This week, we feature the winning essays from our schools competition. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who entered. My country benefits from Social Security in many ways The Social Security Fund commenced on February 1, 1978. This replaced the system that was in place up to 1977 known as the Provident Fund. The former system did not cover the workers adequately. The Social Security system provides a wider range of benefits to workers. This essay will highlight some of the ways in which my country, St. Kitts and Nevis, benefits from the Social Security Scheme. Firstly, the Social Security Scheme provides basic protection for insured persons when their economic security is threatened. This protection comes in form of various benefits programme for the insured persons and their families or beneficiaries when there is a loss or reduction of their earnings. This can be as a result of sickness, invalidity, pregnancy, retirement, death and injury. In these challenging situations the Social Security Scheme pays various benefits such as Sickness, Invalidity, Maternity, Age Pension, Survivors Pension and Injury Benefits. Secondly, the expansion of the Social Security coverage to persons who did not contribute to the fund but without a secure source of income helps the poor in my country to survive. This very significant contribution of Social Security helps curb poverty in the society. Many old people benefit greatly from this assistance. Thirdly, my country benefits from Social Security in the area of health. Each year Social Security puts aside US$100,000.00 to give to the health services in my country. This money is used to purchase equipment and vehicles for the hospitals, health centres and solid waste organizations. For instance, Social Security contributed an x-ray machine to St. Kitts, an incubator and garbage truck to Nevis. We always hear that “Health is Wealth.” So, when Social Security contributes to the health sector all our people benefit for we receive better health care at our health facilities. Fourthly, we benefit educationally from high school, university and technical vocational scholarship programmes provided By Social Security. These programmes provide financial support for the education of our students. For instance, Warren Moving of Nevis received a scholarship to study accounting at university level and is now contributing to the development of my country. Fifthly, my country benefits from the contributions that Social Security makes to national events such as sporting activities, Culturama, the music festival and Carnival. Their contributions help to ensure that these events are successful. They also help to stimulate our economy. Lastly, the government acquires funding for the building of low and middle-income housing and other national projects from Social Security. This helps citizens to become homeowners and improve their standard of living. The construction of these houses also provide employment for construction workers. Social Security contributes to the development of my country in the areas of health, education, culture, sports and housing. I think that Social Security is a good scheme for it gives back to my country and assists in its development. Let us all support Social Security Written By Keannie Brown, Grade 6 student, Ivor Walters Primary School The Role of Social Security in Stimulating our Economy Can you imagine the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis without Social Security? Certainly I cannot; that would be an awful situation! Why? Social Security is the biggest source of financial resources in the country. The Social Security Board of St. Kitts and Nevis has, for the past 31 years, been working hard to make our people feel secure, safe and confident in times of need. The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board’s 30th anniversary magazine tells me that Social Security is financially strong. In other words, Social Security is rich and wealthy. It now has assets close to one billion dollars and has been described as one of the best funded systems in the Caribbean. Surely, with such wealth, Social Security has a role in stimulating our economy. Stimulating the economy means introducing plans, programmes or projects to help our people enjoy a better life. It means that institutions and businesses like Government and Social Security can act to boost our economy so that our people would be better able to cope with the economic downturn. When I think of stimulating the economy, I think of President Obama’s “Cash for clunkers” and all that talk about giving the right people more money in their pockets to spend and invest. I wonder about the special programmes already introduced By Social Security to assist Government, businesses and citizens in my country. I imagine that with over one billion dollars, Social Security can really boost and maintain the wealth of our twin-island Federation and help to prevent businesses from failing and people losing their jobs. It is well known that Social Security has used its wealth to finance loans, scholarships and mortgages. It has made contributions to government for housing, health, education and business development. This has allowed Government to use its own funds for other important projects which encourages our people to spend more. When we spend more, businesses earn more and government makes more money from collecting taxes from these businesses. These taxes allow Government to introduce new programmes such as the YES programme to employ persons who never had a job before or who lost their jobs during bad times. Social Security must continue to find new ways to improve the lives of every citizen in St. Kitts and Nevis. If I were to put a stimulus package together to help Social Security play a more important role in my country, I would ask the board to increase benefits to citizens and reduce the social security contributions By businesses for a short period of time to prevent layoffs and even provide more jobs for young people like me when I complete my studies. I would like to feel as secure and safe as our people feel today. Social Security “must contribute to the development of the young who shoulder the future success of our Social Security product” (Hon Sam Condor) and continue to protect the quality of life of people like you and I. Written By Jael Gumbs, 1A1 student, Washington Archibald High School Note: There were insufficient entries for a proper assessment at the Tertiary level.
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