The emperor has no clothes… so what?

Graphic novelist Neil Gaiman once
wrote the following in his series “The Sandman”:

“It has always been the prerogative of
children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the
half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.”

There is probably no clearer
description of the attitude of past pension administrations, governments and
certain local employers toward the legally mandated requirements that pensions
be paid to private sector workers.

Since the implementation of the
National Pensions Law, employers in these Cayman Islands have been allowed to
wilfully ignore this law. They have done so with the apparent tacit support of
a regulatory system and government which 1) was under-funded, 2) was afraid to
do its job or 3) simply didn’t pay attention to/care what was happening.

The ensuing situation over the past
ten years has left hundreds of private sector workers, both Caymanian and
non-Caymanian, scrambling to find out what happened to their retirement savings
which their employers said had been set aside for them.

This sad state of affairs has now been
clearly identified in Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams’ wide-ranging
report on Cayman’s private sector pension system. 

The government responded by promising
swifter prosecutions, higher administrative fines for pension violators, and
proposing a wholesale change of the pension enforcement and regulatory system –
which, to date, has not actually come into effect.

Meanwhile, there are local employers
that we are aware of who continue to be allowed every leeway and excuse for not
paying what they are legally required to pay.

In effect, their response is this: ‘We
have broken the law, sure. So what do you intend to do about it?’

They are the ‘emperors’ you see, and
need not be accountable to the children or half-wits that come bothering them about
some nonsense regarding laws that never should have been enacted in the first

Their naked avarice and disdain is
apparent for all to see. The proverbial little children and ‘half-wits’ keep
pointing it out in reports and investigations, but so what?

Frankly, we see little hope that the
national embarrassment that is Cayman’s private sector pension system will ever
change unless there is a profound alteration in the above attitudes regarding
the importance and moral obligation of paying into workers’ pensions to assist
in their ‘golden years’.

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