Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 04, 2017 (SKNIS): Government is still set to improve the conditions of some 1200 plus Government Auxiliary Employees (GAE), once called Non-Established Workers, as stated by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during his monthly press conference on October 03.
Payment to the then Non-Established Workers ceased for a good number of years and Prime Minister Harris said that the issue has been outstanding for too long and it is important to ensure that it is corrected.
“The Team Unity Administration has determined that in the interest of justice to the workers we will resolve this issue. So we have the committee now that is dealing with it,” he said. “We will await their recommendations. They will come to the Cabinet and then we will make a determination what the state would be able to do.”
Dr. Harris, speaking directly to the workers, urged them to remain patient, as the government remains committed to ensuring that their payments be reinstated.
“It’s a work in progress and we want to say the Non-Established Workers as they are more popularly called that this Team Unity Government has not forgotten them, and we feel their pain that they had been robbed of this two percent that they would have had each year… And we will correct this injustice to the extent, the resources of the country allow us to do so going forward,” said Prime Minister Harris.
Calvin Edwards, Deputy Financial Secretary, and a member on the committee that was established to deal with GAE said that an Act to implement the scheme was passed years ago but was never activated. He added that data showed that the payments to GAE stopped, but all efforts are being made to restore them.
“They used to get a payment call honorarium, which was about two percent per year and that was stopped because that amount would be contributed to the person’s pension scheme and so we have being going back in time trying to get an assessment as to how much is owed, trying to make a determination on how best to deal with that,” said the deputy financial secretary. “So the information gathering exercise has been taking a long time because quite a number of people are involved. We have just finished compiling some figures and they will be discussed in a meeting on [Wednesday, October 04].”
The committee comprises of Mrs. Torfrida Rochester, Chief Personnel Officer; Ms. Shernel James, Labour Commissioner (Ag); Mr. Calvin Edwards, Budget Director; Representative of the Legal Department, Mr. Glenroy Woodley; Non-established Worker and a Representative of the Accountant General Department.