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Senate approves pensions plan

Senators approved a bill allowing Government to withhold its contributions to the civil servants’ pension fund for one year.

The measure will free up $31 million to be spent elsewhere during the next fiscal year. The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance tried to block the measure without success.

Senator Michael Fahy from that party complained about being asked to approve the move when the latest actuarial report the Upper House saw on the fund dates from 2008. The next one will not be available until the summer session of Parliament, according to Junior Finance Minister David Burt.

Sen Fahy said he did not understand how his party could be asked to back the legislation “without knowing the true facts”.

Without the report, he said, the process was “meaningless, totally meaningless”.

He added: “Seeing this Budget I don’t believe it. It’s like Bizarro World to me”.

He and his party colleagues Toni Daniels and Michael Dunkley voted against the bill.

However, Independent Senators James Jardine, Joan Dillas-Wright and Carol Ann Bassett, who did not speak during the debate, voted in favour of the move.

Their votes, together with those of the five Government Senators allowed it to pass.

Sen Burt assured as he introduced the bill that it was a temporary measure and would have no impact on benefits paid out to retirees as the money will be topped back up in future.

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Published March 24, 2012 at 8:49 am (Updated March 24, 2012 at 8:48 am)

Senate approves pensions plan

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