Premier Webster says minimum wage legislation will be tackled; thanks frontline workers for their efforts amid the pandemic
THE VALLEY, ANGUILLA — While acknowledging the struggles local workers have had to contend with over the past year and thanking them for their resilience, Premier Dr. Ellis Webster pledged that his government will work for a better future for labour in the country.
Delivering an address on New Year’s Day, Webster said, “Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the holiday season was a time to reconnect with family and friends, and to not only reflect on the challenges and successes of 2021, but on the vision for a brighter and better future — a vision of prosperity where our people gain meaningful employment, pursue opportunities, live productive lives and build a future for themselves and their families.”
He added, “This year, we must pay particular attention to the plight of workers and set up an environment where they will be treated with dignity and earn a livable wage.
“This forms part of our progressive legislative agenda, including minimum wage legislation and strengthening the understudy program.”
Although he acknowledged challenges to come, Premier Webster also addressed certain positive highlights, particularly that Anguilla was able to continue safely welcoming visitors despite the pandemic and that former employees of NBA (National Commercial Bank of Anguilla) and CCB (Caribbean Commercial Bank) “have finally received some of their pension”.
Premier says “thank you” to frontline workers
Webster also took the time to express gratitude for the many workers who kept the country going amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “We are thankful for those who serve the people of Anguilla — frontline workers, public servants, especially teachers…
“We are thankful for the hospitality workers who do their part to maintain Anguilla’s tourism industry. We must protect them with better wages and laws which recognize their importance to the economy and society.
“We are also thankful for the hotel, villa and restaurant owners who reopened and revitalized the hospitality sector.”
While he specifically thanked hoteliers who helped the nation “accommodate more airlift” — a major focus of his administration — Webster added that “we must continue to support the ferry boat operators”, some of whom “have suffered the most”.
As he wished all Anguillans a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2022, the premier said, “There are many challenges ahead, but, as demonstrated, this administration will not shy away from the tough decisions, as we all make the necessary sacrifices to preserve our island home.”