BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The welfare of the people is paramount and Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has assured that his Team Unity Administration, which cares for the poor and the vulnerable, will in 2021 spend over $100 million in social safety net support to empower the people and enhance their dignity.
“In 2021, we will spend $43 million to help the vulnerable, the indigent and at-risk members in our society,” said Prime Minister Harris as he addressed the Nation on Tuesday February 2. He updated the progress which his government is making in its endeavours to build a stronger and safer future.
“We could add another $60 million which will help maintain over 3,000 persons on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP),” said Hon. Dr. Harris. “The amount of over $100 million in the social safety net will be used to empower the people and to enhance their dignity.
“You begin to understand how much my government has done to protect our people from abject poverty and to empower them,” he said. “We do care for the poor and vulnerable.”
In addition to the assistance provided through the programmes the Prime Minister outlined, his Team Unity Administration is creating an environment that is conducive for increased employment opportunities. He assured that his government will always look after workers, noting that work gives people enhanced dignity and confidence.
“We will redouble our efforts to expedite the processing of severance claims,” said Dr. Harris. “To date from claims received as of January 31, 1,121 claims have been processed, and 1,093 have been paid out. Claims are being processed on a first come, first served basis.”
Dr. Harris was accompanied by members of the COVID-19 National Taskforce, Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws; Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital Dr. Cameron Wilkinson; and Chairman of the National Covid-19 Taskforce Abdias Samuel.
The Prime Minister appealed to employers to pay over their deductions from employees’ payroll as soon as possible.
“Non-payment of contributions by employers is a major source of the delay in the processing of severance claims,” explained Dr. Harris. “Our employees must not wait until they are laid off to ask the Social Security to verify that their contributions were paid by their employers. You must do this regularly.”
Dr. Harris said the Government’s priority for 2021 is to continue protecting the people from the worst effects of COVID-19. He noted that the government’s focus will remain on protecting people’s health and jobs, and protecting their way of life from the Covid-19 ravages.
“Working with you, we will see this pandemic through,” concluded Dr. Harris. “We have a plan to come out the other side a stronger and more unified nation with a renewed sense of purpose. Your Team Unity Government comprising the Peoples Labour Party, the People’s Action Movement, and the Concerned Citizens Movement, is working with you to defeat COVID-19, to deliver better services, to protect jobs and to look after working families.”