Sunday 5 April, 2020

Senator Caswell Franklyn wants Government to stop dipping into NIS

Senator Caswell Franklyn

Senator Caswell Franklyn

Senator Caswell Franklyn wants Government to stop dipping into the public purse, namely the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). 

The Opposition Senator was debating in Parliament on a resolution for the Crown Lands (Vesting and Disposal) Act where Government will acquire a parcel of land at Pine Plantation Road, St Michael as the new headquarters of the Barbados Fire Service (BFS). The project estimated at BBD $20 million will be financed by the NIS under a special lease agreement. 

Franklyn was adamant in his remarks that the ruling Mia Mottley-led administration was compromising the affairs of its citizens to construct unnecessary buildings. 

“We are doing a lot of foolishness pretending that we got money and we are using National Insurance funds, funds that put aside for your pension. . . and you are taking them up ever so often and talking about investment. You are investing too much in buildings. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket” Franklyn argued. 

Furthermore, the Senator went on to indicate he believes that Government did not know how much money was in the NIS and concurred that he believed that the NIS annual financial statements were false. 

“At this point in time, this Government, and the last one have been trying to make sure the National Insurance doesn’t pay out any money. . . . nobody in Barbados can tell me the National Insurance know how much money [it] got. I know they have audited financial statements. I don’t believe them,” he stated. 

“I am not satisfied the National Insurance has the money that this Government says it has. . . When they were audited they didn’t realise that millions were missing. You have audited financial statements but millions were missing and nobody knew!” 

Franklyn suggested that if Government was seeking capital investment to build a new fire service headquarters, the Consolidated Fund was an option. 

“Government is abusing the National Insurance. That is not Government’s money to spend. If we want money to build a fire station, go into the Consolidated Fund and see if you have it. Don’t go to National Insurance and keep on raiding National Insurance.” 

The Senator was also against moving the Fire Service headquarters from Probyn Street, Bridgetown, St Michael. Franklyn persisted the absence of a fire station in the capital would create a “public black space” rather than Government’s proposed green space community.  

“Moving the Fire Service out of Bridgetown to provide a public green space but when that Fire Service leaves Bridgetown and there is a fire in Bridgetown, trying to get there in traffic you will end up in some public black space.
It is called Central Fire Station for a reason. . . You wouldn’t have a fire station in Bridgetown anymore, that is not foresight, that is madness! Tell me what sense that makes.”

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