Archive for April 9th, 2011

‘I earned pension,’ says Bush

‘I earned pension,’ says Bush

| 09/04/2011 | 96 Comments

(CNS): The premier said that he and the other members of the Legislative Assembly who were receiving their pensions while still serving in the House had earned those benefits and there was nothing illegal or immoral about what they were doing. Not only that, the country’s leader said that they were actually saving money for the public coffers since pension benefits were no longer being paid on their earnings as the members had opted out in order to claim the payments. He said that civil servants who had retired and were claiming pensions but had been re-employed by government were not doing anything wrong, and neither were parliamentarians.

Responding to media reports following a Freedom of Information request made by CNS revealing which current and former MLAs were receiving a pension, McKeeva Bush told the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning that the media coverage had to be put in context. He said the public needed to understand that there was nothing wrong with what he and the other members were doing.

Using himself as an example, as he said he had been the one scapegoated for ‘double dipping”, Bush asked rhetorically what was he supposed to do about his own earned benefits — wait until he was dead? He pointed out that if that were the case, his wife would receive only half of the benefit that he had worked for and earned.

Bush said that although some believed it was not right to take a pension while still working for the same employer, he did not agree.

“It has been suggested that if it is not illegal, then it is immoral to allow the so called ‘double dipping’. Effectively what they are saying is that people should not be allowed to receive a pension while you continue to work for the same employer. What is the difference between leaving one employer and drawing your pension and becoming employed by another employer and drawing your pension while working for the same employer?” he asked.

The law governing parliamentary pensions mirrors that in the civil service, he noted, adding that for generations public servants had been allowed to retire and draw their pensions and still work for government .

“There is nothing wrong with that,’ he added. “These days when life is so uncertain, when a person comes to that point in their lives when they can get paid back what they paid, why shouldn’t they be able to get their pension?”

He suggested the public criticisms about it were based on jealousy but that no one was doing anything wrong or immoral.

Justifying the actions, Bush recapped the history of parliamentary and civil service pensions and the law governing the benefits for MLAs and for the wider public service and pointed out that both pensions had been changed to defined contributions rather than defined benefits. He said that there had been plenty of opportunities for the legislatures to change the rules but as it stood, all members of the LA were entitled to claim their pension once they were 55.

Pensions for MLAs elected after 2009 would be based on what was paid in rather than what was earned.

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Police find gun and ganja during stop and search

Police find gun and ganja during stop and search

| 09/04/2011 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Two men, both in their twenties, were arrested on Friday evening after police found drugs and a gun in the car they were in following a stop and search. Officers from the RCIPS were carrying out pro-active patrols in George Town, in the vicinity of Godfrey Nixon way, a police report released on Saturday said, when they stopped the vehicle at about 8:30pm. Police searched the carand found what was described as “vegetable matter resembling ganja and a firearm”. Police arrested the two men, aged 23 and 20, for firearm and drug related offences and both are currently in police custody.

Anyone with information on this matter or on any crime taking place within the Cayman Islands may contact the George Town Police Station at 949 4222, any police station across Cayman or Crime Stoppers at 1800-TIPS.

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