by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) Social Activist Duncan ‘Big Lice’ Wattley shared his dissatisfaction with the payment of the honorariums in St. Kitts. The social commentator said the onus lies on the Government to ensure that all individuals who should be paid an honorarium receive it.
“Now I am only here to help people. I get enemies for doing that, but I love when people get through and so, I am not saying that everybody ought to get the honorarium but, I am saying that the Government is ultimately responsible to [ensure] that [whoever] ought to get it, get it.
There has been ongoing public discourse relating to the garbage collectors’ exemption from the group of persons eligible to receive an honorarium from the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. In his opinion, Wattley said garbage collectors are frontline workers and should have received honorarium payments because they were exposed to COVID-19-contaminated waste.
“Three or four garbage collectors came to my premises and indicated to me that they did not get an honorarium. Now I hear people talking [about] a lot of things. I am one who [doesn’t] believe that everyone should get or everybody is going to get; but we must understand what frontline means. Frontline to me in a nutshell is persons who were in front working and were exposed or they had the possibility of being exposed to the persons who probably would have come down with the COVID [-19] and know how contagious that was. So, my thing is, the guys who go around and pick up all the garbage, who work for the Government, they must have been on the list. I am not talking about everybody in Solid Waste, you know. I’m talking about the garbage collectors, especially those who work for the public service.”
The social activist questioned the treatment meted out to garbage collectors and explained that he reached out to the Government on their behalf.
“Why do we continue to treat these people like they are nobody?” The guys came there passionately and they said “Big Lice, boy, we are planning to strike you know and I said give it up to me; let me try and put it out there. Let the powers that be recognise that you have a case and I did. I haven’t heard back, but I believe somebody’s telling me that they are going to get it.”
Wattley opined that some persons in authority are ‘diddle-daddling’ when it comes to certain important matters, which he believes should be dealt with more efficiently.
“Now, I am not saying in this case that it was sabotage, but when we continue to have persons who are not aligned and [who] do not believe in the principles of the Government of the day, they are going to move slowly, and we need to wake up and make them move fast.”
The payment of honorariums was a campaign promise by the St. Kitts -Nevis Labour Party ahead of the August 5 National Assembly Election, having won six of eight parliamentary seats. The honorariums were paid in October 2022.