Recently, Government House suggested that the government employee pension system consider reinstating loans to its members. With GERS on the verge of collapse, this suggestion verges on the ridiculous.
How is an institution that is currently bleeding and liquidating funds on a monthly basis to meet its obligations to lend more money to its members? With the demise of the system measured in months rather than years, how does that help anyone?
Over the past few months, we have heard about an advisory committee being set up to address this issue. Warnings were to begin to retirees and current members, on how to prepare for its failure, and now talk about loans? It seems that in the chaos of the looming crisis, the government is omnipresent on this file.
The disappearance of a pension system is a disaster for everyone. Crisis for those who relied on money in their old age, and for those who have put in tens of thousands of dollars that they will never see. It will be devastating for all these people who will lose their jobs and for the circulation of money in the community, it will decrease. It will put pressure on any nonprofit that tries to help, and most importantly, it’s something that we have all seen coming for decades and that we have not prepared for. It may also be time to look at other pension systems that were underfunded and see if partial solutions were achievable. Also, let us not continue to be fooled into thinking that we are going to find the necessary amount of money each month to fund this system or that the federal government is going to bail us out.
Loans? Clear and honest information is what everyone needs. Exactly how much time is left before the system crashes? Will the payments be halved? Will GERS real estate assets like Havensight Mall be sold to be added to the pot?
It is time for the government to drop all nonsense talk and organize workshops and advice to help retirees, contributors and the community face the next painful blow.
– Maria Ferreras is a longtime St. Thomas resident and community volunteer.