Former Sugar Workers on St.Kitts will hear details of a huge $16 million blessing on the most suited of days Holy Thursday.
In 2005 The Sugar Industry was Closed and as a result thousands of workers were left without a job . Some of these persons had worked in the industry for almost 50 years in some cases. The Dr. Denzil Douglas led administration had promised the workers a $42 million payout as compensation for the relatively abrupt closure of the over 100 year old industry. However only $28 million of that amount was actually paid out to the over 2500 workers. The remaining $16 million remained outstanding .
In a brief handing over ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday representatives of the Government of Venezuela handed over a cheque to the tune of $16 million under the PetroCaribe Agreement which represents a grant to cover the amount owed to Sugar Workers from the 2005 closure of the industry.
The Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris led Team UNITY Alliance identified the monies owing to the sugar workers as one of their main or pillar commitments during their campaign leading up to the February 16th General Elections.
In a Pre Election Campaign Statement Dr. Harris declared : “ I will Ensure that all former sugar workers will be compensated. who were denied or short paid severance for which they had just entitlement. Ex sugar workers in St Kitts were short paid $16 million in severance payments. Many received token payments not withstanding that they had given their entire working life to the industry. Such disdainful treatment came after Denzil Douglas had promised the workers that their take home payouts would be better under 1961 Trade Union Agreement with St Kitts Manufacturing Corporation (SSMC) than would pertain under the Employment Act.”
Harris continued “Sixteen million plus interest would be made available to all those who had been robbed and denied and short changed their monies. I want to remember Allen Rubien out of saddlers, he worked long and hard in the sugar industry and at the end of it had nothing to show for it.”
“I am appealing to you in the city and the country areas, you know that you have worked in the sugar industry, you know that you have put in at least 10 years of working in the sugar industry and you know that you deserve something for that hard work that you did.”
The Official details of the disbursement of the monies will be announced at a press conference to be held on Holy Thursday April 2nd .