(ZIZ News) – On Wednesday evening, ZIZ Television was buzzing with activity as it featured an update on the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund payout that is ongoing.
From shortly after 8pm, Director of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service Lesroy Williams, Head of the SWRF Public Relations Sub-Committee Clecton Phillip and Head of the SWRF Accounts Sub-Committee Franklyn Maitland made up the small panel that provided a review of the EC$16 million payment to former workers of the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation.
Maitland, in his opening presentation, gave an update on the payments made and those still pending. He said the payout affected the entire Federation.
“The payout for claimants whose address is in constituency one were $872, 216. Constituency number two, $719,329. Number three $1,758,040. Number four $1,367,127. Number five $1,455,786. Number six $3,230,850. For number seven, $2,773,412. For number eight, $3,308,854,” Maitland disclosed.
According to Maitland, residents of the three constituencies on Nevis also benefited from the gratuitous payment.
He said, “Number nine, $28,504. Number ten, $92,050. Number 11, $20,719. I have this sort of miscellaneous category. The amount for that category is $368,857, giving us a grand total of $16 million to the cent.”
Phillip, on the other hand, explained the process, highlighting that the decision to make gratuitous payments was a campaign promise of Team Unity, while it was in opposition.
“Team Unity, in opposition, made a promise and I want to read specifically from the manifesto, page 24, and briefly, if you permit me. Under the topic ‘Former Sugar Workers’ it says ‘following closure of SSMC in July 2005, government had promised to pay 44 million to sugar workers. To date, only 28 million has been paid with some 16 million still outstanding,” he explained.
According to data from the SWRF Secretariat, 2,311 persons stand to benefit from the payout. Of that amount, 1,861 persons are new beneficiaries, and 450 people who were among the beneficiaries in 2005/2006, also received money this time around.