Home Local News Government says ABWU’s claims on severance payments incredibly inaccurate

Government says ABWU’s claims on severance payments incredibly inaccurate

by Pointe Xpress
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The Office of the Prime Minister has responded to the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) accusation that the prime minister was being untruthful when he stated that the union has received the money set aside for the payment of severance to Jolly Beach workers.

The ABWU’s deputy general secretary, Chester Hughes, has accused Prime Minister Gaston Browne of making inaccurate statements to the effect that the ABWU was in possession of the money allocated to compensate the former employees for their years of service.

“Our recent conversation with attorneys representing the company informed us that the funds were received by them early last week. Further, they were waiting on documents to be sent from the Survey Department, which they should receive today [Monday]. Therefore, when they receive those documents, they would be in touch with us to have the matter expedited,” Hughes said in a recorded statement released by the ABWU yesterday.

The government issued a swift rebuttal challenging Hughes’ statements which were described as “spreading untruthful and incredibly inaccurate claims regarding the payments to be made to former workers of the Jolly Beach Hotel”.

“A cheque by Government, made payable to the law firm appointed by the court, in the amount of EC$12.9 million, was handed over to the firm weeks ago, in full settlement of the payments due to former Jolly Beach workers.

“The ABWU representative is further fully informed that the cheque has been paid over to the law firm, weeks ago, not last week as he has asserted, for onward payment to the former workers of Jolly Beach. The ABWU has sought to delay the severance payment by wrongly including ineligible former workers. The information that has been conveyed to the union representative has been confirmed by Lake & Kentish, the law firm in receipt of the $12.9 million in excess of a week ago,” the statement from the Office of the Prime Minister detailed.

As a result, the government has made it clear that it has lived up to its obligation to the Jolly Beach workers.

“The use of outright lies and untruthful public statements is the hallmark of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and its operatives. There is never “a silly season”; always, the re-election of a government is the most important business that a country can undertake in a democracy. Trying to persuade citizens and electors to believe that the Head of Government is engaged in prevarications, requires more than the propaganda and dissembling of the Assistant Secretary General of the ABWU.

“The availability of $12.9 million for former Jolly Beach workers has been paid over for weeks; evidently, the government has discharged its responsibility to settle the severance due to the former Jolly Beach workers. The matter is now solely within the domain of ABWU and their agent.”

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