Info boss orders release of 4 year old pension report

| 09/05/2012

human_skeletons_covered_in_cobwebs_at_a_meeting_1574r-01177b (291x300).jpg(CNS): Attempts by the Public Service Pensions Board to keep a four-year-old report under wraps have been thwarted by the information commissioner, who has ordered its release. Jennifer Dilbert not only found that the pension board’s refusal based on the fact that the report had not yet been tabled in the Legislative Assembly was wrong but that far too much time had passed on the report. She said that the primary purpose of the review was not to present a report to the financial secretary and Cabinet but to assess and evaluate the viability of the fund. This was the second time an applicant requested a copy of The Actuarial Valuation of the Public Service Pension Plan 2008 after the request was deferred in 2009 because it had not been tabled in the LA.

In her 20th decision since taking office, Dilbert overturned the Public Service Pensions Board’s deferral of access to the valuation document and ordered its release.

In October last year a Freedom of Information request for the report was made and declined on the grounds that it was waiting to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

However, under the Public Service Pensions Law, at least every three years the PSPB must have a review carried out by an actuary to assess and evaluate the assets and liabilities of the Public Service Pensions Fund. A report of the actuarial review is to be sent to the Financial Secretary, who is required to table it in the Legislative Assembly and make the report public.

In making the decision to release the record, the commissioner reviewed the Public Service Pensions Law, the Legislative Assembly Standing Orders, the FOI law and FOI regulations and found no restrictions regarding release of the record.

“The deferral in section 11(2)(b) does not apply to the responsive record as it was not prepared for presentation to the Legislative Assembly or for the purpose of being made available to a particular person or body. Even if it was prepared for presentation to a person or body, a reasonable period after its preparation for it to be so presented or made available to that person or body has expired,” Dilbert said.

The commissioner had previously upheld the PSPB’s decision to defer access to the record back in 2009 but in this instance she noted that over three years has passed and the report has still not been tabled and gazetted as required.

Although the PSPB claimed the responsive record was prepared for presentation to the financial secretary and Cabinet for subsequent tabling in the Legislative Assembly, Dilbert said she disagreed.

“Section 12(1) of the Public Service Pensions Law sets out that the actuarial review is to be carried out in order to assess and evaluate the assets and liabilities of the Fund. The primary purpose of the review is not to present a report on it to the Financial Secretary and Cabinet, but to assess and evaluate the viability of the Fund,” she said in her decision.

The board said that the 2008 report was meant to be combined with the more recent 2011 report which is currently being prepared and then tabled in the Legislative Assembly. However, Dilbert wrote that the planned incorporation of the older report in the 2011 was irrelevant to its release and could not be used to justify a further deferral.

The board has 45 days to appeal to the Grand Court by way of judicial review but if not the report must be released.

See the full decision below or visit www.INFOCOMM.ky

Category: FOI

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Public service pension fund is being badly administered XXXXX In a few years Cayman will be full with of a lot of destitute public workers with no pension. Time to put your money in a private scheme.You need to look out for yourselves NOW.

    • Anonymouse says:

      LOL – Compare the results of the private pension funds vs the PSPF. You'll notice a difference not to your likeing. The onyl reason the PSPF is in trouble is because of the 'unfounded liability', i.e., they are contractually bound to give out more than they have ever taken in. For what they do takke in the return is at least as good as the public sector.

      The truth shall set you free.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The real question to ask is:

    "How much would funding pensions increase the deficit?"

    That is why this isn't being accrued for.

  3. Anonymouse says:

    This is an interesting expansion of the Law by the Commissioner. Remember that in 2009 the same situation/explanation and the FOI Commissioner sided with teh PSPB. But now she has added a "resonable period" after which you're no longer allowed to delay the release of a document. It will be interesting to see if the LA allows this addition to the Law to stand. (My guess is they will because they're too skitish right now to do much, much less re-empaneling their FOI review committee.) So we can expect several more of these applications for 'pending' reports and the Commissioner wil have to decide if a "reasonable period" had expired for each one or not. Since Its not set out in Law or regulation anywhere and no civil servant is going to release a document thats waiting for LA/Ministerial/Etc. sign-off without the FOI commissioner's rulling to justify their decision.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It's hard to justify giving $2 million of government's money to your church when you have a report showing that the fund for retired civil servants is $200 million short. Solution – hide the report.

    • noname says:

      And in Grand Cayman that works!

    • Anonymous1 says:

      So Why Over $100 Million for 2 Schools was spent which would have put Pension back on good footing ?

      If people think that the post 2000 Civil Service Pension Scheme will enable Civil Servants to retire, then they also have another surprise coming!

    • noname says:

      Are these the same group that just reintroduced the private pension scheem? i understand they  are behind with the public pesion contributions by 200 millions dollars, and have no way of paying up.

      They  have now instructed  their pension administrators to penalise the employees, which  have no way of contributing to the private pension scheem. The economy is worst now than it was when they gave the pension holiday. God help us!

      Let me ask you all this…do you realise there have  been suggestions made, to increase the public pension contribution to an increase of 45%.

      Do you realise that every business, and working man and woman  will be paying an added  tax of 45% of their earnings towards the pesion. Most of the public pensions are paid by tax payers money…they do not contrbute to their own pension contributions. if this increase goes through…dog will eat our supper.

      Caymanians get off you asses, dont take this lying down.

      • Anonymouse says:

        Innaccuracies or Lies.

        1) The 45% was not a recomended increase, it was an example of what it would take to get it up to scratch, in order to demonstrate the level of the underfunding.

        2) Everyone will not be paying a 45% tax on their earnings, even if the basis for (1) was accurate. Which it isn't.

        3) The public pension members do contribute to their pension scheme. Half. Like everyone else. (Do some of them have a contractually aggreedpayout, like some older staff in the private sector still do as well, yes? But thats seperate from their contribution.)

        People, get off your assess. Don't belive the lies, untrueths or plain stupidity that is spouted.

        • Anonymous says:

          9:57, Civil servants do NOT contribute half to their pension scheme. Government pays it in on their behalf; it does not come out of their take home pay. For civil servants, it is a "non contributory pension scheme".

          • Anonymouse says:

            Not Accurate.

            "Currently, government contributes 6 per cent of a civil servant’s salary above and beyond their normal pay to the retirement fund and civil servants match that contribution with a 6 per cent contribution of their own." http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2012/05/11/Pensions-board-must-cough-up-2008-data/

            Whether you calculate the contribution 'before take home pay', as the Compass did in the reference article, or you count it as part of the total emolument, the long and short of it is that civil servants put in a 6% 'contribution' of their own. So either inform yourself of the facts or stop spreading lies.

        • Anonymous says:

          You vehemtly explain your self again The example of the 45% you speak of is to bring the underfunded pesion up to scratch…as you put it. 

           No matter how you tweek it, it will take 45% of the puiblic servant's salary to just do this…bring it up to scratch…your words. 

          Can you now explain why is this pension fund, lack up to two hundred million dollars to make it work.

          Isnt it a fact, that  the government cannot find the funds to inject into this atrosity…. which all come from the tax payers pockets.  Let me say this to you…this system is going to break the Cayman Island Government very soon.

          Several States in the USA have  already shut down their pension funds, due to the lack of money. Lets stop fooling ourselves. We cannot afford pension,we don't have  salary tax. Salary tax  is the only sensible way that any  Government can guarantee one's retirement funds.

           

  5. SKEPTICAL says:

    Frighteningly, this may be case of “Be careful what you wish for” in demanding this information. That said, it is crucial that government faces up to what may be a catastrophic situation in terms of the possible shortfall in the Pension Fund assets, relative to existing liabilities to it’s members – because if it is already bad, it ain’t going to get better on it’s own.

  6. Anonymous says:

     

    The Civil Service Pension Plan is our pension plan it belongs to us the civil servants, it is there for my future when I retire. 

    It is now time for Government to realize their days are numbered for withholding information from us civil servants the owners of the pension funds.

    The present UDP Government led by Premier McKeeva Bush wants to shut down Freedom of Information so that he can do his tricks.

    The cost of Freedom of Information is directly the result of Government fighting to hide information from us the public, he does not want us to know about our pension funds. 

    We are thankful to the PPM Government for introducing Freedom of Information to the Cayman Islands.  With all of the poor governance going on how much more bad things would Government be doing?

    Now when the report is released on our civil service pension plan we will learn a little bit more how Government badly manages our pension money.

    Many more Freedom of Information requests will be forth coming for us to go behind the screen and cover up of poor pension governance.

    Thank you very much for publishing my letter.

    • Mageagles says:

      The Pension Board was set up to rob people of their hard earned cash. CI$3,000.00+ has disappeared from my account in 6 the past 6 months. I am a pensioner and they were not supposed to haveriskilly  invested my funds. When I asked why was this done I am unable to receive an explanation so I have contacted a lawyer to investigate them. I am sick of the supposedly so called protectors abusing us in this country. they should have protected our funds yet still they allegedly have a director deplete over $300,000.00 of it. My God where will this country end up if it is placed in the hands of crooked people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    why is this government always trying to cover things up?

    They work on behalf of the people and are paid by the people yet try their very hardst to hide the truth from the people\\

    It really is time for a change! Why has it taken 5 years for this report to be released and it is not the only one.

    If it is about getting presented to the LA, they maybe they should meet more. How many times have they met this year?5? and we pay them over 200,000 year, what a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      do not judge them, until you have walked a mile in their very expensive shoes

      • Bling man says:

        I never gonna be walking in da premiers shoes.  So it be allright for me to judge him.  Thank you.

    • noname says:

      Whi is the government always trying to cover things up?

      Because it works.  You let them get away with it every time so far.

      they are the fat,rich guys and you are the skinny poor foo fools who give them your money.

      Hope this has answered your questions.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Go Jennifer. Hold their over paid feet to the fire.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am staggered by the fact that there was no outrage expressed by anyone about the recent headlined Compass report about the very dodgy goings on in the Pensions Office. Is it the old "they're Caymanian" thing because it should not be since it's Caymanian pensioners involved. If there is maladministration (juniors approving leave/bonuses for seniors!!!). it needs to come out in the open and dealt with by the PSPB civil service bosses (Ken Jefferson and Sonia McLaughlin). Along with some of the other things like the Managing Director employing family members…………..But there seems no willpower to deal with wrongdoing in Cayman so we can wait for the TCI treatment eventually.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can you expect the right hand to tell the left hand you are doing wrong.  Figure it out.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say bring on the TCI treatment. At this point it seems like the only way to untie all the knots. Otherwise, let’s just throw our shoes away and stop prentndig to on par with dveoped nations.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who's pretending?

      • Anonymous says:

        I could not agree more.  XXXX  When the Crown had enough of the greed and dictatorship in TCI,  Where is the Mother Country now?  Are they going to leave this wanna-be dictator completely sink our three little islands before stepping in to save us.  I worked for the government.  I was forced into retirement with a monthly pension payment of 56.56.  Thank God for the Health Services.  My daughter, who has been struck down with Multiple Sclerosis, and I get good treatment at the hospital, but that does not cover the cost of food.  BM (Before McKeeva) I could go to the supermarket with her indigent payment of 550.00 and buy food for the month.  Now I cannot buy food for the two of us for more than 2 weeks.  There might be enough if I could get a part-time job, but now I am too old.  I am 68 and am trying to live with a sick child on 600.00 per month.  So, if the UDP government think they are doing good for us, think again.  Cayman is obviously still in the worldwide recession, while other jurisdictions have bounced back.  Mother England, please help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      20:02

      I have to agree with you, why werent there any concerns shown  from the people, in regards to the dodginess going on in the public's  pension  fun.

      I want to go further by asking why the small businesses are not showing some level of concerns, with the way their private  pension ( savings) were all structured. Forcing them to mandatory by law to give everyone of their hired hands a five percent on top of their wages.

      We have over 20 thousand intransit hired hands ( expats )passing through our businesses….whenever these intransit workers are ready  to return to their homes, they are given  all of their 5% plus  the business 5% that was forced by the law. This money is then removed from the saving scheem.   

      These financiers, first take out their percentage for their profits, then the rest is sent to ten buc too, to some high risk investment organisations, where it loses millions of your savings.

      Some recipeants of these saving have had their whole savings completly wiped out.

      I would'nt want to be liable for false accusation. But can someone please inform the people  if there are  any sections in  the pension law that would allow for any form of ethical or moral obligations, or liability, which would exercise such  responsibility, towards these money managers.

       

         

      • noname says:

        Just like i figured, you small businesses have nothing to say, just sit and let them take you all to jail.

        Why dont you all admit, you cant afford to pay these fees, on top of the crumbs you are receiving for doing business in the Cayman Islands. Ther are over a thousand of you, from Brac to Grand Cayman, not contributing to this employee's  savings plan.

        • noname says:

          Just as i thought ,you  scared out of your wits… no responce, typical of caymanians…. lets discuse this issue under the grape trees and behind doors. That has been our style since time begun. but it is not goin to go away.