Our good friend Dave Cart recently read an article on the “This is Money” website about a 100 year old lady, Mrs. Patricia Coulthard, who reported that she is missing out on thousands of pounds a year in state pension because she moved from the UK to Australia, where payments to elderly Britons are currently frozen.  

According to the article, Ms. Coulthard, who served as a nurse in World War II, receives a £46-a-week state pension which hasn't increased since she went abroad to live near her children (in Australia) in the early 1990s.

She is one of nearly 500,000 elderly expats in a country where state pensions are currently frozen at whatever amount they were set at when they moved overseas, a government policy critics call 'outrageously cruel' and 'morally wrong'.

Dave noted that Mrs Coulthard emigrated to Australia from the UK in the early 1990’s to be with her children, and he wondered if by any chance she might be the mother of our own Richard “Dick” Coulthard who served here in the Bermuda Police from 1970-1976,  and who emigrated with his wife and family to Australia in 1989.  CLICK HERE for an article Dick wrote for our “Then and Now” column.

 

Young P.C. Dick Coulthard on patrol
outside the House of Assembly

 

Dave thought he could possibly see a “family resemblance” between Dick and Mrs Couthard, so we wrote to Dick to see if she is related to him. We have since received this reply from him:-

 

“Thank you for your email re Patricia Coulthard.  Firstly, while flattered to be linked to this brave and lovely lady, I can assure you that she is no relation to me.   Although funnily enough, my sister is called Patricia and my father Thomas fought at the Battle of Kohima in Burma like this lady.   I can however identify with her complaint regarding her UK pension payment.  I have been retired ten years and have received the same unindexed payment each time.  Thanks also to Dave Cart who felt that I looked like a 100-year-old lady!  Mind you, at 76 I am getting close.

Retirement-wise Jenny and I live in a lovely retirement village of around 550 people in Adelaide.  I keep myself busy by managing the two bars we have here and serve on two committees as well as being a Covid Marshal.
Fitness-wise I play lawn bowls a couple of times a week and regularly walk.


I am pleased to say that I am the same build and weight as when I served in Bermuda.  Jenny has a few health issues unfortunately but keeps herself busy with quilting and knitting at a sewing group. We have been married 48 years and, as you can see from the attached photo, she is still very fond of me - at least I think that's what she means on the photo!  

Familywise we have three children, two in the South Australian Police Force and one with the Royal Australian Air Force.  Between them we have seven grandchildren aged between one and twenty-one and consider ourselves to be very fortunate. 


Covid-wise the state of South Australia was reasonably lucky.  It prevented cross-border travel for some time and managed to keep the toll down. Consequently, out of 1.7 million people in South Australia only about 350 died.  Jenny and I avoided getting it and now life here is almost back to normal.  I have always appreciated my time in Bermuda and extend my best wishes to you and all my former colleagues."

CLICK HERE to view the group of new recruits, including young P.C. Coulthard, who joined the Bermuda Police in 1970. It’s very rare for us to find group photos of “Localization Courses”.

Localization Course  -  June 1970
Back row (l-r)  Bruce Bingley, Barry Higham, John Bradford, Colin Mackenzie,
Reg "Buster" Brown,Roy "Hong Kong" Haynes,Mick Cresswell, and Paul Hendrick.
Middle row -  Pat Hathaway, Mick Collingridge?, Ian "Paddy" Ackroyd, Gwilym Williams, 
Richard “Dick” Coulthard, John "Gypsy" Jake Stimson, Ian Fraser, Mick Goode.
Front Row  -  Stewart Holmes, Frank Martin, Stan Parr, Malcolm "Ted Loon" Irvine,
Jim McInnes, Ray Bell, Bill Cree, and Roger Hind.
 

As those of you who are still receiving Bermuda Police pensions will be aware, no matter where you now reside, we’ve had our own pensions frozen since the last increase in 2012.  CLICK HERE for an article we published in 2017 about the “Continued cost of living freeze on pensions”.

(Then) Minister of Finance
The Hon. Curtis Dickinson
 

Our ExPo President, Cal Smith, advised our Expo Committee on 4th February 2022, that the Minister of Finance, The Hon Curtis Dickinson, would be addressing the House of Assembly that afternoon on the 2020 actuarial review of the contributory pensions scheme.    CLICK HERE to view the report given by the Finance Minister which made it clear there is a “massive Shortfall” in the Contributory Pensions Fund, and in the Minister's words, it is "critical to ensure the long-term sustainability of this fund.”

This is certainly an issue of major concern to ExPo and we would invite our members to provide us with their own comments about our “Frozen Pensions”!


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George Rose
For those who may have a continuing interest, the link below provides the Government's update on the latest pension increase for seniors.

https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20220702/premier-announces-2-75-pension-rise-backdated-a-year/?utm_source=newsletter20220702&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article_title&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=listrak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20220702/premier-announces-2-75-pension-rise-backdated-a-year/?utm_source=newsletter20220702&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article_title&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_campaign=Royal+Gazette+Daily+Headlines

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George Rose
A recent O.H.M.S. delivery to the house mail box from the Ministry of Finance entitled 'What the 2022/23 Budget means to you' included the following advisory under the Heading - 'Ensuring Pensions are secure fir Future Generations'. "The Government will keep its promise to increase pensions annually by the rate of inflation."

It's difficult to determine just which pensions this promise is referring to but it is likely only to pensions under the Contributory Pension Act 1970 (Bermuda's Old Age Pension aka Bermuda Social Insurance).

Any pension received under the Public Service Superannuation Act 1981 ('PSSF' as amended) is an entirely different scheme to that above and would require new legislation to reverse the restrictions imposed in 2014 aimed at freezing regular cost of living increases paid out to pensioners through the superannuation fund. As of now, I know of no current efforts to revisit this frozen cost of living position.

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Davie Kerr
All I can say is that a) I'm very glad that I opted for the minimum lump sum and correspondingly larger monthly pension when I retired, b) I'm lucky also to be getting a Bermuda OAP's pension, and c) I now live in the Scottish Highlands where my money goes a lot further than it would in Bermuda! However, as the Bermuda Civil Service pension has now been frozen for 10 years, I appreciate that not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and these people have my sympathy.
Judging from the various comments I've heard about the frozen pension, it would appear that the chances of the said pension being thawed are about equivalent to my chances of becoming the next Pope!


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