PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Government Pensioners Association Charles Jones is encouraging more persons to join the organisation, as it seeks to extend its reach to assist more retirees.
"We are on a drive this year to start new chapters and to get new members to increase our income, because we have to do our part," he told JIS News during the entity's 47th annual general meeting, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday.
He stressed that it is important for more persons to join the organisation, which seeks to enhance the welfare of all government pensioners, "because the subscriptions will help us in our administrative costs".
"We have been assisted by Government, but we have to think more about assisting ourselves, especially in the climate we now find ourselves," Jones said.
The president said the association is grateful to the Government, which has been "very receptive to the demand of government pensioners" over the years, not only in providing accommodation, but also helping financially.
"We continue to work with the government to see how best we can get benefits for the pensioners. We know it's tight, but we ask for an increase in pension each year (and) we have been fortunate over the past years. We hope this will continue and we also talk with government about seeking enhanced benefits under our health scheme," he said.
The entity also makes appropriate representations to Government or others in respect of matters affecting the condition of pensioners. Its functions are carried out in collaboration with the agencies with responsibility for government pensioners -- the Accountant General's Department, Ministry of Finance and Planning, and the National Insurance Scheme. The group also liaises with Sagicor Life, the providers of the pensioners' health scheme.
The 47-year old organisation which currently has five chapters in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester and St James, is registered under the Registrar of Companies and Friendly Societies.
Charles said that to become members of the organisation, individuals must have worked with the government or statutory bodies and are in receipt of a pension from the government.