Restorative Justice; Reinstatement of Gratuity Payment to Government Auxiliary Employees

[SKNIS] Over sixty (60) Government Auxiliary Employees (GAE), who served a minimum of ten years, are receiving their rightful gratuity payment. Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew has reinstated the payments which were denied and/or adjusted downwards under the former Timothy Harris-led administration.

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 is to be paid out.

Prime Minister Drew, while delivering brief remarks to formalize his Cabinet’s decision, lamented the fact that persons who make the least were the ones who ‘suffered the most.’ He denounced the downward adjustment of the gratuity payments by the former administration.

“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,” Dr. Drew stated.

The Prime Minister also 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,” he expressed.

Head of the Civil Service Thelma Richard also gave the assurance that the GAEs can expect respite.

“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,” she stated.

“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 revealed that a recommendation was made to the 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. 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,” the Head of the Civil Service emphasized.

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