In January 2011, 20 of the 22 amendments to National Insurance legislation took effect, positioning the social security programme to be more relevant, responsive and sustainable into the future. The two amendments that were delayed and took effect in July 2013 were:
o Changing the wage ceiling for pensionable Civil Servants to that of all other contributors; and
o Including in insurable wages, gratuities and tips that are paid as part of regular wages for workers in the hospitality sector.
Two landmark achievements were among the 20 which took effect in 2011 – automatic increases to pensions in payment linked to increases in the cost of living, and automatic increases in the wage ceiling on which workers pay contributions.
The first automatic increase in pensions was made in July 2012, when Grants and pensions in payment were increased by up to 4.6%. The 4.6% represented a combination of the change in the retail price index over the previous two years – 1.4% in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011.
The insurable wage ceiling was increased from $500 per week to $600 per week in July 2012, with automatic increases set to start in 2014. From 2014 onward, increases would be made every two years, aligned with changes in The Bahamas Retail Price Index over the prior two calendar years plus 2%.
2012 also brought ministerial and Board-level changes for NIB. Social Security was taken out of the Ministry of Finance and placed within the Ministry of Labour & National Insurance, headed by the Honourable D. Shane Gibson, M.P.
Gregory Moss, M.P., replaced Patrick Ward as Chairman of the National Insurance Board in 2012, and Fr. Dr. James Moultrie replaced him in January 2013.
In 2012, there were several key changes in the personnel of the Board’s executive management team: Cecile Williams-Bethel, former Deputy Director for Operations, returned to the Board as Senior Deputy Director; V. Theresa Burrows, former Deputy Director with responsibility for Human Resources and Training, returned as Deputy Director with responsibility for Administration & Business Support Services; Anthony Curtis former Senior Deputy Director with responsibility for Operations, who had served as Acting Director in 2008, returned as Assistant Director responsible for the Family Island offices and Operations Training; and Gerard Elliott joined the team as Assistant Director, New Providence Operations.
In November, Williams-Bethel was appointed to the position of Acting-Director in the absence of sitting Director Cargill, who was the primary subject of a forensic investigation into certain affairs at NIB.