(ZIZ News) — The opening ceremony of the Sugar Workers’ Restoration Fund Office in Basseterre presented the opportunity for a history lesson to be shared as Labour Commissioner; Spencer Amory recalled sugar’s importance to St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said, for many years, the twin-island nation had benefited from a booming sugar industry.
“For over 300 years, sugar in St. Kitts and Nevis was indeed the backbone of the socio-economic infrastructure of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and indeed it permeated every facet of life in this country. I must say that sugar was king and certainly in St. Kitts and Nevis and sugar earned St. Kitts and Nevis the name of Sugar City,” he said.
Amory also spoke of some of the challenges that were encountered over time. He said they led to the closure of the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation and, by extension, the sugar industry.
“Sugar started to decline and the demise of King Sugar was as a consequence of external factors: new training arrangements, falling prices that impacted prices, loss of preferential treatment…on the world market and it created a very challenging situation for sugar. It turned out almost to be a threat certainly to the economies…that were crippling sugar, not only in the West Indies but certainly here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
Recently, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis announced that it will be making a gratuitous payment to former SSMC workers. The Sugar Workers’ Restoration Fund was subsequently set up to ensure that the $16 million secured from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is paid to the former sugar industry workers.