Over 700,000 Eastern Caribbean (EC) Dollars were paid out to retired Government Auxiliary Employees (GAEs) on Monday, June 12, 2023, as part of the government’s drive to reward and honour the workers for their hard work and dedication over the years.
In 2021, the end-of-tenure gratuity that rewarded the workers for their years of outstanding service was discontinued by the former administration. However, the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew deemed it necessary to restore the payments and grant the workers their just reward.
“The amount paid out came up to over EC $700,000 approaching one million and this is afforded to GAEs for their long service payment who would have worked a minimum of 10 years. And so, that restoration of justice to the GAE workers was accomplished yesterday and that would be the policy of this administration going forward,” said Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, during a special interview on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, with members of the media dubbed ‘The Roundtable.’
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that the government will continue to put people first and improve their living conditions.
“As a government, we are cognizant of the fact, and indeed empirical data would suggest that improving people’s well-being is fundamentally linked to their conditions of work. And so, we as a government took the full Cabinet decision where we decided to once again pay the GAE workers their gratuity based on the same calculations that appointed Civil Servants get,” said Dr. Drew.
The Prime Minister noted that using the Civil Servant’s calculations revealed the injustices done to GAEs.
“When we did this, we recognized that a number of workers – close to 70 – were affected negatively because of a policy shift that took place in 2021. That shift led to a smaller gratuitous payment for the GAE workers,” he said. “We adjusted it and made it retroactive back to 2021, and we were able to pay our GAE workers what they expected once they would have retired.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that the same calculations will apply to every retired GAE worker. This, he said, is part of his government’s “policymaking and strategy to make sure” that as much as possible is done “for our workers here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”