2022 and beyond

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED
Tourism worker Darnel Mason of VIP Attractions (seated) gets congratulatory elbow bumps from Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left) and Guardian Life President Eric Hosin. Ms. Mason was first to sign on to the historic Tourism Workers Pension Scheme following its official launch at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday January 12 2022. Witnessing the signing were (from left to right) Chairman of the TWPS Board of Trustees, Ryan Parkes; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith and EVP & Chief Investment Officer at Sagicor Group Jamaica, Sean Newman.

Its 2022, and the first month is almost knocked out the park. For many, the climate has changed, and ticking off resolutions does not seem to be the order of the year. In fact, ever since the pandemic hit some two years ago, the focus has been on surviving and getting by day by day. Maybe the one good thing from this unfortunate event, could be learning to relish life changing moments or to be creative with a smarter outlook on the future.

It might even seem frivolous that some of our goals were vanity related, and it took a pandemic for us to realize the far greater important things in life. Many professionals were cast into a net of uncertainty, as the country’s vital sectors saw rapid changes due to the threat of the coronavirus, with that came higher living expenses from being home more than usual, and the high inflation rate which continues to impact those same repeated weekly and monthly expenses.

Confusion started to reign, and experts started discussing budgeting, emergency funds, cash systems and planning for the future, and the dark and gloomy present started fading; Like the saying goes, “at the end of every tunnel, there is light”. With that ray of hope came many creative businesses and services, entrepreneurs emerged with brilliant ideas used to stay afloat or supplement their income and saving and investing was of paramount importance to even the average Joe who believed it was out of his realm and paygrade.

In keeping with the theme of impactful moments, recently, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett wore a radiant glow as he launched the long-awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme. The initiative was quite timely, as it coincided with the new year, a new resort in Trelawny and the gradual reopening of the tourism industry. The pension plan is one example of living wisely for the new year and beyond.

According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism The pension scheme, is expected to immediately benefit some 350,000 employees in the tourism sector.

It is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.  This includes hotel workers as well as persons employed in related industries, such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The Government of Jamaica is providing J$1 billion to seed the fund so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners who have met the vested period of five years.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is the biggest human capital development game-changer in the history of Jamaica’s tourism sector. It will allow thousands of tourism workers to look forward to a financially secure retirement. Currently, arrangements are being finalized with fund manager Sagicor and fund administrator Guardian Life.

Tourism’s greatest asset, the human resource is expected to experience a worry-free financial future with the plan, and since time is never on our side, seize to moment to enjoy opportunities that are bound to change the lives of you and your families, for 2022 and beyond.

Stay safe and a wonderful 2022 and beyond to everyone.

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