“After God is Dr. Harris !”
This was just one of the many appreciative sentiments expressed by former Sugar Workers at one of the most historic moments in the history of the federation where the Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis the Dr. Hon Timothy Harris officially began the distribution of payments to former Sugar Workers.
In a ceremony held at the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund Secretariat thousands of former workers packed the secretariat yard and the Inpendence Square to not only collect their well deserved payouts but also to give thanks and praise to Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris amd his Team UNITY Administration along with the Government of Venezuela.
The payout marks the fulfillment of a Promise Made by the Team UNITY Government in the pre-election campaign.
In addressing the historic occasion Prime Minister Harris declared “For those who may argue that this was mere an election gimmick at the time, I ask, what is it now that over two thousand three hundred former sugar workers are finally getting their justice? I say to you that it is right and proper that these persons, who toiled in some of the harshest working conditions to secure a future for themselves, their children and grandchildren, are now getting their just recognition and reward for supporting their families, putting a roof over their heads, clothing and feeding them, sending their children to school and ensuring their health and safety. It is right and proper that we bring restorative justice to these unsung heroes who broke their backs and braved sweltering heat in the midday sun to ensure this country earned well needed foreign exchange to provide jobs in other industries and such sectors as national security, healthcare, education and other social services in order to secure a dignified existence for our people.”
Prime Minister Harris reiterated the FAIR SHARE Policy of his Team UNITY Administration.
Dr. Harris said “Our policy seeks to give our people a fair share of our prosperity because they built this country from ground up, cane field to cane field, railway to factory, washer to crusher, boiler house to sugar house. We are steadfast in our caring concern to give our people a fresh start after they have been aggrieved for more than ten years, having been deprived of the opportunity to reasonably, tangibly and meaningfully share in our economic growth. Allan Rubain of Saddlers needs this fresh start and so too do all the beneficiaries gathered here. Without a Team Unity government this day would have never come to the former sugar workers. To God be the Glory. Team Unity is here thanks to the people!”
PM Harris continued “This is what we meant when we said a fresh start in industrial relations. This is what we meant when we said a fresh start in ending the exploitation of the worker. A fresh start for fairness. A fresh start for justice for the laboring masses. Today may be as propitious an occasion as any to remind the entire country that our Team Unity government would lead by example. Our word is our bond. What we say we will do, we certainly will do in a timely, responsible and deliberate way. Let us not forget that you gave this government a 5-year contract. We are delivering very quickly on our manifesto commitments to you and we will not slow down and we will not relent. We are aware, just as you are that the 5 year mandate is more a marathon run than a sprint. So everything we promise will not be delivered this year nor next year but we can assure you that we will deliver on our promises within the 5-year contract period.”
Dr Harris concluded his presentation by expressing thanks to the Committee that oversaw the exercise and highlighted the membership .
PM Harris said “Let me on behalf of our Cabinet say thank you to the Chairman and other members of the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund Committee; the members of the sub-committees responsible for Accounting, Review, Research, Documentation, Criteria, Eligibility and Public Relations; the staff of the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund Secretariat; and all those persons and entities, too numerous to mention, for their service to country.
In the interest of full disclosure I must share with you the fact that it was the SWRF committee which recommended the criteria for payout and which was accepted by Cabinet. I am happy to say that no minister of government determined the criteria. No minister of government handpicked anyone for payment. All these decisions were made by the SWRF committee without hindrance or interference of any kind. Everything was done above board in a transparent and accountable manner. The committee comprised of a professional group of persons who had no stake other than to see justice done.
Allow me at this time to recognize the committee members:
Mr Osbert DeSuza
Mr Reginald George
Mr Lenworth Harris
Mr Spencer Amory
Mr McClure Taylor
Mr Gary DaSilva
Ms Brenda Caesar
H.E. Sam Condor
Mr Franklin Maitland
Mr Sydney Bridgewater
Mr Al Edwards
Mr Leon Charles
Mr Rawle Mars
Mr Clecton Phillip
Mr Calvin Edwards
Ms Jennifer Archibald
This was a labour of love on behalf of the laboring class and I want to thank the committee for its professional work and for yeoman national service.”
The event concluded with the hundreds of former workers loudly cheering and bellowing the praises of Prime Minister Harris and the Team UNITY Administration.