The Team Unity government campaigned with one of its promises to pay former sugar workers the outstanding amount. Today, the Government of Venezuela presented a cheque valued at $16 million to the Government of St. Kitts to be used to pay the former sugar workers.
Venezuela’s Ambassador Bernado Alvarez Herrera presented the cheque to Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris at Government Headquarters in Basseterre.
“For now, they have readily accepted to provide for us $16 million to cover what we have described as a shortfall in the compensation package to the former sugar workers,” said Prime Minister Harris, who also indicated that the arrangement is the first of several initiatives to be undertaken by the Venezuelans on St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to Harris, the commitment had been made to assist former sugar workers that were “deprived” in respect of their severance package, and as a consequence, the new Government was obligated to find the resources to do so.
Hence the link with the Government of Venezuela through the country’s recent membership in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). “The government of Venezuela, as part of its ALBA project, had been in the past specifically associated with the agenda of support for sugar workers,” stated Prime Minister Harris, who explained further that such resources are made possible through the ALBA/Petrocaribe arrangements.
The prime minister disclosed that over the next several months, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis would be pursuing with Venezuela various projects that would “form part of the expectation of support under these particular programmes”.
Dr. Harris, who is also the finance minister, did not give much insight into the workings of the $16million and how it would be disbursed. Instead, he directed media professionals to a press conference he would be holding on Thursday, 2nd April, at which point, he said further information would be available.