The government’s plan to rescind a Minnis administration policy that did not allow public officer pension entitlements has been met with significant hit back from the opposition.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service Fred Mitchell has defended the decision, insisting that it came as a result of legal consultation on the matter.
A leaked memo from the Cabinet Office, dated October 8, referenced that the Cabinet agreed that the present policy should be rolled back.
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has since lashed out against the decision, calling it “wrong”.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Minnis noted that the decision to implement the policy was made by the former Ingraham administration in order to cut costs and foster development in the public sector.
“There are a lot of young people who can do the work and who can be promoted and it doesn’t speak well for young people trying to advance. We don’t agree with it,” Minnis said.
However, responding to questions from Eyewitness News, Mitchell said the position was established by virtue of a legal opinion that indicated that someone who has retired has earned their pension and it cannot be lawfully withheld from them.
“The salary someone earns is that which they earn in accordance with that negotiated in their contracts of employment,” the public service minister explained.
“That principle applies in general across the board.”
Mitchell said the Davis administration seeks to obtain “value for expenditures regardless whether the person is re-engaged or not”.
The public service minister slammed Minnis for what he said is an attempt to “pollute the issue” when “numerous examples” can be pointed to of his administration “paying a premium to employees
where he deemed it necessary”.
“This kind of begrudging language is what caused him to lose office,” Mitchell said.
“I wish to assure the public that the present prime minister is acutely aware of getting value for money and being prudent in the expenditure.”
The Free National Movement (FNM) government implemented the protocol in October 2017, stipulating that officers who retired before the mandatory age of retirement may be re-employed on a temporary month-to-month term, contract or 12 months’ probation in a post scale and salary commensurate with qualifications, experience and needs of the agency.
However, those individuals would have their pensions ceased during the period of re-employment and if qualified to be re-appointed to the permanent and pensionable establishment, they will have their pensions recalculated in accordance with the Pensions Act on final retirement from the public service.
Officers who retire at the mandatory retirement age may be considered for re-employment but only in exceptional cases for nurses, medical doctors, critical allied health professionals and teachers.
The pensions of those individuals were also ceased during the time of re-employment, without the opportunity for promotions.