The issue raised in one of our front
page stories from Friday’s paper has caused the Caymanian Compass some
consternation over the past several years.
It’s the question of whether public
servants should be able to receive pension while continuing to work for
government. We have spent considerable time studying this issue and actually
haven’t come to a definite conclusion.
On one hand it would seem like a
no-brainer. If you’re working, you’re working. If you’re retired, you’re
retired. Never the two shall meet.
But in the modern world things have
changed. The days of working 35 years at the same company until you receive the
gold watch and then sitting in the lawn chair for the rest of whatever have
Government servants all over the world
leave their positions upon collecting the maximum pension for highly paid
consultant jobs. Once they reach retirement age, they can receive that pension
– whether it is in monthly payments or in a lump sum – and no one quibbles if
they wish to take up a new job at age 55 or 60 in the private sector.
In fact, many people are forced to keep
working after their retirement when their pensions or savings don’t support the
lifestyle they would wish to have or, in some cases, fail to even make ends
But let a civil servant or elected
lawmaker receive a pension while holding the same job they got that pension
from, and everyone gets all upset. In the end, is there a real difference?
The problem with Cayman’s scenario is
that elected lawmakers set the rules under which their pensions are governed –
unlike civil servants. It is also quite strange to us that while the civil
service defined contribution pension plan is underfunded to the tune of
hundreds of millions of dollars, no such issues exist with the parliamentary
pensions. Also the retirement age for elected officials (55) is largely
voluntary, while the civil service retirement age (60) is mandatory.
So we do have different plans for
different folks. And maybe that is what is really the unpalatable part when it
comes to Cayman’s public retirement system.