RADIO ADDRESS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY WEEK 2018 BY CHAIRMAN OF SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD MR. SEAN RICHARD
The Anguilla Social Security Board is celebrating its week under the theme: “Social Security: Supporting a Culture of National Resilience”. The Anguilla Social Security Board truly embraces national resilience wholeheartedly. It epitomizes the true fabric of the Anguilla people. The Anguilla Social Security Board was created by the visionary leader, Honorable James Ronald Webster and a group of patriots who saw the need to have a system of national insurance for the workers of Anguilla.
However, despite this great initiative, they were confronted with obstacles and resistance. They did not waiver nor got discouraged by opposing views. They actually became more and more resilient. It was a commitment to a vision for a system that would immensely benefit the people of Anguilla. Honorable James Ronald Webster and his patriots knew that failure was not an option, so with dedication and steadfast approach, the Social Security Act was passed on November 3rd, 1980, and the Social Security System commenced operations on January 1st, 1982. That demonstrated true resilience!
This national resilience can be seen throughout Anguilla. Just over a year ago, we were devastated by the passage of Hurricane Irma. While most of us are back to our normal lives, we cannot forget that ordeal, and how it has brought our people together. Therefore, I must remind the people of Anguilla to continue to be thankful for our Anguillian spirit which exhibits national resilience in the face of adversities. This national resilience was displayed throughout the island in the various communities, and I will just give a few examples:
- With the sudden changes in the education system; students, teachers and parents willingly adapted to the dramatic shift from the norms. You will agree with me that we have adjusted beyond our expectations to the early morning and evening classes and creatively organized functioning classrooms, where classes were resumed in a relatively short period of time. which is beyond what we anticipated.
- Resilience was also seen through the citizens, who organized island-wide clean-up campaigns shortly after the hurricane. This was necessary because of the urgency in ensuring that the world knows that although we were badly battered, our island is back and stronger than ever.
- Health professionals went beyond the call of duty with love and care to the patients during and after the storm, in extremely difficult circumstances.
- Hospitality workers, construction workers and utility companies worked longer, challenging hours, day and night, to rebuild our tourism product, and to restore the infrastructure of the island.
- Also, family, friends and kind-hearted persons worldwide came to the aid of the Anguillan people without hesitation.
- And finally, the Anguilla Social Security Board and the Government of Anguilla partnered together in assisting workers who found themselves unemployed and underemployed due to Hurricane Irma. This was done by creating an unemployment benefit program for a specific period which was able to pay benefits of over 1.7 million dollars to qualified, unemployed and underemployed workers who were affected. Once again, the Social Security System was able to stand in the gap - supporting a culture of national resilience.
These are just a few examples of citizens of Anguilla being resolute in moving the country forward by just being resilient.
Anguilla has always been a culture that embodies the concept of resilience. Hurricane Irma tested our resilience as a people and as a nation. Through the terrifying storms and devastating aftermath, we knew that deep down in our soul storms don’t last forever, and whatever damages we sustained can be fixed. The Anguillian spirit had endured many trials and tribulations throughout time, but due to our people’s determination, will not be shattered or defeated. We will not live in self-pity or be discouraged because we are strong and we are resilient.
On behalf of the Social Security Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Management and Staff at Social Security for their faithful and unyielding support to the organization. The devotion to delivering optimal service to the people of Anguilla is praiseworthy. It is truly a blessing to be part of an organization with employees who continue to be resilient in honoring Honorable James Ronald Webster’s vision of Social Security. The Social Security Board is honored to be a part of such a resilient society, and to continue to support a culture of resilience through a strong, sustainable Social Security Fund and meaningful social security benefits.