FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2012
PHILIPSBURG–A proposal to increase the mandatory pension age will be forwarded to Parliament for approval in under three months, Prime Minister/General Affairs Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told the Central Committee of Parliament on Thursday. The current pension age is 60; she didn’t indicate what the new age would be.
The Council of Ministers is reviewing the pension age and pension amount received monthly by senior citizens. Both measures are aimed at ensuring that the General Pension Fund APS remains sustainable, considering the aging of the population.
A rough estimate of seniors registered in the Civil Registry as of Thursday, is 6,575. Government estimates that the number will grow to 7,304 by next year; to 10,692 by 2017 and 15,668 in a decade. Those figures will also form the part of the discussion on adequate health insurance coverage and access to health care.
“We need to discuss aging in St. Maarten,” Wescot-Williams said.
Government is analysing how to better provide services to the elderly. This is an area being addressed via the Integrated Neighbourhood Development Programme.
Wescot-Williams: Pension age and amount proposal in three months
St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has informed parliament that a proposal should be tabled within the next two to three months on raising the mandatory pension age. The Council of Ministers is currently dealing with this matter alongside a discussion on a proposal to increase the amount of the AOV pension. The point of departure for both adjustments will be ensuring that the pension fund remains sustainable.
One of the things the government is considering as part of crafting its proposal is the rough estimates it has on the amount of elderly people who live in St. Maarten. As of June 14 the government estimates that there are 6, 575 pensioners in St. Maarten. The government estimates the figure will climb to 7, 304 next year, to 10, 692 by 2017 and 15, 668.
“These are rough figures but they give us a signal for discussions on things like health insurance. We now have a trend to look at. The ratio between the working population and the elderly needs to be looked at. We need to discuss aging in St. Maarten,” Wescot-Williams said.
Government is also busy examining its service to the elderly and how to build a social safety net for the elderly and other vulnerable groups. One of the ways information is being gathered is through the implementation of the Integrated Neighborhood Development Program. Under this program people can visit community help desks to share their concerns about services and be pointed in the direction of where they can receive assistance if they need it. In terms of the elderly the government is also promoting the establishment of senior citizen lines at all departments where a service is offered.