Court of Appeal upholds former NIB director’s pension benefit award

Court of Appeal upholds former NIB director’s pension benefit award

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Court of Appeal has upheld a Supreme Court judge’s decision to award a former National Insurance Board Director seven years of pension benefits. 

NIB had appealed a decision of Justice Diane Stewart, who, in an April 28, 2023 ruling, determined that NIB “negligently misrepresented” to Rowena Bethel that she could participate in its staff pension plan as “an inducement” to encourage her to sign a three-year contract to become its director in July 2013. 

The verdict noted how Ms. Bethel “made clear” to former Prime Minister Perry Christie and then-Minister responsible for NIB, Shane Gibson, that her acceptance of the job at NIB depended on her receiving a NIB pension due to her severe rheumatoid arthritis and her need to plan for future medical care costs financially. 

However, it was only after she chose not to renew her Contract due to a “breakdown in her relationship with key individuals at NIB” and deteriorating health that Ms Bethel was informed she was not entitled to any pension payouts. This was because the NIB pension scheme’s rules stipulated that individuals on fixed-term contracts. Bethel contended she was never informed of this before becoming the top executive and initiated legal action seeking damages for “breach of contract or misrepresentation” after receiving no pension for seven years. 

Justice Stewart had ruled in favor of Ms. Bethel and awarded her damages equivalent to the monthly $8,207 payment she had chosen to receive as pension benefits upon her departure. These payments were to take effect from her early July 2016 departure, totaling nearly $750,000 in outstanding pension payouts. 

The appellate court dismissed NIB’s appeal on all but one ground, setting aside the order of Justice Stewart that Ms. Bethel was entitled to the $130,216.80 paid to the Office of the Prime Minister to bridge her pension. The Court of Appeal ordered that NIB pay to Ms Bethel damages in the monthly sum of $8,206.58 from the date of the termination of her Contract and payable as determined under the Pension Plan. NIB is entitled to retain the sum of $130,216.80 paid by the Office of the Prime Minister to bridge Ms. Bethel’s pension as well as her contributions of $25,683.84, which was deducted from her monthly salary representing her contributions to the Pension Plan. NIB has been ordered to pay to Ms. Bethel interest at the statutory rate from the date of judgment to the date of payment and pay to Ms Bethel the costs of the appeal.


Thank God…justice is being done. Today, we have to literally fight tooth and nail for our rights. We have been patient…endured…suffered…however faith and perservence will prevail. The time has come!
Thanks for justice well served.

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