Amidst concerns from Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) that money from the Social Security Board (SSB) is being used in the Government's COVID-19 stimulus package, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said the money is the people's money and it will be put to work for them.
"We were able to get a grant from Social Security, now I know some persons asking why a grant why not a loan.... and I asked persons why not?"
The Premier was at the time speaking on the Tuesday, June 2, 2020, edition of the 'Honestly Speaking' radio show on ZBVI 780 AM when he said over the years, SSB monies have been invested in several projects and even given to the non-governmental organisations.
SSB helping in time of need - Premier Fahie
"So the question is, if it's our money and we won't ask about those investments, but they are good investments, then in time of need, we can ask for our money to work for us."
Premier Fahie on Thursday evening, May 28, 2020, had announced a 62.9M Phase 2 Economic Stimulus Plan that has seen the allocation of funds to various sectors and initiatives.
The stimulus plan has received an injection of $40M grant from Social Security Board (SSB) and since then, Opposition Leader Hon Penn has questioned the legality of using SSB funds to help the people of the Territory.
Premier Fahie said the money being used to help the Territory during the COVID-19 pandemic, "It's plain, simple in terms of common sense, but we have to be accountable about it and we have to understand that while it is our money, we have to be good stewards of our money and it has to be for a good cause," he told moderator Claude O. Skelton-Cline.
Gov't will be accountable with $$$ - Hon Fahie
The Premier said if the Government uses the money in an accountable manner and invests in the people through the grant, the returns will be greater.
"We have shown that this investment is in a time when people need help, if we don't help them then they can't work, businesses will close up, we won't be able to get certain stimulus to them, and then the question will be who will be paying Social Security and NHI?"
Hon Fahie also revealed that an actuarial study was carried out by Derek Osborne, formerly of Morneau Shepell (Bahamas) Ltd, showing that the SSB has the financial strength to support a well designed targeted income support programme for workers.
An actuary study uses math and statistics to estimate the financial impact of uncertainty to help minimise risk.