PM Harris (right) confers with Senior Minister and Minister for Labour the Hon. Vance Amory and Attorney General the Hon Vincent Byron.
PM Harris (right) confers with Senior Minister and Minister for Labour the Hon. Vance Amory and Attorney General the Hon Vincent Byron.
With the hall full, many listened to the prime minister from under a tent that was set outside.
Flashback: Prime Minister Harris and Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins met with members of the Pension Committee last year after it was instituted.

PM Harris calls for speedy implementation of government pension

From PLP PR Media Inc.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Honourable Dr.  Timothy Harris has called on the recently instituted Pension Committee to ensure that implementation of the Defined Contribution Pension Programme for some 1,200 government auxiliary employees is done this year.

Prime Minister Harris addressed the Prime Minister’s Open Forum May 20 in recalling that the former Dr. Douglas-led government had in 2007 promised the then non-established workers that they would be made civil servants and begin to get pensions and gratuities. It never happened and led to them losing the honorarium they would have had each December since 2012.

The Team Unity government last year set up and organised a special Pension Committee that would look into ways of implementing a Defined Contribution Pension Programme, where both the employer and the employee would pay toward the employees’ pension.

Prime Minister Harris, who was widely cheered when he made the announcement, observed that the committee is headed by Torfrida Rochester, the chief personnel officer, and has among its members Levi Bradshaw, the accountant general; Shermel James, the acting labour officer; Calvin Edwards, the budget director; and a representative of the legal department.

“We took Glenroy Woodley, an auxiliary employee himself, a young man with an independent mind who will call in on every programme to say what he thinks is right and say what he thinks is wrong, on the committee along with a representative from Nevis, so that this year the non-established workers will be sorted out by the Team Unity administration,” said Harris.

The prime minister told the supercharged attendees at the open forum that the financial secretary has been told that they better hurry because if the pension scheme is not implemented in time, the government will have to pay the auxiliary employees their 2 percent and holiday pay, which were taken away by the previous administration. “We will restore it for the people if the officials do not get it right very quickly,” he said.