Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Staff at the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) will enjoy greater benefits and support as the government pushes ahead with the transformation of St. Kitts and Nevis into a Sustainable Small Island Development State.
Minister of Sustainable Development and Environment, the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, said that questionable financial decisions made over the past seven years have undermined the stability of the Corporation. Additionally, several issues among staff created an atmosphere of fighting and distrust that left employees feeling “diminished and unappreciated.”
“I’m thankful in our Budget that we have an additional $1.5 million to support SWMC with a staff-first policy,” Minister Dr. Clarke stated during the Budget Debate on Monday (December 19, 2022).
She questioned the fairness of having loaders working on garbage trucks without adequate occupational health and safety or working on the weekends without getting paid.
“Thankfully, our Minister of Finance and Prime Minister stepped in, and the instruction was clear – pay the people when they work, and we have done that; improve the conditions for the workers, and we have done that, and we will continue supporting SWMC,” the government Senator expressed.
To highlight the value of SWMC garbage collectors to national development, Dr. Clarke noted key policies of the government to increase food production, expand water storage capacity, and attract larger numbers of tourists.
“If those workers don’t get up at 4 a.m. and turn the engine for that truck and take up the garbage, nothing [else] matters. The water will get dirty, the food will get contaminated, and the tourists will not come, so we will be prioritizing solid waste,” the Minister stated.
She added that taking care of the workers helps to ensure that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis remains clean.