The top five contributors to Social Security have been widely extolled and written about. They are Construction, Government & Statutory bodies, Wholesale & Retail Trades, Hotels & Restaurant (Tourism sector) and Manufacturing – not necessarily in that order. Their relative ranking may vary, but their yield and employment levels are consistently high. Conversely, there are sectors in our economy that seem to go unheralded; taken for granted. The “Private households with employed persons”, better known as home domestics or servants, is one such sector. It generates less than one percent of our annual contribution collections; it yielded EC$665,649.00 in 2009 and employed less than 220 persons. For the half of 2010, we have already collected $353,715 (or 1.03%) of all collections from this sector thus far. These domestics tend to be ‘hidden’ from view in households that cling to cliff faces, are high up in the mountains or are perched in lakes! Sometimes these houses – villas – seem empty because they are occupied for part of the year and only for brief periods. They are sometimes difficult to scout because they are often walled andsecured! Many of these domestics are immigrants, barely legal, silent and afraid. They are almost always female, and tend to be passed from owner to owner as villas change hands. These characteristics make this sector particularly challenging for our Inspectorate; and coverage of this sector is therefore less than ideal. Another set of un-insured persons, similar to the home domestics, are the seasonal fruit sellers, especially those who are immigrant, but who legally resident By virtue of their relationship to the work permit holder. Although many of them are quite willing to pay for themselves under the self employed option, they cannot because they do not meet all the Labour, Immigration and Social Security requirements. So they remain hidden – in broad daylight. Yet another sector of the economy that is of concern to us falls under the heading “Agriculture, Hunting & Forestry”, a sector that includes farmers, gardeners, bush/brush cutters and mowers of lawns. This sector generated EC$497,596 (or 0.7%) of the 2009 collections; and has so far yielded EC$235,104, on target for another 0.7% portion for 2010. According to our records, there are only 77 employers total who toil in this sector. Hardly believable in an economy that is just transitioning into a service economy! Without doing profiling, and without ‘stop and search powers’ Social Security cannot determine that a person who is mowing a lawn is not the owner or an occupant of the house, or merely doing the absentee owner a favour. The institution should not have to engage in such actions either. But By far the most shadowed sector is “Fisheries”. This put EC$9,459 into our coffers in 2009, too little to properly register on our percentage scale. It is shaping up the same way in 2010, having generated EC$4,865 in contributions up to June. Again, according to our records, less than 10 persons within the entire Federation are fishers! Maybe it is that all of our farmers and fishers are only engaged in these activities part-time and are being reported upon under their main job. If so, that is allowable, except that any undeclared income now will negatively affect their pension payouts, as well as limit the value of the short term benefits to them as an Insured Person. Maybe it is our system that needs adjusting to properly appeal to these persons as they move in and out of employment and self employment. Indeed, many of these workers have multiple employers, and are difficult to classify as one or the other. Such differentiation is critical to the institution as the premium for one is 11% while the premium for the other is 10% and excludes Employment Injury coverage regardless of the risk associated with the tasks. In other words, different rules apply, and workers just cannot be bothered to differentiate. Perhaps it is the fact that payment as an employee is wage based while payment as a self employed person is income based. The law controls the income level that is declarable By the self employed person regardless of the actual income earned. We are willing to engage in discussions that would resolve these issues. Too many elderly women have been coming to the fore with tales of woe who have been hidden away as domestic workers. We see too many old men, broken in body By years of hard agricultural toil and the salty rustiness of the sea speak the language of regret. It is time for the silence to be broken. The shadows are lengthening. Come now and let Social Security take care of you!