Delivering the Independence Address to mark this country’s 41st anniversary of political independence, Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves announced the following:

As of January 1st, 2021, all Public Servants who are university graduates will be appointed. This is estimated to benefit just over 100 workers.

As of January 2021, all temporary workers in the public service will be appointed permanently once they possess the necessary entry qualifications.

All former nursing assistants who retired before October 27, 2005 will begin to receive their pensions from the consolidated fund with an effective date January 1st, 2021.

Persons receiving public assistance will receive an increase of $25 monthly. Those under 65 years will see their assistance move from $250 to $275 while those currently receiving $275 will receive $300.00 monthly.

The 600 persons on the special COVID-19 List who are receiving a $200 monthly assistance will be made permanent as of next year.

Casual, temporary non-unionised workers will receive a further 25% on their wages.

A full programme has been designed to assist domestic employees in households who are mainly women. The year 2021 will be proclaimed as the oft forgotten causal and domestic worker.

University students who have loans under the economically disadvantaged students are being granted a complete waiver of interest from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct 2021. Interest charges will be reduced from 8.5% to 6% with effect from the academic year 2021/22.

Government will accept recommendations from the NIS actuarial review to increase pensions.

10. OTHERS:

A. 1047 CSEC, CAPE and Associate degree students who have successfully met the required standard will each receive a $500 annual incentive payment.

B. 15,000 Samsung 8″ tablets will arrive tomorrow October 28th on Amerijet. Distribution will begin on Thursday. All students at the Community College, secondary schools and the CPEA classes will receive one of the devices. Teachers will also benefit.

C. 16 students will be awarded full national scholarships for 5 years, 11 students to be awarded national exhibitions for 3 years and 31 students to be awarded bursaries for a 3 year period.

D: SPORTS AMBASSADORS 2020: Sunil Ambris, Kesrick Williams and Peggy Ince-Hull

CULTURAL AMBASSADORS 2020: Rodney Small, Darron Andrews, Hance John and Julian McIntosh

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