This has been disclosed by Minister of Information, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty, who said the dissolution of the SSMC will take place through the appropriate legal mechanisms and making the necessary provisions for dealing with its assets and liabilities.
“Decisions were also taken in relation to the transfer of certain existing functions from the SSMC to government departments, dissolution of the Board of Directors and the allocation of resources to implement the activities associated with the wind-up of the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation,” said Minister Carty in the Post-Cabinet Briefing on Wednesday.
He said the Chairman of Cabinet, Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas also discussed with the Cabinet the government’s plan to develop the defunct SSMC complex into the St. Kitts Sugar Museum and to relocate the national archives to that complex at an appropriate time.
Dissolution of the SSMC comes seven years after the official closure of the sugar industry.
Stating that the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation is now to be wound up at the end of June, Minister Carty recalled the symbolic last sounding of the SSMC Factory horn and the ceremonial arrival of the last sugar train as it pulled into the SSMC Factory station. These symbolic events occurred at the official end of the production of sugar by the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation in 2005.
“However, much work still needed to be done in respect of the operations of the SSMC, and the Board of the Corporation has persisted since that time. Treating with the debt of the corporation, considering matters pertinent to the severance of workers, and the management of existing assets are some of the matters with which the SSMC has had to contend since the cessation of the production of sugar,” said Minister Carty.
He disclosed that during Monday’s Cabinet Meeting, Senior Minister and Minister responsible for the SSMC, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris presented a proposal to Ministers to govern the final stage of the wind-up of the corporation.
“After this proposed final stage, the SSMC will no longer exist as a legal entity. The Minister of Agriculture revealed that the Board of Directors of the SSMC had agreed to the wind-up of the corporation by June 30, 2012,” said Mr. Carty.
Since 2005, the SSMC has retained 60 or more employees who have provided administrative services, security, land preparation services for small farmers, soil conservation services, agro-processing services, storesmaintenance, animal capture, and machining services.
As the SSMC finally goes into legal extinction, these workers will now be permanently severed.
“However, some of these employees may be re-employed in the government services to help in the fulfillment of certain critical functions which will be transferred from the SSMC to the government through a number of government departments. For example, the animal capturing, soil conservation, and agro-processing functions will be taken over by the government and a portion of the staff connected to these functions may be re-hired after their official severance from the SSMC,” said Mr. Carty.
In regards to existing assets of the corporation, the machine shop at the factory is up for consideration for privatization; residential properties are to be sold by the Privatisation Unit, but those not sold by the wind-up date are to be transferred to the Crown.
Vehicles, stocks of spare parts and remaining scrap metal are to be sold; and maintenance of operable locomotives is to be considered. Significant business yet remains for the SSMC with regard to much of its assets, its contractual obligations and other arrangements.