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Rush to judgment in pension mishap

Dear Sir,

It was with interest that I read the article ”Couple left in the lurch over unpaid pension”.

I am saddened that Catherine Gregory has been terribly inconvenienced by the failure to receive what she rightfully earned.

What is even sadder is that when there were 19 comments, no one expressed sympathy for her. Rather, it was used as an opportunity to denigrate the Progressive Labour Party and civil servants.

The venom being hurled included accusations of theft and reference to Mrs Gregory's loss being equal to the amount spent on a week's junket somewhere — government minister inferred — to the PLP being called a disgrace and a joke.

Eighteen of the comments lay the fault at the feet of PLP. Only one suggests that the fault may lie elsewhere.

Let us examine the facts: Mrs Gregory was receiving her pension, as it was being deposited with a local bank. She switched to an overseas credit union in May, but instructed the authorities in August to send her pension overseas. As a consequence, Crown Agents Bank became involved.

Until 1997, Crown Agents was a public statutory corporation under Britain's Ministry of Overseas Development. It was originally established to conduct financial transactions on behalf of British colonies. The functions grew to include, inter alia, accounting, supply purchasing and staff recruitment. In April 2016, the financial services arm was sold to Helios Investment Partners.

I do not believe that the Bermuda Government would have reason to think that Crown Agents, which was founded in 1749, would sell an arm of its business to an entity that could not maintain high standards.

In the present situation, the question must be, where does the failure actually lie and how can it be remedied?

This rush to negative judgment speaks volumes about the “elephant in the room”. The PLP members wear green to show solidarity. Obviously many of their critics are green — with envy.



Happier times: David and Catherine Gregory at their wedding in 2012. The couple's life has been upended after eight months without their Bermuda Government pension (Photograph from Facebook)

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Published January 10, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated January 09, 2020 at 10:52 pm)

Rush to judgment in pension mishap

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