A candidate for the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is following plans to lead a picket line outside the Antigua and Barbuda Social Security Board (ABSSB) offices on Long Street this morning.
Franz deFreitas, the party’s representative for the St John’s City South constituency, is inviting residents to gather from 7.30am to support seniors who have faced difficulties in receiving their Social Security benefits in a timely manner.
“Many retirees have been negatively affected by this incident and some of them have turned to crime and begging,” deFreitas said.
“I think that’s not good for our seniors, and unless we stand up as a nation and say it’s inappropriate not to respect our seniors, it looks like we’re going to continue to abuse them and I’m not. tolerate that.”
Earlier this month, ABSSB executive director David Matthias told Observer that the board of directors had received a $10 million cash injection from the government covering all outstanding pension payments for the months of September and October, and the ABSSB was working on it. making the payments.
Incidentally, in a notice posted earlier this week, the ABSSB informed retirees that payments for November would have begun yesterday, November 29, and that checks would be distributed according to their surname.
The $10 million injection into Social Security was made possible by a $25 million loan to the government from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Meanwhile, deFreitas believes the statutory company’s move to cover the outstanding retirees is in response to the picket announcement.
He urged that the government and related organizations be held accountable.
“Just because you’ve paid for the months you’re open doesn’t mean we go home and forget you don’t respect us; we are talking about a pattern here. We want to break that pattern; we want you to be aware that we will keep your feet by the fire. Not just for the last time, but for the future,” said the UPP candidate.
“From where I sit, there are two groups of people you don’t play with in Antigua and Barbuda — the seniors who put in their time and work, and the kids who are coming up in the next generation,” he said.
Meanwhile, deFreitas said another picket line this time outside the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) premises, specifically the Water Business Unit, is also in the works, and the date and time will be announced shortly.