The more I become exposed to Social Security through international training, the more I hear presenters describe Social Security as a fundamental human right even when a country’s constitution does not expressly say so. Some point to the UN declarations that we are signatories to in order to justify their position. How true is this assertion in the context of St Kitts & Nevis? Here, Social Security is an insurance of wages. One has to be employed in order to be an active member of the system. All of our benefits – except the Old Age Assistance Pension, the Invalidity Assistance Pension and the maternity grant – are wage indexed. So the question then becomes, if you do not work and never worked, how does a wage based entitlement become a basic human right? Rights come with obligations! Therefore in order for our social security to become a right, the individual must exercise his obligation to the institution. In other words, seek work – including self employment and meet your obligations. For those persons who cannot – not will not – work, yes provisions have been made for them through the existence of the Invalidity Assistance Pension for persons younger than 62 years, and the Non-Contributory Assistance Pension for persons older than 62. It is that $250.00 per month. On many occasions we have been advised to discontinue this service, but we realize and recognize that it is difficult to eliminate, but it must be controlled. We are very vigilant on this issue, and demand full disclosure for all applicants into this programme. When we made a presentation at a recent conference in Mexico City, we spoke about coverage, and disclosed that, By our statistics and compared to our population data, less than 60% of our population is covered under our system. The remaining 40%, we argued, were schoolchildren and persons of means. It is probably less than the 60% when we consider that not all of our Insured Persons are citizens and nationals of the Federation. This then is our challenge, to achieve as perfect coverage as possible, because everyone has a right to be covered. One way of achieving perfection is to register persons at birth, at attaining the age of majority and upon gaining legal immigrant status. But that would change our focus to that of a registry as opposed to our current focus of providing pecuniary benefits to our membership against loss of income caused By temporary inability to work or old age. Another way to become all inclusive is to recognize work wherever and howsoever it occurs and register those persons so engaged. Full time home-makers whose husbands or significant others wish to recognize the work that they do, and those part-time vendors of fruits from Nevis, and now church workers ought to be brought into the family. For some countries whose Social Security system is different to ours, perhaps it has become a fundamental Human right. For example, in many countries in Central and South America, Social Security provides much of the country’s safety net. They run hospitals; operate retirement homes, child care and elderly services; provide banking functions, and so on. In these circumstances, it is understandable, to my mind, that those services can be deemed as basic human rights. In considering whether Social Security should be touted as a basic right in our country, it may be wise to study the state of Social Security in those countries where it is considered a basic human right and determine whether such a right played a part in making the systems they way that they are now. Meanwhile, for my part, let us keep what we have and improve upon it where we can. But that is only my opinion. It is not the official position of the St Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board.