Former trade unionist remembered for championing Social Security

The late Prince Alfred Hurst

One of the founding fathers of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) is being remembered for his perseverance in the establishment of the Social Security Scheme.

Prince Alfred Hurst, who died on August 23 at the age of 95, will be laid to rest today following a service at the All Saints Anglican Church and former general secretary of the ABWU, Sir Keithlyn Smith said he has left a great legacy behind.

According to Sir Keithlyn, had it not been for Hurst’s adamant pursuit in several areas of the trade union movement, workers would not be enjoying the benefits they currently do.

He recalled that Hurst was a member of the Social Security Scheme in Curacao and when he returned to Antigua & Barbuda in 1964 he advocated for a similar scheme to be introduced into law.

“He promoted the scheme’s benefits for each citizen of Antigua & Barbuda,” he said.

But that year, the AT&LU conference put off his recommendations for another year, Sir Keithlyn said. However, the party’s leader Sir VC Bird told Prince to bring it back to the conference through his local branch and for the remaining months, Hurst pursued his crusade for the scheme.

In 1965, the All Saints Section of the AT&LU took it back as a resolution at the conference of 1966/1967. After a split occurred between the AT&LU members in 1967, the Antigua Workers Union (AWU) was formed and Hurst once again brought up the Social Security Scheme Resolution at the first AWU delegates conference in 1968.

“That resolution ran from 1968 to 1971 when the PLM came into power. Mr Hurst pushed at every meeting and every conference until the premier – George Walter — selected Donald Halsted, Rugby Lake and Prince Hurst to ensure that it came into effect,” Sir Keithlyn said.

More in today’s Daily Observer.