­si­tion;

68.That the Pen­sions Act Chap­ter 27:02 be amended as may be re­quired to pro­vide for higher pen­sions as a re­sult of the higher re­tire­ment age.” More than two years af­ter, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the above does not ap­pear to have at­tracted any at­ten­tion.

In any case ‘gra­tu­ity’ has be­come much more de­sir­able than ‘pen­sion’. Yours faith­fully, E.B. John

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