NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 31, 2023) – More than four hundred persons working in the Public Service are set to benefit from the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Non-Established (NE) Workers Retirement Scheme, a landmark policy implemented by the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)-led government.
The NE Workers Retirement Scheme provides a gratuitous payment for persons employed in the Public Service who would have given ten years of continuous service, and those giving 15 or more years of unbroken service would also benefit from a monthly pension upon reaching the age of 62.
The benefits, qualifications, requirements and other processes were explained to the NE workers at a meeting with members of the NIA Cabinet and members of the NE Workers Retirement Scheme Committee on Friday, May 26, at the Nevis Performic Arts Centre (NEPAC).
“This has been one of the signal achievements of my Administration of which we are exceedingly proud…I believe it was an historic day for Nevis, because we were demonstrating not just in word but in deed that our people truly matter most. These types of initiatives where we’re seeking to bring real relief and assistance to the people is where the rubber meets the road. That is where people can say ‘yes, this is a government that is looking out for us’,” Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, and Minister of Human Resources, said during his monthly press conference on Tuesday, May 30, noting that these employees now have something to look forward to once they retire.
He said while legislation was passed at the Federal level in 2011 to address the issue which affects both St. Kitts and Nevis, it had not been actualized. This meant that NE workers, or auxiliary workers as they are referred to in St. Kitts, who would have worked in the public service for decades would go home empty handed upon retiring. Premier Brantley said that has come to an end on Nevis.
“We are all aware that many have worked with government for long years- some 30, 50, even 50 years- and when the time comes for them to retire they are given a handshake and maybe a plaque and they are wished all the best, and because they are non-established workers, that is, they have not been appointed to the permanent establishment, they have never had the benefit of getting a pension or any kind of payment after they would have left…
“So we in Nevis have been waiting now for the last decade and more for this to be done for our NE workers. During that time many would have retired and have left with nothing, many are still there labouring and giving yeoman service to the people of Nevis…Now any worker that is leaving the service will be able to get some pension, they also will get their Social Security, and so it is our hope that the combination of those will make their lives in retirement a bit easier.”
The meeting with NE workers at NEPAC was chaired by Mr. Wakely Daniel, Permanent Secretary in the Premier ‘s Ministry and Committee Chairperson. Mr. Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Committee Member, outlined the scheme and explained the calculation of gratuitous and pension payments.
Workers asked several pertinent questions and also expressed their gratitude to the government for implementing the retirement package. They were provided with leaflets with key information of the scheme.
Premier Brantley, along with other NIA Ministers, was present at the meeting. He fielded questions of a policy nature.
The Premier said while the government is “still doing the math”, initially the program would cost the NIA an estimated $600,000 annually. The cost is expected to escalate to around $1.5 million per year.
NE workers have been asked to fill out a registration form with pertinent information which their department head or Permanent Secretary will sign and keep as part of their file. They were also encouraged to apply for their benefits at least two months prior to retirement to allow for timely processing of their payments.