Regional governments urged to develop social security systems

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Antigua and Barbuda were amongst several Caribbean islands that were urged to ensure that its social security systems are strong enough to withstand the economic shocks from the global economic crisis.

At the 28th Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Social Security Meeting in Barbados urged regional countries to ensure that their social security systems are strong enough to withstand the economic shocks from the global economic crisis.

Addressing delegates at the 28th Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Social Security Meeting, Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development Minister, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo of Barbados said that despite the challenges to social security systems on account of the global economic crisis, the population will still be dependent on their pensions and benefits long after the recession has passed.

Cognizant of the pressures on the various social security institutions across the region she said, “It is therefore important, now more than ever before, that you ensure the viability of your schemes in the face of such pressure.”

Noting that most social security systems in the region encountered similar challenges such as globalization; low coverage among self-employed persons and the informal sector; the demographic shift towards aging populations; and the high rate of chronic NCDs, the Labour Minister said the meeting’s theme “Sustaining Social Security Systems in the Context of Economic and Social Pressures” was timely given the prevailing circumstances.

“The one positive is that if we realize we are in this together, that we have more similarities than differences and put our heads together, then, as they say, two heads are better than one.  Meetings such as this provide the opportunity to discuss matters of common interest, share ideas and chart the best way forward for your various organizations,” Suckoo said.

The meeting was attended by delegates from Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Barbados. •

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