Caroni pensioners worry over $$
Thursday, January 3 2013
THE Caroni Workers Group of Pensioners has expressed concern over the non-payment of outstanding pensions arising out of a $79 million surplus from the Caroni Staff Employees Pension Fund.
In a letter to chairman of Republic Bank Ronald Harford, dated January 2, the group which consists of more than 1,000 persons, noted pensioners were bewildered at the inability of the bank to wind up the fund. The group asked that the bank tell them the status of the fund which has a balance of $79 million, and a date for the final payment.
Leader of the group Rakeeb Mohammed said this issue has been going on for the past four years.
He explained that at the closure of Caroni 1975 Limited in 2003, there was a surplus of $79 million which according to the rules and regulations of the pension fund should be divided amongst the workers and added on to the pension. Mohammed said the bank, KR Consultants, Guardian Life and Caroni 1975 Limited were responsible for the fund.
“They told us in 2008 that within a year or two they might finish doing the calculations for the payment. They said it would take that long because they have to get every worker who was on the plan and make sure they did not leave out anybody and they took three years to do it,” Mohammed said.
The group was then promised that by November 30, 2010 all calculations would have been completed and monies would have been paid. Then the date was moved to March 2011 and then to May of the same year.
“After that, we got a written document that they will finish the calculation and payment will be made on or before July 2012. On June 27, they called and asked for a one month extension till August 2 and since then the bank has not given us any word despite the numerous letters we have written and the dozens of phone calls we have made,” he said.
He warned if the Bank continues to ignore them, they will protest in front of the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair in a few weeks and demand that the Government intervene so the workers can get their monies. Newsday tried to contact Managing Director of Republic Bank David Dulal-Whiteway but up to news time, he did not answer his mobile phone.