Bush justifies
‘double dipping’

Premier McKeeva Bush justified his and fellow politicians’ decision to receive their parliamentary pensions while still serving in the Legislative Assembly, saying by doing so, they save the country money.

“Opting to receive these benefits at this time, in effect, has closed the defined benefit plan to those of us who opted out, thereby reducing the future cost to government that would have resulted in some cases, from additional years of service specifically in my case, as well as the others, cost of living and any future salary increases. We can’t be paid on any of these things,” he said.

Mr. Bush, George Town MLA Kurt Tibbetts and Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden are receiving pension payments in addition to their monthly salary.

The premier earns about $160,000 per year in salary following a 10 per cent pay cut he took in 2010. He can earn more than $100,000 per year in payments from the parliamentary pension plan at the maximum payment of two-thirds of salary.

Mr. Tibbetts and Mr. Eden would earn approximately $100,000 a year following a 3.2 per cent pay reduction they received in 2010. Both receive 80 per cent of the maximum two-thirds of salary payment for pension, which works out to about $53,000 per year in pension payments at that salary.

Responding to recent press articles and public statements, Mr. Bush said: “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.”

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, 8 April, the premier asked what was the difference between leaving one employer and drawing a pension while becoming employed by another employer.

“This mirrors the provision of the main public sector plan. Civil servants have been able for generations to retire and draw their pensions and still work for government. There is nothing wrong with that.

“In 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 pensions? They worked, they paid – shouldn’t they be able to get it?” Mr. Bush said.

He pointed out that if he were to die before claiming his pension, his wife would receive only 50 per cent of his benefits.

Mr. Bush said he and fellow MLAs, by accepting their pensions, were acting in accordance with the Parliamentary Pensions Law. Under the current rules, MLAs who have served at least one full term of four years can begin claiming their pensions once they reach age 55.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. My questions WHY and WHY?
    Why would he want his pension now? That money is suppose to be set aside for retirement, unless he considers that he is retired now… which is a fair assumption.
    He makes 100k, not bad but consider that in his high position of power he gets a lot of small perks and comps.

    Why would the government have a mandatory pension plan? The money coming in today pays out those who draw it out today… If I can draw my pension out at 55 (20 years from now) what is to say there will be anything left.
    Considering this; If unemployment decreases and decreases year over year, and the population decreases… property value falls etc., I can guarantee you that those that are last in line will get nothing because there will be nothing to give. The workers in 20 years from now could be less and unable to pay for todays workers pensions.

    Sooo, is Bush cashing his chips in early? jumping the line?

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  2. 160,000 a year is more than enough for anyone in the public service. Let him spare a thought for the thousands of his fellow Caymanians who will never receive that much in one year in a lifetime, let alone every year for years on end. And he should be putting aside money from that huge salary, to provide for his wife and family after his death, like everyone else has to.

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  3. A little simple arithmetic will help to clarify the situation in regard to his argument that the future cost to Government is reduced. And to help us see the matter from the point of view of the State, that is, the ordinary people of Cayman who contribute to the national budget in various ways.
    A hypothetical MLA the Hon.Takeitnow chooses to take his pension at age 55 (say). He continues to be an MLA for another 15 years (say). He draws the pension for those 15 years, and will continue to draw it after final retirement. During those 15 years, he has been able to invest the pension and re-invest the proceeds, and if he has any sense at all, will have built up a very large capital fund. He continues meanwhile to benefit from increases in the normal salary and benefits of an MLA.
    If he had not chosen to take the pension at age 55, the state would not have had to pay it for 15 years, and will indeed pay him a larger pension on his final retirement – but actuarially, for a shorter period.
    So in all reasonable probability, MLA Takeitnow is arranging a better deal for himself at the expense of the public purse.
    And if his argument is that the private sector allows this, then let him work there – if he can find a job which will give anything like the total benefits he receives (note: not earns) as an MLA or as Premier.Perhaps it is time for a FOI request for details on what exactly the costs to Cayman are of funding MLAs etc? And now we are to have 18 of them.

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  4. As they say in the movies the cowboy rides again. Well spoken Old Hand.

    Its just absolutely amazing that this man would even try to justify taking two sums of money from the government. The mere fact that he would try and justify it is mind bogling. This man is absolutely amazing and to think he runs the country. Sorry, would like to think he runs the country. Oops, I made another error in spelling…He ruins the country. That should draw some fire from the proud supporters of this cowboy!

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  5. Once again we have a numbers game going on that is cloudy. I know of no private sector company that allows employees to draw retirement as well as a pay check. You are either working, retired, or double dipping just because you enacted holes in a program that allows you to. Do many elected people have ethics? A large pot of money available does not mean you get two handfuls and not what you should have. The fact we have always done it that way is not relevant to the many under and unemployed.

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