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Grenada PM Dickon Mitchell urges pensioners to spend retirement funds wisely

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell is urging public sector retirees, who began receiving delayed gratuity and pension payments to spend the money wisely.

“We are happy to make good on this promise, we are happy that those who have been in the rain can finally have a raincoat or an umbrella over them. We are happy that they can now get their pension to spend,” Mitchell told a post cabinet news conference, where a symbolic cheque was handed over to a 2004 retiree.

“I want to encourage all of you to please use the most to invest if you can, treat it as a pension…don’t spend all immediately because you have to be able to live off the pension as long as you are alive and we all know as you get older, health issues then crop up and you become more vulnerable,” said Mitchell, who is also the finance minister.

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On Tuesday, the government, which came into office following the June 23 general election, began making pension and gratuity payments to retirees ahead of the November 30, deadline.

“As of…November 15, 2022, the first tranche of payments was made to over 300 retirees, in the amount of EC$44.1 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents),” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

It said the payment of these long overdue benefits symbolizes the “Government’s dedication to its transformation agenda that seeks to empower its people, make good on commitments to citizens and be transparent in its governance of the country”.

In February 1985, the then government successfully tabled the Pension Disqualification Act disqualifying all established public officers from receiving a state pension. The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) became the sole state agency responsible for the payment of pensions.

However, years later, the legislation was challenged in the courts on constitutional grounds, and in March this year, the High Court ruled that the Pension Disqualification Act was indeed unconstitutional, resulting in the reinstatement of pension and gratuity payments to all retired established public officers.

The last government had established a committee to review the impact of a high court ruling but the new Mitchell government had promised during the general election campaign that payment of the pension and gratuity would be among its priorities.

Prime Minister Mitchell described the payment which will increase to EC$75 million by November 30 as the biggest transfer of wealth to citizens from the state.

CMC

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