Civil servants ‘will never pay pensions’


Anthony Newbold


Tribune Staff Reporter


PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold said he doubts the government could get the public sector’s 20,000 or so employees to contribute to their pensions, even though the country’s pension liability problem has been described as a ticking time bomb by some.

His comment came after he sought to debunk social media rumours that the government plans to take away pensions of people in the civil service, when in fact the government has released a request for proposals for consultants to provide a pension feasibility study as the government moves to implement a contributory pension scheme for new public sector hires.

Mr Newbold said: “The prime minister has said that pension bill the government has and all governments have had, been screaming about and nobody wants to touch it, is unsustainable so you get new hires and the idea is just like you contribute to your pension scheme at The Tribune or The Guardian, all new hires, the plan is for them to contribute to their pension schemes as well.”

Mr Newbold was asked why the scheme would only apply to new public sector hires.

He said: “Unfortunately and we both live here, I don’t know how many of those 20,000 people you are gonna get to contribute to any scheme at this point but we’ll see what the proposals say. At this point, unsustainable pension bill, billions of dollars…”

People in the private sector participate in contributory pension schemes without complaint. 

Asked about the matter, one Ministry of Finance official told The Tribune current permanent and pensionable workers are covered by union agreements, making it difficult to change terms of their employment without their approval. The Tribune was told that going forward it would be easier to manage a contributory pension scheme involving new employees.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the government’s pension liabilities will rise to $3.7 billion by 2030 as the population ages.

The IMF called for reforms that involve a contributory regime in the near term, one that would require civil servants contribute a portion of their salary to funding their retirement rather than having this financed 100 percent by taxpayers as happens currently.

In June, Dr Minnis announced that new hires would contribute to a mandatory pension programme, though he did not say when the requirement would officially begin.

“This reform is necessary in order to begin to seriously address a large pension shortfall,” he said.


DDK 4 years, 3 months ago

Suppose there is no money for the public sector’s 20,000 or so employees to receive pensions unless they contribute to their pensions? Are we saying the public sector is too ignorant to understand this little fact? Surely not? Just because this unreasonable practice has been the norm for decades, does not mean that it is sustainable. They have had a free ride for a long time. Perhaps they should all go and work for the gambling houses. There should be plenty of pension money there.


DDK 4 years, 3 months ago

HOW MUCH do we pay this "Press Secretary" for making these utterances on behalf of the PM? The figure eludes me at this time.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 3 months ago

He took the job for the generous pension he thinks he will get down the road from the pockets of taxpayers. LMAO


Sickened 4 years, 3 months ago

If they just make in mandatory then tell me which civil servants will quit over it? NONE! They getting money for nothing now. No-one walks away from that, especially if you have no other options. Also, it not like the rest of us will notice if they go on strike. Stuff still won't get done. BUT... there would be less traffic on the roads. LET THEM STRIKE!!!


TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Why is it comrade "Acee' be's always one front and center facing media?
With that said, why isn't Minnis and KP not attempting Make Art of a Deal get even with former owner Lucayan Hotel - by offloading Bahamaland's entire Civil Service - along its Servant Workers pension fund- off to Whampoa........ dishes, toilet paper included deal?


Economist 4 years, 3 months ago

Many Civil Servants have been getting a pension from the first day they went to work. They got there job because of some political connection and have let the real Civil Servants do all the work.

People talk, so get rid of those who are superfluous and help make the Civil Service what it can be.

At the moment the Civil Service and its inefficiencies are killing our economy.


OldFort2012 4 years, 3 months ago

Funny how in the Bahamas, what is considered normal everywhere else, is considered "impossible".

Hey, genius, all you have to do is withhold it from their salary. Like everywhere else. What are they gonna do? Strike? Who would notice?


watcher 4 years, 3 months ago

I sometimes think that the Tribune and the government of the day both allow these nonsense utterances to be published, just so that we "normal" folk can let them know how ridiculous they sound. I, for one, only get to hear about the inefficiencies and preposterous pension arrangements via articles such as this. And yet.........

On the one hand, the Tribune never editorialises the issue, preferring to just report verbatim what has been said by the latest jackass to hold a position of responsibility, while the Government must not have any proof readers or editors of its own before such nonsense is broadcast for us all to see and hear.

Whether it be Mr Miller some years back telling us that BEC is in crisis; Mr. Christie saying that VAT would be used to pay down the debt; now Mr Newbold saying that "government employee pensions cannot be changed"

Why do these people hold positions of influence if (a) they cannot see how ridiculous their ideas and statements sound and (b) why do they not include in the pronouncements what will be done to change the situation?

It is often as if they put this out into the public domain in the hope that the feedback they get will be the deciding factor in what will happen.

As an example here -

Mr Newbold finds that his comments get everyone into a mouth-frothing rage in the Tribune comments section, Facebook, Twitter etc?......well guys, I guess we should think about what can be done about triple-locked pensions.

Mr Newbold finds that his comments don't have any feedback?....well guys, I guess we're safe not to do anything (and my own pension looks safe for now)

I cannot believe the naivete and lack of forethought put into such pronouncements!!! So what if 20,000 of the most inefficient workers in the nation have a guaranteed pension.....there's nothing we (the Government) can do about it. Really??? To my mind, you are the ONLY ones who can do something about it, and it's high time you did


Dawes 4 years, 3 months ago

So it's impossible to make the civil servants contribute but easy to just increase taxes on all to cover this. Great we continue to be led by idiots, Hopefully the bottom is coming soon so we can then fix it correctly (when we have to go to IMF they will dictate what happens and one will be for civil servants to contribute).


DDK 4 years, 3 months ago

Looks like it is going to come to that. They just don't get it.


Sickened 4 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. We will continue to sit by until the IMF mandates that we fix it.

Dear IMF, please tell our government to make our civil servants' pensions contributory. Thanks.

Worth a shot.


sheeprunner12 4 years, 3 months ago

About 1000 old MPs and other senior PEPs (like the GG) collect more than half of this$2billion unfunded pension ........... Lady SLOP, Perry, and Hubbiggitty alone collect over a Million a year.

That is the problem ........... the politicians make their own pension laws while the small man gets $300 a month.


Sign in to comment