Progress made in pension cases

Business owner offers $500 per month

Progress was made in an employee pension case last week when the Crown accepted an offer to pay $500 per month toward a debt of $27,000.

Attorney Waide DaCosta said Halcy Lofters took responsibility as the “controlling mind” of the now defunct business, which had provided security services. The company and its owners had pleaded guilty to 17 charges of failing to contribute to a pension plan for employees.

Mr. DaCosta said the charges had been before the court for three years and Mrs. Lofters had always been willing to make payments, but no one in authority would accept a payment plan. If payments had started three years ago, a sizable portion of the debt would have been repaid by now, he said.

Crown Counsel Kenneth Ferguson said employers are mandated by law to pay sums to a pension plan for employees.

“If they had done so at the time, they would not be in this position … They cannot say now that because if the economy they can’t pay,” Mr. Ferguson said.

Mr. DaCosta said he did not disagree.

“We want to make a payment today of $500 and continue monthly,” he told the court.

A previous offer of $300 per month had been rejected.

Magistrate Nova Hall made an interim pronouncement in which she noted the defendant’s agreement to pay $27,882.94 to the Pensions Office at the rate of $500 per month. She set a review date for 15 October, 2012.

Another employer told the court he also was willing to pay what he owed. Garth Arnold Ebanks of W5 Security Services offered $200 per month, but Mr. Ferguson called that amount ludicrous. The magistrate said she was prepared to accept any reasonable proposal.

“I don’t see us agreeing to anything less than $500,” Mr. Ferguson said. He asked for a trial date of 16 January, 2012, unless Mr. Ebanks came up with a more substantial proposal.

A representative of Champion House said she had tried to make an agreement with the pensions superintendent, but that person had not called her back. The magistrate told he to be pro-active and bound over to return to court on 7 December with “a concrete proposal” on that occasion.

Attorney Michael Alberga said he expected matters to be sorted out for Hurlstone Ltd, Hurlstone General Contractors and several related companies and individuals. He asked to come back to court on 20 February. The attorney for Cayman Net Ltd was not present and that matter was adjourned until 9 November.

The attorney for Brent Greene’s Gardening and Landscaping asked for an adjournment until 16 January.

Mr. Ferguson, who has responsibility for prosecuting pension-related charges, pointed out at one stage the ultimate objective is for employees to get what is 
legally theirs.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Failure to make pension payments is tantamount to theft. Owners of businesses are to held peronally libel for these payments and if the business is defunct then the personal assets of the owners of the business should be seized and sold to satisfy the debt. Payments should be a remedy only if the assets of the company directors are simply not there to sell. A tough opinion but tell that to the people who cant feed themselves in their retirement years.

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  2. I agree with Bubba’s comment…they are breaking the laws of this country! I do not understand why more people, especially other employers who are in compliance are not more vocal about how inept this process is and why more is not being done to enforce this requirement. Even this article which states progress is being made makes reference to four of the cases that have all been postponed, and the first case has been before the court for 3 years. Enforcement is NOT this complicated!!If you don’t enforce the law, non-compliance will only get worse!

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