Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 12, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): 34 Government Auxiliary Employees (GAE) who have retired with a minimum of 10 years of service received gratuitous payments from the government of St. Kitts and Nevis at a ceremony at NEMA on Monday.
According to information out of Government Headquarters, On May 11th, 2023, the Federal Cabinet formalized gratuity payments to GAE workers using the long service payment formula. Since that time, the Human Resource Management Department, the Governor Generals Department and the Audit Department have worked to determine the balance of payment to more than thirty individuals.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew said the Government reinstated the GAE gratuitous payments which were discontinued in 2021 under the former administration as a form of restorative justice.
“We are here to serve you. We are here to correct what was not correct. We are here to do a process called restorative justice,” he said. “For those who are GAE workers now, we want to make sure that when you retire, after you have contributed a minimum of ten years, that you too would benefit and that nobody can ever again take away what is rightfully yours. So those who are presently working, you will benefit from what we are doing when you retire. Because had we not changed the policy, if you were to retire, and I see people here who are in retirement age and might consider retiring, you would have gotten the much smaller amount instead of the larger amount that you would receive if you were to retire.”
Also formalized is a death gratuity paid to families of GAE workers who died while still employed by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We had people, for example, who were cut short, $10,000, $15,000. I think the lowest amount might be six or $8,000; it goes all the way up to 20 something thousand dollars extra. So what you have gotten already would have been calculated in so you’ll get the added amount that you did not get. And then in addition to that, those who would have passed during that time, god bless their souls and their families who are left behind, that we have made arrangements that whoever is in charge of their estate would receive that balance as well.”
He said the government will ensure that this will be a formalized policy in efforts to benefit future GAE workers as well, noting, “We are going to go a step further… and make this more than policy, because it seems like when it remains at the policy level, that persons can come subsequently and just change it to what they want. So we want to make sure that this is ingrained in what we will consider the benefits of those who are our GAE workers that those who come after and I don’t well, whoever wishes to do it, let me put it that way, that they cannot do it simply by going in and say just change it. They have to go through a whole process which can serve as a deterrent to leave the people’s money.”
The checks distributed to the retired Government Auxiliary Employees on Monday were a combined amount exceeding $700,000.
Photo courtesy of St. Kitts Nevis Information Service