It is appropriate to indicate very briefly the historical sequence of events which led to the proclamation of Act No. 35 of 1971.
After a series of joint studies undertaken by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the International Labour Organisation from as early as 1958, a small Unit of Public Servants was set up in the Ministry of Finance in 1966 under the direct supervision of its Parliamentary Secretary, to undertake preparatory work for developing a comprehensive system of Social Security for Trinidad and Tobago.
Two major developments resulted from the work of the Unit. Firstly, a Division of Pensions and National Insurance was established in the Ministry of Finance in 1968, and secondly, a White Paper on Social Security for Trinidad and Tobago was prepared and circulated for public comment in September 1969. There ensued from the evaluation of public comment, a series of tripartite discussions between Government, representatives of the Business sector and the Labour movement. Following on this, a Tripartite Conference on Social Security was organized to examine in detail the contents of the White Paper and comments associated therewith. Consequent upon the conclusion of the Conference, a new document was published incorporating the combined views of government, Business and Labour.
The next stage in the development of the National Insurance System related to the drafting of the relevant legislation. This was undertaken in two phases.
The first step required the enactment of registration laws, which put an obligation on employers to register themselves and also to ensure the registration of workers in their employment. Act No. 42 of 1970 provided for this. In addition, it provided for authorised officers in the service of the Division of Pensions and National Insurance, (which by now had been re-assigned from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Co-operatives) to be empowered to perform certain functions in respect of the registration of employers and employed persons.
The second step involved the enactment of the principal legislation, provided for the establishment of a National Insurance System, deriving income and paying benefits from compulsory contributions paid by employers and employees. The principal instrument, Act No. 35 of 1971, also made provision for the management of the system, its mode of operations, the proclamation of appointed days for bringing the system into operation and for the introduction of several benefits, and other related matters considered necessary to its efficient and effective functioning . The appointed day for bringing National Insurance on stream was April 10th, 1972.
It will be readily appreciated that the introduction of a system of such
magnitude, directly affecting the lives of a substantial percentage of the
citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, had to be preceded by a vast education
campaign. This important pre-legislation phase of development was conducted
for a period of almost two years and involved every member of staff. Seminars,
lectures, discussions and informal talks were held throughout Trinidad and
Tobago. Pamphlets, posters and handbills were extensively used to spread
knowledge about the system. The programme was spear-headed by the Public
Relations Department which, with a minimum of staff, performed a public
education feat of no mean significance.
(Extracted from the Annual Report of the National Insurance Board for the period ended 30th June 1973)
The First Board of Directors
|Chairman||Mervyn M. Souza|
|Deputy Chairman||Leonard Williams||Lennox Farrell|
|Francis Corbie||Thomas A. Cross|
|Hercules N. Adams||Harvey Lewis|
|Louis Blanche-Fraser||Denis de Verteuil|
|Colin P. D’Arcy||Louis Rostant|
|Diana Mahabir (Mrs)||Gordon Mancini|
|Cyril Lopez||Nathaniel Crichlow|
|Gadraj Singh||Carlton Savary|
|Elton Peters||Ursula Gittens (Mrs)|
R.H. Paul –
|Executive Director||Lennox R.H. Paul|
|Controller, Administration||Euadne Gordon (Mrs)|
|Comptroller, Finance and Accounts||Claire B. Idowu (Mrs) (Ag)|
|Comptroller, Research And Development||Maurice Gobin|
|Secretary||Janice Chu Him (Ms)|