(ZIZ News) – Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Finance, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris used Monday’s opening of the Sugar Workers’ Restoration Fund [SWRF] Office to explain how his administration arrived at the EC$16 million amount that is expected to be paid to former sugar industry workers by September this year.
He said, “A sum of EC$28 million was paid to them in 2005/2006. The last payment in fact was made somewhere around March/April of 2006. We started the payment, the first tranche it was in September so I think it is a good thing that we are going to complete the circle in September this year. It was $28 million paid out of a promised gratuity pool of EC$44 million. The outstanding sum of EC$16 million has remained unpaid for almost 10 years.”
Dr. Harris described the outstanding payment as an injustice adding that the former government could have used the resources of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation [SIDF] to pay the balance owed.
“You must put in context that this fund received significant resources and on hindsight the former government could have looked back even in 2010, even in 2011, even in 2012, even in 2013, even in 2014, they can’t look back now in 2015, they’re out but they could have looked back during those times of a bonanza in the SIDF fund that brought to the country over $1.4 billion and a fund which was initiated to benefit former sugar workers,” he argued.
The Sugar Workers’ Restoration Fund [SWRF] Office is located in the CLICO Building on South Independence Square Street, opposite the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial Complex.