Former Sugar Workers Continue To Collect Severance Cheques LK Hewlett Story Updated: September 23rd 2015 at 11:20 am
Hundreds of former sugar industry workers and their beneficiaries continue to collect cheques from the government’s $16mil severance payout. Since last Friday, persons who applied to the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund have been lining up daily at the Secretariat located in the CLICO Building on South Independence Street. On Monday (Sept 21), scores thronged the building’s entrances, some gathering in the Independence Square. The Observer spoke to a few individuals who all said they arrived before the Secretariat had opened in order to queue up. By Tuesday the lines had abated and persons were only allowed to stand in line at the back entrance. Rumors have been circulating that some applicants were upset as they had received less than $200 for their years in the industry. The Observer spoke with a government official who disputed the claims, saying from his intimate knowledge having seen the list for payouts, “I did not see any payout less that $2000 at that time”. He revealed that he saw cheques for payouts as high as over $33,000 for some individuals. The Observer was told by an individual who said he worked at the SSMC for 5 years that he was “pleased” with the $2900-plus severance cheque he received Tuesday. “I look at it this way, it’s money no one expected to get, so I don’t really see why people are upset. I am almost $3000 better off today than I was yesterday and I am grateful to Unity,” he said. The Observer was also reliably informed that a few persons turned up to Government Headquarters after receiving their severance cheques asking if they could see Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris to thank him in person. The payout was made possible through a grant the government secured from the Venezuelan government. 2311 persons will receive severance payments- 1861 who never received monies during the 2005 payout and 450 persons who received insufficient payments.