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2,033 former SKN sugar workers secure $13.7 million in government benefits

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Two-thousand-thirty-three former sugar workers have received due payments for an accumulated total of $13.7 million, according to Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. The prime minister said his Team Unity-led administration feels a sense of elation that it has been able to help more than two thousand former St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation (SSMC) workers secure benefits denied to them under the former Denzil Douglas government.

When the sugar industry closed in July 2005, the then-government promised $44 million in severance payments, but only $28 million was paid.

In March 2015, the St. Kitts and Nevis government received a $16-million grant from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, under the PetroCaribe Agreement, to pay the former sugar workers.

While updating the nation on matters of national interest at his press conference on Aug. 30, Prime Minister Harris revealed that “The Sugar Workers Restoration Programme reported that as of Aug. 20, 2,033 persons have received due payments for an accumulated total of $13.7 million.”

This is a stark comparison to the 968 former sugar workers who benefited under the previous administration, following the closure of the sugar industry.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Harris reported presently there are about 110 applications that are outstanding “either on account of corrections to documents to be completed by lawyers, or paternity challenges filed in the court, or the absence of proper documentation. With respect to Court-related matters, there are about 105 cases left to be determined. The principal lawyers are Deniece Alleyne, Agatha James Andries, Leon Charles, Victor Hamilton, and Talibah Byron.”

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