Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 28, 2021 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has paid out more than $36.6 million in severance payments to honour 2,295 claims filed in 2020 by persons made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Labour, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, shared the information on Monday, June 28, 2021, during an Emergency Sitting of the National Assembly. Minister Phipps, who serves as a Senator in the Federal Parliament, gave a complete breakdown of the figures.

“As of today’s date, Monday, the 28th of June, 2021, the total number of severance claims received was 2,429, not 4,000,” she said, as was suggested during presentations by several members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. “The total number of severance payment claims pending from 2020 is 20 claims. The total number of claims being processed at this particular time is 26.”

Minister Phipps added that “The total number of claims processed to date is 2,324, against 2,429 that were received. The total number of claims, therefore, that has been paid out to date [is] 2,295 claims, and the total number of claims awaiting payment [is] 29.”

Additionally, the minister said that the total number of Long Service Gratuity claims received is 59. The claims are different, however, still connected, as the payments are drawn from the Severance Fund.

“As of today’s date, this government has paid out in total $36,641,166.81,” Honourable Phipps reported.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, noted that as a result of the pandemic there was “the largest demand on the Severance Fund ever in history and we (the government) have stood the test of time.”

He described the enormous undertaking by the government as a “success” story. This takes into account that the Severance Fund was not appropriately financed prior to 2015. Also factored in is the fall in government revenues in 2020 as a result of the pandemic as well as the generous stimulus package introduced last year that included waiving of some taxes and the expansion of social safety net programmes for residents affected by the tremendous economic fallout from COVID-19.

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