BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 8, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The tireless work and effort being put forward by the Team Unity Government to help improve and advance the lives of citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis have not gone unnoticed by the ordinary man and woman of the Federation.
A high level of appreciation for the work of the Government was expressed on Sunday, 5th November 2017 during a Constituency #7 town hall meeting at the Edgar T. Morris Primary School in Tabernacle.
During the question and answer segment of the meeting, a number of individuals took to the microphone to commend the Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris-led administration on a number of programmes and projects implemented since the Government took office in 2015.
One resident, Mr. Glenroy Woodley applauded the Government for taking the requisite steps to compensate some 1,200 plus Government Auxiliary Employees (GAE), once called Non-Established Workers. Payments to those workers stopped before the Team Unity administration took office.
Mr. Woodley said, “Let me congratulate the Government, especially on the pension for the Non-Established Workers because that has been a sore-eye for years, and knowing that it is around the table right now, I think we should give the Government credit.”
A Pension Committee, tasked with devising a pension plan to benefit this category of workers who were not entitled to a pension upon leaving government work, has since been activated. It held its first meeting with Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris on 17th May 2017.
Speaking with the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister today, Wednesday, 8th November, Deputy Financial Secretary and member on the Pension Committee, Mr. Calvin Edwards stated that a Pension Act to implement a pension scheme was passed in 2012, but was never activated.
Mr. Edwards stated, “The GAE used to get a payment called honorarium, which was two percent of their accumulated salary per year. That payment was stopped in 2008 with the understanding that the two percent would instead go into their pension account. However, the pension fund was never created, and so these workers are now of the view that this two percent is still owed to them.”
Mr. Edwards said that the committee has already made a submission of its findings and recommendations to the Federal Cabinet, which will in turn make a final determination on the matter.
He added that the information-gathering process has taken long, given the large number of people affected, but stated that it is the Government’s intention to have the Pension Act activated in early 2018.
Prime Minister Harris, speaking at his press conference on 3rd October, said that the issue has been outstanding for too long, adding, “The Team Unity administration has determined that in the interest of justice to the workers, we will resolve this issue.”