(ZIZ News) — Friday marked a significant milestone for the Federal Government as former sugar industry workers received additional compensation for their work on the sugar estates for as far back as 69 years ago.
A total of 2,301 former sugar industry workers or their beneficiaries got their portion of the EC$16 million granted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in support of the government’s compensation initiative.
In a ceremony to mark the historic occasion, Venezuelan ambassador His Excellency Romula Gonzalez, Honourable Eugene Hamilton in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture, and Honourable Vance Amory in his capacity as Minister of Labour, addressed the former industry workers.
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris delivered the feature address and in those remarks, said former sugar industry workers were getting their fair recognition and reward for supporting their families both economically and socially. He said they in turn helped to shape the nation.
“It is right and proper that we bring restorative justice to these unsung heroes who broke their backs and braved the sweltering heat like the one we’re in, in the midday sun to ensure that our country earn well needed foreign exchange to provide jobs in other industries and other sector,” he said.
As a symbolic gesture, 13 persons were presented with cheques and at the end, the hefty crowd of additional beneficiaries lined up for their compensation.
On Saturday, it is expected that scores more will have the opportunity to receive their cheques.
“And in tribute for their contribution, tomorrow here again we will come and we will make a distribution,” Dr. Harris said.
Meantime, Venezuela has been lending support to St. Kitts and Nevis for some time: from the Petro Caribe Agreement, to the $5million loan to the Development Bank of St. Kitts-Nevis and now the $16million compensation for former sugar industry workers.