Social Security Celebrates 3 Milestones
The Social Security Board (SSB) is preparing to celebrate three important
milestones on Sunday January 18th, 2004, it was announced here Tuesday.
“Social Security plays an important part in the lives of people and as I
always say it follows before birth and into the grave,” said Chairperson
Mrs. Dancia Penn Sallah Q.C., OBE during a press conference.
She said at 3.30pm on Sunday, they would officially launch the new vision
and mission statements, celebrate the attainment of $200,000,000 and make a
major presentation to the Health Department.
Referring to the new vision and mission statements, Mrs. Penn Sallah said:
“these are important statements that we take very seriously…they articulate
our contract and commitment to the contributors to the scheme.”
The mission and vision statements essentially promise to safeguard funds
and pay appropriate benefits.
As at December 31st, 2003, the BVI Social Security Board attained in excess
of $200M in investments. This is comprised of $64M in CD’s, $93M in fixed
income, $12M in loans, $13M in managed assets and $1.8M in fixed assets.
“This is no mean achievement, it is an achievement of which we can be
justly proud, it is a tribute to all contributors and it is an achievement
really made by the vigorous contributions and prudent investment of the
Board,” said the SSB Chairperson.
In addition, an integral part of Social Security is that we give to the
community, she continued. She said over the years, the Board has
established a programme of donations as part of its budgetary process each
The Board has had a special relationship with the Health Department. For
example, it was the Board that contributed the Intensive Care Unit at
Peebles Hospital and donated equipment for the ambulance and other services
for the emergency room.
Director of the BVI Social Security Board Mrs. Antoinette Skelton said the
attainment of the $200M mark in investments means that “your future is
secure with Social Security”.
Meantime, 2005 marks the 25th anniversary of Social Security in the BVI and
plans are underway to observe this milestone.
Reflecting on the past 24 years, Mrs. Skelton outlined the major
achievements over the years to include an increase in staff from 4 to 32,
moving out of rented accommodation into their own quarters, from a start up
grant of $50,000 to having now paid over $32M in benefits and the Board now
fully computerized with a portfolio the envy of the Caribbean and elsewhere.
“Social Security can only be described as a resounding success,” she declared.
Chairperson Penn Sallah said the Board is by no means resting on its
laurels and are constantly looking for ways to improve. In fact, she said
the theme of the new mission and vision statements arose out of a strategic
plan developed by the Board for up to 2006.
Some of the core values of the Board arising out of the strategic plan
include integrity, impartiality, transparency, accountability, commitment,
strong public awareness, empowerment, community involvement, innovation,
prudent investment of funds and continuous learning.
On the issue of contributions, the top officials of the Social Security
Board underscored the importance of all eligible persons contributing to
the scheme, even those persons who do not intend to make the BVI their
They said one does not lose their benefits when they leave the territory.
They are also encouraging contributors to check on their status regularly
to avoid delayed benefits. If a person is aggrieved by the system, they
have a right of redress.
Turning to the problem of non-compliance, the officials said they are
seeing some improvement along the way. This year, relevant legislation
will be reviewed with a view to strengthening the penalties in this area.
They encourage workers to save their pay slips from employers to prove
their eligibility for benefits when they apply.
“So, non compliance is a challenge, but we hope to get that to zero,” the
She said the Social Security Board is preparing its annual report for 2003
and the Minister of Social Security Chief Minister Dr. the Honourable D.
Orlando Smith should receive it by March 31st.
Mrs. Skelton said the Board expects to sustain its present rate of growth
and they would find out later this year when the actuarial review is done,
when they will attain the $300M market in investments.
The Chairperson of the Board ended by paying tribute to the staff, former
members of the Board and the government for the support over the years. In
tributing the past Board members, she said they all rendered yeoman service.
Sunday’s event will be held at the Joshua Smith Social Security Building on
Sunday January 18th, 2004 at 3.30pm.
The building is named in honour of the first Director of the BVI Social
Security Board. Mr. Smith served from 1979 until his death in 1989.
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