A Midwife Nurse Trainer believes that she has come out victorious in a fight, which she single-handedly led against the state-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS) over payment of her pension.
Marguerite Sheriff of St. David’s took along members of the media with as she made a final journey to NIS head office on Melville Street, St. George’s to demand the payment of just over $800.00 that was due to her since December 2015.
“They (NIS) never contacted me, hoping that I die,” said Sheriff, a volunteer with Doctors without Borders as she labeled NIS as being incompetent.
The health professional spoke of having “a little bit of money” with NIS, and was given a choice during the month of January of receiving the money either by cheque or have it deposited into her bank account.
According to Sheriff, she advised that payment be done to her by cheque but after making contact with the institution three weeks later, she was informed that she could only have the money deposited in her bank account.
She said after providing NIS with her banking information she was called upon to provide the institution with her birth certificate.
“My birth certificate does not reflect anything on the document that I originally gave them. I gave them the name Marguerite Sheriff – every living piece of document…”, she told reporters.
“I showed them my passports from years gone by, my inland revenue from the UK (United Kingdom), my driver’s license, my picture ID. My birth paper says Marguerite Yolande Sheriff, born of Norman Naval Hospital on the 29th of December, 1954,” she said.
Sheriff believes NIS officials should go out to the rural areas to help contributors claim their pension, and end the petty bureaucracy that seems to be so prevalent with them.
She accused the scheme of asking “a lot of unnecessary questions, seeking unnecessary information which has no bearing on what the person needs”.
“There is always some problem to frustrate the poor man,” she said.
According to Sheriff, the decision taken by her to stand up to NIS is not just for her, but also for those who cannot articulate on their own behalf.
“I am speaking for the voiceless, oppressed, poor woman in the country who cannot move around, the blind man who cannot move around and come here on site (at NIS), people who are afraid of voicing their opinion, people who are afraid of victimisation,” she said.
Sheriff claimed that she met a number of people who had been experiencing similar problems in receiving their money from NIS, and have virtually given up on eventually receiving it.
“This is wrong, you cannot frustrate people like this,” she quipped.
The qualified health worker accused NIS of stalling pension payment due to contributors with the hope that they will die so that they do not have to meet that commitment.
The Midwife Nurse Trainer said she has seen a lot of injustices in her line of work.
“This has driven me to speak up more because I am sick of the injustices, and it’s only the poor people. How many rich people you see in here fight with the NIS? It’s the poor people who are trodden on, and there’re more poor people in Grenada than rich,” she said.