Golden ager falls on hard times - Seeks to earn his way as a bearer
An elderly man is advising employed young people to prepare for their retirement as early as possible to avoid falling on hard times.
"Save! Save! Just make sure yuh have a pension plan in place, fi God sake. It is not how much you earn, is how much yu save because we can't see down the road. We are not fortune tellers," Errol Mckenzie said.
Mckenzie said he has fallen on hard times, and confessed that he did not foresee himself being destitute while he was employed.
A former technician, who said he worked with a telephone service provider for 24 years, McKenzie said that while he was employed, he tried to put some funds away, but admitted that he failed to do prepare for retirement.
"I use to save with credit union and all a that, but you know, bills come along, so you have to deal wid bills, and also I did have some cars, some of which were taxis and the driver them mash them up," he said.
Now 66, McKenzie depends solely on the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) for an income. That, however, does not go far enough.
"Even if we did a get the same as minimum wage, it would a better than this. I borrow, pay, borrow, pay. That's my life now," he said.
McKenzie said that the expenses that he incurs on a monthly basis far outweighs the sum he receives from the scheme since he became eligible for receipt of the funds in 2015. He receives $5,485.80 fortnightly. However, the majority of his expenses consist of the $8,000 that he pays for his monthly rent. After he pays rent, he also has to find money for utility bills and food.
"A the goodness a mi landlord mek me eat little food more time," he confessed.
"For myself and other pensioners, this is too small. Other pensioners going through the same thing," said McKenzie, who fathered three children with different women.
"I took care of my kids until they were in their mid-teens, but everybody gone from round me now. I wouldn't say them abandon me, but due to the fact that me and their mothers weren't together anymore, they just stick to their mothers."
Now destitute, but convinced that he can still work for an honest bread, McKenzie feels that the Government should do more to ensure that able-bodied citizen are allowed to work, and although his driver's licence has expired, he would like to be employed as a driver.
"I don't like handouts, I am willing to work. Right now, me say me love driving, so mi could a drive and do bearer work," he said.