The National insurance Scheme (NIS) should be an institution which Grenadians should all be proud of as it was implemented in the name of the working class people of this country. But what I am seeing today as a Grenadian, who was part of the consolidation process, of the gains and benefits of this glorious March 13th 1979 Revolution, much is left to be desired when it comes to benefiting poor people.
This institution is sucking the blood out of the poor, and vulnerable people in the society. There may never come a time again where in our history as I have observed such a large percentage of people’s participation with great enthusium, who were so enthusiastic about nation building and national development.
This was a new dawn for the people of Grenada with agro-industry in full swing thus changing the mindset of our people towards real economic independence – eating what we grow and growing what we eat, and being more self-reliant.
Imagine that you are paying N.I.S. from 1987 to now and you cannot get a $29,000 loan – what’s the point?
They are no doubt representing the upper class because if you talked to the poor people, you will find out how bad these poor and venerable people are suffering under the name of social benefits. What a shame!
I think that this institution is really for the Government whichever one may be in office to dip their hands in the sweat and blood of the poor and struggling people’s funds, any time they want when they are in financial hardship.
This is so because most of the Board members are appointed by Government and they are aligned with their own political parties, which represent a particular ideology. Philosophically.
The Grenada Revolution will always stand out in my mind as unmatched, or unparalleled for its gains and benefits in only four and a half years including the empowerment of the people as it relates to the socio-economic development.
Let us look carefully and we will see who are the ones that really benefit from this institution called NIS – it is clearly the upper class people, who are getting the million dollars mortgage and who are building in the high-end areas and affluent villages.
When the poor people go to NIS for a small loan, in most cases they are told that they are not qualified while the bunch of technocrats who are serving on this board has no interest in the poor people of this country but rather their big shot friends. Tell me, now who is fooling who?
Maurice Bishop must be turning in his grave because under his vanguard leadership he had the vision to move away from what was called the Provident fund and implement the N.I.S.
It is also significant to note that the International Labor Organisation (ILO) through the N.I.S. who for a while now has been thinking of lifting the retirement age from 60 to 65 years at a time when people are dying younger and having to cope with endless stress thus bringing greater hardship on the working class people of this country.
It should also be noted that most people are dying under age 60, and some of these same poor people are victims of the reckless economic management and policies of some Governments.
There were many Grenadians who never supported the ideological direction of some leaders within the Revolution but were also very happy to see the amount of professionals who were trained in various fields to become Agronomists, Doctors, Linguists, Economists, and Dentists.
There was a new consciousness as it relates to nation building, giving hundreds of scholarships.
I am very sad when I see that the Market and National Importing Board (MNIB) is still paying farmers 0.90 cents for a pound of pumpkin. This tells me why we as a nation cannot move forward because this is exploitation.
I am therefore, calling on government to revamp the N.I.S. and put people in management positions who will better serve the poor and not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk.
I am also making an insatiable plea calling for the removal of the present director of this Institution I do not believe that he is the best person for this position; I say this with no apology based on my encounter with him, I am very clear in my mind that he is a very arrogant person who should not be in such position.