Janice Harris was all smiles today, full of praise to God and thanks to Government for reversing a massive cut of her public service pension.
Harris, 55, protested in front of the Houses of Parliament last week about her Government pension which was cut from $628 to $47.51 in April, prompting a meeting with Minister of Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey.
The former maid who was retired medically unfit from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said that before last month she was receiving $608 from the Treasury as a part of her Government pension, later increased to $628, plus an invalidity benefit of over $800, she said.
She used this money to pay her utilities and buy food for her household but protested being virtually empty-handed without warning.
After meeting Humphrey, Harris called on Prime Minister Mottley to make an immediate intervention so the lives of medically unfit people could be improved.
She said: “I am going to be real with you; Mia has to touch this. However, it turns out, Mia Mottley has to address it and deal with it. This is month end; all the treasury is telling us that the National Insurance Scheme cannot change the rule.
“The only body that could change it in this country for all the people that are in this position is Prime Minister Mia Mottley. The Prime Minister needs to take it back to Parliament.
“What the Prime Minister needs to do is to address the issue and come and speak to the people of Barbados who are medically unfit, cannot get their bills paid and cannot get food to eat because this is a crisis in Barbados.”
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at her Chelston Lane, St Michael home, Harris, an ordained evangelist invoked the Almighty frequently, saying she could not receive the “victory” of having the pensions revoked since it was God who told her to go to Parliament and protest.
“I did not win the victory by myself. Let me explain. As a prophetess of God, the burden of Barbados, the situation of Barbados under the leading of the Holy Ghost and the inspiration of God I was selected to go to Broad Street and speak to a nation and Government that God would not allow the poor to suffer in this country.”
Harris said she was overwhelmed by the response to her story I Protest! in Barbados TODAY.
She said: “It is overwhelming, it is touching, it is joy, it is unspeakable, it is full of glory to see how the hearts of Barbadians who would have suffered in this position. It truly broke my heart this morning.”
On Friday, in an apparent reference to Harris’s complaint, Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan Friday said on Voice of Barbados radio the pension adjustment went against the current social security regulations and Government’s overall philosophy.
Jordan said: “We as a Government have to do what is necessary to protect people because to move a person from in some cases, $1,100 down to $600 a month is not tenable for us.
“As a party in office expected by the people of the country to look out for them that is something that you cannot just force on people so we decided to reverse it. I am saying in a few days because I am not entirely versed on all the processes that need to go into making a reality.”
Harris said she is happy that pensioners will be getting back the money they worked earnestly for in the public service.
She said: “I am feeling good because God is good. To God be the glory great things he hath done. My soul is truly blessed because many who were in the same position as me are smiling today.
“I give thanks to all of those that support me in prayers. I give thanks unto God, I knew he would never fail us, and I am thankful to God for touching the hearts of the Prime Minister to put back our pensions, so we can buy food and pay our bills and live a normal life.”
The single mother of an 18-year-old son who told Barbados TODAY she became an ordained evangelist in 1984, said her act will show Barbadians that God is still in charge of Barbados.
“Barbadians must remember where they came from. Barbadians must remember that the mercies of God endureth forever.
“As a prophetess of God he was showing me the condition of this nation and he inspired me through the Holy Ghost to go to Broad Street and speak out for the people that are medically unfit and I just want to give God thanks, I want to give God praises and honour because when I look back I see it was all about God.”
Harris offer this prayer for Barbados and its leader: “I pray that you will take control over our political system. I pray for the Prime Minister of Barbados that she would surrender her life to Jesus Christ. I pray this morning that she would get on her knees and say she surrenders all. It is only through the grace of Jesus Christ the Prime Minister of Barbados can make this country a better Barbados.”