St.Kitts-Nevis Government to spend over $100 million in social safety net support to empower the people and enhance their dignity

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 3, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Welfare of the people is paramount and Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has assured that his Team Unity Administration, which cares for the poor and the vulnerable, will in 2021 spend over $100 million in social safety net support to empower the people and enhance their dignity.

“In 2021 we will spend of 43 million dollars to help the vulnerable, the indigent and at-risk members in our society,” said Prime Minister Harris as he addressed the Nation on Tuesday February 2, when he appeared on the first edition of Leadership Matters for 2021 where he gave an update on the progress which his government is making in its endeavours to build a stronger and safer future. “We could add to this another 60 million dollars which will help maintain over 3,000 persons on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP).”

Saying that the amount of over $100 million in social safety net will be used to empower the people and to enhance their dignity, the Honourable Prime Minister pointed out: “You begin to understand how much my government has done to protect our people from abject poverty and to empower them. We do care for the poor and vulnerable.”

In addition to the assistance provided through the programmes the Prime Minister outlined, his Team Unity Administration is creating an environment that is conducive for increased employment opportunities. He assured that his government will always look after workers, noting that work gives people enhanced dignity and confidence in themselves.

“We will redouble our efforts to expedite the processing of severance claims,” announced Prime Minister Harris. “To date from claims received as at the 31st of January 2021, 1,121 have been processed. 1,093 have been paid out. Claims are being processed on a first come, first served basis.”

The Hon Prime Minister, who was accompanied by members of the Covid-19 National Taskforce, Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws, Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF General Hospital Dr Cameron Wilkinson, and Chairman of the National Covid-19 Taskforce Mr Abdias Samuel, made an appeal to employers to pay over their deductions from employees’ payroll as soon as possible.

“Non-payment of contributions by employers is a major source of the delay in the processing of severance claims,” pointed out Dr Harris. “Our employees must not wait until they are laid off to ask the Social Security to verify that their contributions were paid by their employers. You must do this regularly.”

Earlier in the programme Prime Minister Harris had informed that the Government’s priority for 2021 is to continue protecting the people from the worst effect of Covid-19. He noted that the government’s focus will remain on protecting people’s health and jobs, and protecting their way of life from the Covid-19 ravages.

“Working with you we will see this pandemic through,” said Dr Harris. “We have a plan to come out the other side a stronger and more unified nation with a renewed sense of purpose. Your Team Unity Government comprising the Peoples Labour Party (PLP), the People’s Action Movement (PAM), and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) is working with you to defeat Covid-19, to deliver better services, to protect jobs and to look after working families.”

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