Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 12, 2023 (SKNIS): Today, June 12, 2023, was a historic day as the Administration of Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew reinstated payment of gratuity to scores of retired Government Auxilliary Employees (GAE’s) who served a minimum of 10 years and whose rightful gratuity was denied to them under the former Dr. Timothy Harris-led regime.
The practice was discontinued in 2021 and impacted more than sixty (60) persons. The Human Resource Management Department in conjunction with the Accountant General’s Department calculated the outstanding balances and processed the payments for each person. The Director of Audit verified that in excess of $700,000 remained to be paid out.
At a brief handing-over ceremony at the NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) conference room, Prime Minister Dr. Drew asked: “Why is it of all the persons in the system, those who take home less than others are the ones who are allowed to suffer the most?”
He continued, “And, for some reason, your gratuity was adjusted downwards and many of you when you started to work thought that you would have taken home much more but you took home way less than expected.”
“For those of you who are GAEs now, we want to make sure that when after you have contributed a minimum of ten years that you too would benefit and that nobody can ever again take away what is rightfully yours,” he said.
The Prime Minister thanked the GAEs for their hard work.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you the workers of St. Kitts and Nevis. To those of you who are under the banner of GAE, sometimes it gives the impression as though you are second-class workers within the system and I know that some of you feel that as well and so as an administration that promotes the rights of workers in St. Kitts and Nevis since 1932, we are again on the frontline battling for you, battling for your meaningful work conditions to improve your standard of life, your standard of living, and to give you the best opportunity really to live the best life here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew said.
Head of the Civil Service, Thelma Richard, said that “for the families who are grieving, we are here to bring relief, for the families who would not have gotten their due, we are also here to bring relief.”
“The Human Resource Management Department has fielded your calls from you tirelessly inquiring about your balance of payments. We heard your frustrations, and we would have shared in your frustrations as well,” said Ms. Richard.
She said a recommendation was made to the Honourable Prime Minister and his Cabinet to rectify the problem and bring relief to the disadvantaged workers.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has begun the process to bring the GAEs into the mainstream to ensure that they are allowed due process in matters specific to them, to ensure that they are recognized and rewarded, to ensure that a gratuity is paid to those who served the people in excess of 10 years,” Ms. Richard said. “This morning, we want to further reassure the GAEs that though interrupted a few years ago, this is only the first step of reinstating and formalizing your GAE payments as a first in recognizing your contributions to your fellow citizens,” said the Head of the Civil Service, Thelma Richard.