Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — The Government of National Unity continues to receive hundreds of commendations from former sugar workers for keeping its promise to pay the fair share of the EC$16 million “short fall” to them.
“We created a transparent system, staffed with independent professionals to determine the best approach to fulfil that promise,” said Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris at his monthly press conference (October 13th). “That system performed remarkably well. All who felt aggrieved had equal opportunity to apply.”
Shortly after receiving the money, plans were put in place to establish the Sugar Workers’ Restoration Fund (SWRF) Secretariat, establish committees and encourage registration and additional preparations for disbursement of the monies.
The Prime Minister stated that approximately 3,000 applications were received and 2,311 beneficiaries resulted from the composite criteria that included wages and length of service among other things.
“This is a major success,” stated the Prime Minister, noting the resourcefulness of the Government in obtaining the EC$16 million. The Prime Minister also pointed out that the initial payment during 2005 to 2006 only benefitted 968 persons while the 2015 pay out more than doubled that.
“I have received widespread expressions of ‘thank you’ from hundreds of former sugar workers and their families,” said the Prime Minister. “They acknowledge that whatever they received, large or small, they are grateful. Now whatever they have received is due to my administration’s good work and the trust and friendship we have with the Government of Venezuela.”
The Prime Minister revealed that as of last Friday, October 9th, 2015, a total of EC$9,184,927 was paid out to 1,532 of 2,311 persons who will benefit from the SWRF.