Pensions boss to depart

| 26/08/2009

(CNS): The Superintendent of Pensions at Cayman’s National Pensions Office, Cyril Theriault, is leaving on Friday, 28 August, and CNS understands that he has not yet been replaced. After more than five years, Theriault told CNS he felt it was time for him to concentrate on his grandchildren instead of the battle to make employers comply with the National Pensions Law. Theriault’s departure, however, comes at a time of uncertainty with two key board members also resigning and government announcing plans of a private pension contribution holiday to stimulate the economy.

Theriault confirmed that, aside from his own resignation from the superintendent’s job and consequently the board, both Phil Jackson and Brian Bothwell, the chair, had also resigned.

Talking about the recent proposals for a freeze, Theriault said he had not been widely consulted or briefed about government plans and was only really aware of what had been reported in the press. “I know only what I have read in the media and a brief exchange with the minister,” he said. “If this is to happen, however, there would need to be fundamental changes to the law. A holiday can’t happen as it stands now as that would be illegal.”

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said on 10 August that he intended to explore the idea of a ‘pensions holiday’ for the private sector in order to stimulate the economy by giving both employers and employees money to spend. Bush has also set the wheels in motion for a freeze on civil service pensions, which is expected to actually cut the deficit government would face for 2009/10 financial year. While a private pension freeze won’t help government’s coffers directly, Bush said he hoped it would help people through a difficult time and maybe save some small businesses on the brink of going under.

However, Theriault questioned the wisdom of such a decision as he said 10% of people’s income was not a great deal of money, and the short time period muted between 6 months to a year was not necessarily enough to make a difference to the economy or save an ailing business — but enough to harm a pension fund. He also noted that the board had already publically stated that it was not in favour nor was the Pension Providers Association.

“What concerns me is that it is a short period and that 10% of wages is not a fortune,” he added. “I am not against it if it would do what they want it to do, if it would save people’s businesses — if it did it might be a good thing — but I’m not sure it will make an impact. But I hope they accomplish what they want.”

He said that he understood it would be a voluntary decision but whether that meant on the part of just the employer or just the employee he was not sure.

Theriault noted, too, that in the face of the uncertainty surrounding the potential holiday there were other concerns that his office faced regarding compliance and collection. He said if there was a holiday, once the national pension was re-instated the office needed to be given more resources and more teeth in order to make people compliant, as well as a more accurate way of assessing the actual number of businesses in Cayman that had employees for whom pension contributions should be made. Asked what percentage of employers complied with the law Theriault said it was difficult to say as the office had never been able to establish exactly how many employers there are on the island.

Looking over his time in office, Theriault said that in short he had fought the same battle for the last five years, in which time nothing really had changed and the role was more akin to a collection agent than it was a pension superintendent.

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  1. GT Ninja says:

    UDP supporters  probably don’t own any other appliance or electronics in their homes other than a FRIDGE.

    I say this because if any of them had owned a television they would not have missed out on the news of the WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS that is affecting the ENTIRE WORLD. Due to an unjustified war and lax regulation implemented by ANOTHER IDIOT NAMED BUSH. Hence, why we are going through touch times now.

    Do you think it will take 4 years for Obama to clean up the mess Bush left the country in? I bet people who support McKeeva also were Bush lovers. (hee hee Bush lovers… *snicker*) Way to go on the great judge of character people. George Bush was sooooo believable too.

    Mr. Theriault and the other board members obviously are leaving because they don’t want to be apart of UDP’s inept and illegal plan rob the every hard working citizen of their full pension once they reach retirement age.

    You people are such morons. Suppose the bank told you that you can take a year off from paying your mortgage. BUT it meant that once you finally reached the end of the loan the bank would take the roof off of your house and keep it because the year you took off didn’t pay for the roof. Would the house be sufficient for you to live in?

    You people a mindless sheep being led off of a cliff.

    Feel free to post your ignorant responses to me about being a sore loser. It won’t bother me cause I’m not affiliated with either party. And the more garbage you write the harder I laugh.

    Moronic leaders. Moronic politics. Moronic voters.

    I’m just glad there is media like CNS that tries their best to inform us and lets us all voice our opinions… no matter how retarded some of them are. Because all it does it shows me which party has the stupidest supporters which helps me realize which demographic of the island is the most consistently stupid.

    We can’t keep a track of insurance and pension payment violations but we can keep tabs of the stupid just by reading these comments.

    This island deserves the world of hurt that is on the horizon.

    UDP: Fridges for the greedy… poverty for the needy. The Undisputed Dictatorship Party.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish to thank Mr. Theriault for all his efforts over the past 5 years.  It is too bad that the government chose not to use his abilities as a "Superintendent of Pensions" but rather as a Debt Collector.  Mr. Theriault has more than 30 years of experience in the pension adminstration field and that’s why he was hired for the job.  He wasn’t hired to be a Debt Collector but that’s what the job really is.  He tried for 5 years to change the current Pension Laws to make them better for everyone but the Government just didn’t listen or couldn’t be bothered with making any changes.  Maybe if the Investment regulations were changed 3 years ago, pension members would not have seen their retirement go down 30% in 2008. 

      Happy retirement Cyril.  You deserve it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    stop beating up on civial servants –

    I am sick of the community beating up on civil servants – if we were so ineffective – would residents be able to get food (Custom and the Port Authority), would the financial industry be the well oiled machine that it is? Immigration. Would people be able to collect their mail or get treatment when they were sick. Would the community be protected in the event of fire or need a policeman. Think about it!!! Remember Ivan who helped get things going again everyone including civil service.
    Yes, their may be some dead weight on government’s payroll but would you want these people working or robbing your homes?
    I see plenty private company cars with their employees at the gym, or at dinner at the movies doing lots of none company stuff.
    What needs to be done –is everyone doing their part. I didn’t like it when government waived a fee on CUC but I understand government needs the revenue. Gov needs to make small increases in its fees
    Introduce a vice taxes on all refined foods – similar to what is done on alcohol and tobacco. Start with regular sofa, white sugar, white rice, white flour and sugary cereal. Then watch health care bill and diabetes rates go down.  Similarly – give a break on custom duties for fruit, lean meats and healthy items – NOT ICE CREAM.
    Allow a casino on one of the Sister Islands and in the Christian community kick up a fuss then ask them to donate 10 percent of their offerings.
    Install a Caymanian vs. Expats ratio. Allow companies to hire as many expats as they want but make them pay for it. They are doing it now any way just makes companies pay a higher fee.
    Charge a higher license fee to restaurant that cook with tranfats. New York has gotten rid of transfats in their rest.
    Stop the seamen’s pension immediately – what did they do to earn a pension. Pretty soon Taxi drivers will be asking for a pension and they will have precedent in this case. Stop paying for taxi uniforms.
    Just a few of my thoughts
  3. Anonymous says:

    Goodbye  and Good Riddance Mr. Theriault,

    Guess ya made enough money here in the Cayman Islands.  Don’t let the door hit ya in the backside on your way out. 

    Just goes to show you, that when the going gets tough the Expats will run back to their native country and leave us locals to fend for ourselves. Run Mr. Theriault run.

    Sign Me,

    Staying to fight the good fight; besides I cannot just get up and flee to another country.

    P.S. Hours of work week to be cut back soon – remember you heard it from me first! . . . and you hourly wage Civil Servants cannot do anything about it. If you doubt me do a thoroughFreedom of Information request, review the language between the UK and Cayman Islands – so don’t act surprised when it happens!!!!!!

    • Makam says:

      Make your mind up (if you have one that is)! First you want all the Ex-pats to leave because they are taking your jobs (that is if you are employable) and now you are complaining because as you have been warned Ex-pats are sick of the prejudice of your type and are leaving.

      You are reaping what you have sown and don’t it hurt!

    • Melissa McLaughlin says:

      Against my better judgement I feel the need to reply to this ignorant comment. To address your first paragraph about making money in the Caymans…..I feel it is important that you be brought up to speed! Mr Theriault was recruited by your country for his expertise…not the other way around. I guess when you live in a country that is unteachable you have to pay outsiders to come in. That comes at a price.

      Mr Theriault’s resignation was given long ago he merely signed another contract as a ‘favor’ to YOUR government. After 5 years of fighting the same fight and seeing virtually no results wouldn’t you leave. For a man that comes from a country where things get done in a timely fashion whithout having to worry about stepping on fragile toes Cayman must be a frustrating world!

      Ex-pats are vital to Cayman….maybe they should be running your government then Cayman might be closer to being up to speed with the rest of the world, ecspecially where pensions are concerned.

      Where do I begin about my frustrations with Cayman! I guess when you have a school system that graduates students that can’t even read it is not hard to understand why things are in a trafic downward spiral. This beautiful country is going to be a victim of its own demise.  

      A pension holiday will be the demise of the pension plan in the Cayman Islands….YOU heard it here first. This country’s pension law is not even 10 years old and already they government is imposing an ‘illegal’ pension holdiay. The pension act wasn’t taken seriously by MANY employers before the holiday… you actually think that after a 6 month hiatus employers are just going to start paying again? That is a complete joke! 

      Cayman is to blame for their own problems not the ex-pats.

      • Anonymous says:

        How can you blame the Caymanians if their kids are leaving school unable to read. Aren;t we dependent upon expats to teach them.

        If the kids fail we have to blame the expats who are failing to teach them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    60% + of the workers are from foreign sending most of their money to family back home.

    So how does the Government think that will help "stimulate" the local economy?  It will not and at the same time damage big time the pension funds of Caymanian workers who will retire in our islands.

    This is madness of the Government.  Yes there has been some losses in the investment but then that is life some days we prosper some days we do not but in the long run the pesion will be good for us Caymanians.

    Do not let Mr. Bush stop the pension, it will hurt us.


    • Anonymous says:

      Thats just the problem.

      Too many foreign employees bleeding the country and shipping the money out. Get rid of them and solve the leakage problem.

      Hire locals and keep the money in the country.

      Shut down all the unnecessary government departments and get rid of the bleeders now.

    • Anonymous says:

      You actually make a good point. I (even as an expat) think the government should implement some nominal fee (let’s say 1%) of any money sent out of this place through any money transfer service.  This would generate millions of dollars when money is sent out, and if money decided to stay, then the economy benefits.

      I don’t know, I guess common sense isn’t so common.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have heard that Jamaica is now taxing remittances, so why not a tax here as well.

        If they tax me everytime I withdraw from my local savings account, why not tax  those expats who dont Bank any money locally.

    • Anonymous says:

      I jsut wanted to wish the outgoing Pensions Commissioner all the best on his future endeavours.  I have always found him to be a gentleman and a professional.

      Hats off to you for all your effort here, and a wonderful future to you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr Watler has stated before that the civil service was not willing to pay anything towards the cost of health expenses for civil servants. It is my opinion that all civil servants want everything for nothing and when it comes to work they want to do as little as possible and that means even answering the phone.

    Everyone is now blaming Mac for the ills of this country, the UDP has just come into power , how can we blame them? The civil servants , at least the senior ones should have seen what was happening in Government a long time ago and have put a stop to all the waste and mismanagement in government.

    In my opinion they did nothing except what they are doing now and that is complaining and not trying to find a solution to the problems that we are now facing. They should not only be asked to give back something, but every department should be trimmed to the bare bones and then they will have to work for their money instead of having duplicates in every department

    • Anonymous says:

      G. McCarthy introduced the new financial system – a white elephant from New Zealand to double up the Civil Service and to create high paying new positions.  He is now a government consultant and CIMA Chairman……… So do not blame whole Civil Service my friend… Most civil servants work hard for little money, but senior officers get paid more money and enjoy other perks.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Everyone is now blaming Mac for the ills of this country, the UDP has just come into power , how can we blame them?"

      Mac set us on Disaster Road with such things as trurtle farm loosing much money and other things he did bad and that is why the Auditor General made the reports because it was a bad government.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If after 5 years of fun in the sun this gentleman could not determine the amount of employers in these tiny islands, then it is very obvious that he was a waste of time and money and should be shipped back to whereever he came from with a non-return ticket.

    There are so many waste of time and money  employees like him on the governments payroll that a clean-up is very urgently needed.

    It is obvious that the Posts held by these people also serve no purpose other than to drain the government coffers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you think that the police department are effective without guns against the criminals on this island too? What about the DOE enforcement officers without the new enforcement law? The Marine Unit of the RCIPS without anyone who knows how to run a boat properly?

      If Mr. Theriault did not have the tools with which to prosecute and punish the employers that are non compliant (i.e. breaking the law) how do you expect him to do his job? The only ones that suffer are the employees especially if the employer is making the deductions and then keeping the money.  It happens.

      • Anonymous says:

        …….so the law has been made that way with loop holes so that the local economy can be simulated unofficially and small business owners get benefitted.  Nothing wrong with the system.

  7. Anonymous says:


    The pension lawsuits are coming.  Part of the 2009/10 Government Budget should make allowances for potential lawsuits/legal costs (hey does this sound familiar????). 

    Constitution, ha, ha, ha – laughed myself right out of the chair.  When are all you wimpy Civil Servants going to get together and make a stand for your rights?   Oops, I forgot, both the old and new Constitutions limit your civil rights (attention UK representatives ——HELP).

    Sign Me,

    Better to laugh than to cry – – – Kleenex anyone?


  8. Anonymous says:

    Why is this always a McKeeva and UDP thing. Mckeeva didn’t leave the country broke. We better be damned glad that he and his team got elected and have started to do something about it. The PPM werein power and had not eevn th the slightest clue that we were broke. can you imagine the state of this country if we had just let them continue. Count your blessings folks and thank God for what we have and hope and pray that we can turn this country around and soon.

    I feel sorry for these guys now. They have to make the tough decisions and you can’t please everybody all the time. the civil servants have always been the untouchables. I say to them, start sucking it up, be thankful you have a job, do what you can to help the country get back on its feet and be grateful McKeeva didn’t do as most private businesses would have done by now and that is to cut employees.

    PPM supporters are revelling in this but this would not be even taking place had in not been for the ineptness of that group.

    The private sector needs a pension holiday too. Many businesses are suffering and many people will lose their jobs. We need help and no not the kind of "Seven Mile Beach Stamp duty reduction stimulus" that the PPM gave us. We need something that is immediate and puts cash in our pockets so that we can pay our employees who can inturn revinvest and stimulate the economy by the mere fact that they can keep their jobs and put food on the table for their children.

    Take heart people, this thing is going to get worse.We need to do something about it now. McKeeva you may not get elected again because you have to make some tough decision but be proud that you will beable to sleep at night knowing that you saved many of your countrymen and your country from the brink of disaster


  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr Theriau had planned to leave even before the election, I understand.  The PPM asked him to stay on for a short period.  He is an experienced pension administrator, and I hope that despite his frustrations his  experience in Cayman has been largely positive.  Best wishes to you and your family, Cyril.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Hon. Mckeeva Bush is only trying to help the Country and ease the Cash flow crisis that PPM has left us in. The Foreign Office is telling us to lay Civil Servants and no new borrowing.

    Mr. Bush send Civil Servants home and then they will appreciate what u are trying to do for them.


    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Bush said his purpose was to reduce the deficit by $40+million. This action will not have that effect. Mr. Bush and his cohorts are either confused or devious. We knew all along that this was a ruse for something else. Mr. Bush cannot  be trusted.  

  11. John Evans says:

    I can understand Mr Theriault’s frustration with a system that effectively forces them to work with both hands tied behind their backs.

    Last year, after my employer was found to have failed to pay pension contributions over a period of possibly several years, we discussed the differences between Cayman legislation and the powers given to government investigators (I am an ex-civil servant) in the UK. While the powers my colleagues and I had enjoyed were firmly weighted in our favour, Mr Theriault appears to work under rules that give the defaulting employer the upperhand.

    When you have to write three times (over a period of some two months) to a defaulting employer before taking any action and often cannot rely on the pension fund involved to report non-payment how is it possible to enforce the laws? When the successive governments fail to introduce even simple linkage between the issue of Work Permits and/or trade and Business Licences and proof that mandatory contributions are being paid why bother enforcing the laws?

    As has been pointed out before the government has two choices – pass new legislation making non-payment of pension contributions a serious offence dealt with under the theft and fraud laws or scrap the scheme completely.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well we have seen the UDP’s lack of respect for the laws/constitution before. So none of this should come as a surprise to anyone. McKeeva does as he pleases no matter what the law says.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am tired of people saying civil servants have it easy or the like.  Most civil servants are hard working and deserve respect.

    This pension "holiday" is illegal, and I am aware that there is a legal battle brewing on this issue. 

    The MAIN ISSUE with the pension "holiday" is that civil servants were never consulted or given the OPTIONAL opportunity to help the government save money before this was shoved down their throats. Here are ideas that weren’t even given as an option to elluminate my point.

    1)  Many civil servants would have take one, two or three months off UNPAID vacation in order to help the government finances out. No, not all, but there are a good portion that would like that vacation time, WITHOUT being paid as long as they came back to a job. Imagine how much that would have saved in salaries each month?

    2)  Many/Most Civil Servants would be willing to pay SOMETHING towards medical care.  Maybe $25 a doctorsvisit/dentist visit.  BUT that SOMETHING might go along way…remember the hospital has millions of dollars of unpaid bills.

    3)  Many Civil Servants might prefer to work just 4 day work weeks, leading to almost a week a month of unpaid leave.

    These ideas of course are just a small sample of what civil servants are willing to do.  Now that this "holiday" has been shoved down our throats, do you think morale is good, do you think people really want to "help out".  Think about it for a second and you will greatly understand how far people were willing to go to help, but it would appear government doesn’t want the help, they just want to dictate.  So the civil servants attitudes will follow….

    • Anonymous says:

      If what you are saying is true then that would be giving up far far more than what the Leader is asking everyone to do. I am a civil servant and consider myself to be quite well paid and 12% of my wages is about $500 per month. If I were to work a 4 day week or take a month or more off from work unpaid I would be losing more than the 12%. I would rather lose one years worth of pension than have to lose my job or to lose 12% or more of my wages. What the Leader is asking us to do is not going to hurt our pocket right now – yes it will have an effect down the line in that we would have lost 12 months pension contribution but at least we will still have our jobs/income. I think civil servants are just upset because they are not being asked and are being told what is going to happen. Be thankful you have a damn job – suck it up and get to work. The country is broke and we need to stop whining and be thankful we have a job. BE THANKFUL

      • Anonymous says:

        I am very serious about what I stated.  For all civil servants, take a poll in your office (especially of ExPats) of those who would be willing to take unpaid time off.

        And a small payment of $25 or the like to the doctor/hospital everytime you go see them would go along way in not collecting money, but saving money on those who go in for every sneeze and sniffle.

        • Anonymous says:

          Civil Servants have to go to the doctor for every sneeze or snizzle as you call it because Heads of Departments are insisting for doctor notes every time you miss a days work and not the norm of on the 3rd day. Soooooo if you have to provide a doctors note to get a sick day then I guess you have to go to the doctor to get it and that is what is putting up health costs in this island also unnessary visits to the doctor that an over the counter drug could be taken.

          I am a civil servant and I dont want any unpaid time off – nor do I want to pay for any substandard medical service- I would rather take my chances with the government borrowing my pension for 12 months and hoping that they will eventually pay it back and if not – oh well – I could be dead by then anyhow.


  14. Anonymous says:

    This pension "holiday" – in reality a "suspension" – proposal is unworkable and will be devastating to employees in the medium to long term.

    Can we please have our new constitution brought into effect so that we can initiate a referendum and remove this rogue government from power !!!

    Hurry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How is it that the educated and qualified MLA’s of the UDP have over the past 8 years allowed this ill-equipped and unqualified person to lead them……talk about lacking gumption !!!!!!


  15. Anonymous says:

    Six months could mean life or death to some businesses large or small. the economy is terrible right now. I can’t believe all of these self righteous civil servants who have had their cake, ate it and now don’t want to do one iota to save the country.

    I can understand maybe keeping it in place for those nearing retirement age, say age 55 and older but for those under that age and the expats, I say let’s do it. Six months without paying into a pension fund is not going to kill them and it will help our ailing economy.

    Let’s do it in the private sector too. my business and its employees under the cost and are willing to give up pension payments for six months to save the business and their jobs but legally we can’t do it until the Government gives the green light.

    We have to make some tough decisions to survive this situation. waiting around until it’s too late is not an option.

  16. noname says:

    Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

    I know a lot of people have lost a lot of money the last couple of months in their pension! Better put the money on a bank account!

    • Anonymous says:

      The superintendent of pensions does not manage the pension funds.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have had an opportunity to review the numbers of not paying pensions for my employees for 6 months, and I can honestly say it would be a big boost for us in our small company which would enable us to do a number of things to help us upgrade our services and assist the local economy by spend over CI$15k back into the economy over the same six months period.