Premier Amory defends Government’s payment to sugar workers

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 24, 2015 (SKNIS)—Premier Vance Amory has stoutly defended the Government’s decision to pay displaced sugar workers as means of a gratuitous payment for the years they worked in the sugar industry, despite criticisms. Some in the public’s sphere, including the Opposition have criticized the payment process, arguing that some persons who have not applied did not receive any money or those who applied received less than other recipients.

“There’ve been criticism because some people said they have been left out but I want to say to those who feel or said they have been left out—there was ample time for them to make their claim. The deadline was placed in the initial stage and then extended,” Amory said.

He suggested that those who complained of either not receiving money or receiving less than others deliberately ignored the procedure and the criteria used to calculate payments.

“You will get people who will criticize but I don’t think those criticisms are founded and we as a Government just have to know that we did what we thought was right, what we promised and we did it in the best interest of those who are benefiting,” Amory said. The premier disclosed that there are some people who are making submissions of their names, and the government would seek to make any necessary adjustments to address these claims.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela donated $EC16 million to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for the purpose of compensating former sugar workers. This was to, according to Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, “right the wrong” done to these displaced sugar workers from 10 years ago when the industry closed and there was a shortfall in the initial compensation from the Government. The disbursement of payments began on September 18, 2015. Premier Amory on Wednesday’s (October 21) programme “Working for You”, thanked the Government of Venezuela once again for its huge contribution to this effort.

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