Seaview Farm resident demands fair British pension

From left to right - John Duffy (Antigua), Anne Puckridge (Canada), Ian Andexser (Canada), Monica Philip (Antigua), Brian Owles (Australia)

Seaview Farm resident, Monica Philip was among a group of British ‘frozen’ pensioners who recently travelled to the U.K. to present their case to British MPs and to deliver a 218,660 signature petition to 10 Downing Street.

John Duffy is another such, and he said, “the U.K. government discriminates against certain pensioners dependent upon where they live and freezes their pension at the level when it was first paid”.

Duffy, a British national, who resides in Antigua, is the Chairman of the International Consortium of British Pensioners. He informed OBSERVER media, in a release, that representatives from Canada, Australia and the Caribbean flew to the U.K. to meet with British MPs in the Houses of Parliament to argue their case for fair and equal treatment in the payment of their British pensions.  

According to the release, Philip was one of the Windrush generation who went to work in the U.K. at the age of 20 but returned to Antigua after 38 years to look after her ailing mother. 

The release states that when Philip returned to Antigua, her pension “was frozen forever with no increases but if she had lived in Barbados or Jamaica or even one of the French, Dutch or U.S. islands her pension would have increased every year”.

The release emphasises that only pensioners in the former British islands (except Jamaica and Barbados) are cheated out of their pensions in this way.

The release highlighted that Philip‘s younger sister who remained in the U.K. now has a pension which is nearly twice that of what Phillip currently receives.

Philip, as part of the visiting group, was invited to 10 Downing Street to deliver the petition and meet with a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister. However, the Prime Minister was not available but a request was made to meet with the Prime Minister in the spring of next year.

During the trip, Duffy met with Karen-Mae Hill, the Antigua and  Barbuda High Commissioner to London to explain the discriminatory treatment by the U.K. government towards British pensioners living in Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean countries. 

The High Commissioner suggested that the matter could be raised by CARICOM Heads of Government when they have their bi-annual meeting with the U.K. government in the first half of next year.

According to Duffy, there was extensive coverage of the visit in the U.K. media including the BBC television news, ITN television news plus interviews on BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and regional radio stations.  The national newspapers – the Financial Times, the Observer and The Sunday Express – featured the story in their columns.

Philip told British MPs that she had paid the same for her pension as everyone else and, therefore, she should be entitled to receive the same.

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