CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS, November 17, 2022 (NIA) – The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) will pay an honorarium to frontline workers and those individuals who provided auxiliary support assisting in the COVID-19 response on the island of Nevis, by November 30, 2022.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Finance in the NIA, gave an update on the planned payment during his monthly press conference on November 17, 2022.
“I am pleased to announce that after some deliberation and some internal consultation and the appointment of a team [of technocrats] to look at this, that we have come up with some categories of workers. We are seeking to reward those by a small token of appreciation- we can never afford to pay them for what they did- who worked diligently and were on the front lines in the fight against COVID, between the period March 2020 to October 2021…
“We have seen the value in the amount of $2000, which again is not sufficient to compensate, but it is not intended as compensation, it is intended as a token of appreciation. This is not something we promised or committed to, but it is something we feel is appropriate given the circumstances and given the fact that some people really went above and beyond and really put country above self. At a time when we called upon our people to do more and to give more, some responded and the thinking is that those who responded ought now to have a token of appreciation to say thank you.”
The categories of workers who will benefit from the honorarium are Immigration and Customs Officers, front line officers of the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (NASPA), and dispatchers of the Ministry of Tourism stationed at the Vance Amory International Airport (VAIA) and at the Oualie water taxi pier; all COVID-19 certified taxi operators who were involved in moving passengers to and from the various quarantine sites, and all COVID-19 water taxi operators who were involved in moving inbound and outbound passengers to and from Nevis; officers of the Emergency Operation Centre; nursing and other auxiliary staff for the Alexandra Hospital, health centres and Mental Health Unit; allied staff at the Ministry of Health; all truck drivers and field attendants at the Solid Waste Management Authority who handled garbage disposal during the period; officers of the Ministry of Health and Tourism who assisted with training and certification for the re-opening of borders; all members of the first cohort of the Compliance Task Force based on Nevis; and officers of the Social Services Department.
“The various departments have been asked to compile their lists. This is not an exercise that is being done by the Cabinet; the Cabinet exercise was really to come up with a policy. We would know already who the taxi operators and the water taxi operators were that stepped up to the plate, and so we will have all of that sorted by the Ministry of Finance that the payment should be made on or before November 30,” the Premier said.
He thanked these groups of dedicated Nevisians who rose to the call of duty, risking their own lives to ensure the protection of citizens and residents faced with a deadly virus.
Hon. Brantley stated, “It was critical for us to ensure that the people who benefitted from an honorarium- and the terminology is important because an honorarium means it is not something somebody worked for, it is not something that is owed to them; it is something that is being given as a token of appreciation- were in fact the people who were on the front line in the fight against COVID ensuring that we were kept safe.”
The NIA Cabinet and technocrats agreed on the period March 2020 to October 2021 based on the consideration that the pandemic began impacting St. Kitts and Nevis in March 2020, and COVID-19 restrictions and protocols were eased, along with the borders being re-opened in October 2021.