Basseterre, St. Kitts — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister with responsibility for Public Utilities the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin has said that community centres in the Federation should be put to use, and has challenged the People Employment Programme (PEP) to replicate its programmes throughout all the community centres.
“No longer must our community centres close down throughout the day,” lamented Dr Martin. “They must be a beehive of activity where activities are continuously going on for our young people.”
The Deputy Prime Minister made the remarks on Monday January 26 at the Newtown Community Centre, where he delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the PEP School of Technology, which is housed upstairs of the community centre in the area that represents in the Federal Parliament.
“I would rather see this programme replicate throughout the whole of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr Martin. “In other words these programmes that are being executed from right here in the Newtown Community Centre must be replicated throughout all the community centres in St. Kitts and Nevis and that is a challenge I have this morning for the PEP programme.”
The challenge was directed to the PEP Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley, who was chairing proceedings at the function that was also addressed by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Post the Hon Glenn Phillip.
“Mr Hanley, I hope you are hearing me,” said Dr Martin. “These programmes must be throughout the Federation, whether you are in Tabernacle, Mansion, Old Road wherever you are these programmes must be designed to have them right at the doorsteps of those persons who are here so we can develop the skills wherever you are, to make sure you can play an active part in the development of this country.”
Saying that the opening of the PEP School of Technology was a clear demonstration of government’s commitment to the development of the Federation’s young people, he in the same vein challenged the young people to make use of facilities offered at the school of technology and learn how to develop apps, and specialise in graphic design.
Dr Martin pointed out that many thought that PEP would not last, but he said that the government would continue to give young persons the opportunities to move to the next level through the various aspect of the programme, as it has succeeded in taking trainees in hospitality to study at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College at the certificate level.
Minister Phillip, who gave the feature remarks, observed that the People Employment Programme has become a catalyst for change and human development of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis since its launch in 2012, adding that it had retooled people in preparation for the new economy that is based on service, the creative arts and information and technology.
“The programme and its spill effects have been major contributors to the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis as the activities of the men and women trained and employed under the People Employment Programme contribute directly to the increase in national output,” said Minister Phillip.
“As a result, when our government speaks of growth in the national economy, when regional and international agencies say that St. Kitts and Nevis is on the right path, it is because the PEP programme has borne fruit.”
He pointed out that the vision of the People Employment Programme is bound up in the desire for full employment in the Federation on a sustainable basis, supported by the knowledge and access to the latest trends and innovations.
These, explained the minister, include identifying and capitalising on opportunities for entrepreneurship because as much as it is possible, the aim of the programme is to empower the people for economic and social advancement.
“I am proud to say that today’s launch of the PEP School of Technology is one such new initiative of the programme,” said Hon Phillip. “The focus on information and technology continues to build on the foundation of the skills that were taught over the past two years within the scope of opening opportunities for all.”
Earlier in his introductory remarks, Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley said that 2015 will be an exciting time for PEP, as the year had started with the commissioning of a Field Lazer S200 road marking machine for road marking by the PEP Road Safety Crew with the Police Department, and the opening of the PEP office.
“This is yet another sign that PEP is indeed a blessing,” said Mr Hanley. “This lab will touch the lives not only of those who are participating in the People Employment Programme, but the community by extension. We are happy this morning to bring another dream to fruition in the PEP programme.”
The ceremony was also attended by the Chairman of SIDF Dr Hermia Morton-Anthony, PEP’s Deputy Project Manager Mrs Beverly Williams, PEP’s Training Coordinator Mrs Celia Christopher, and PEP participants from Parks and Beaches, Cosmetology, Graphic Design, and Business Administration disciplines.
After the ribbon was cut by the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin, and Minister the Hon Glenn Phillip, a tour of the facility was conducted where they all tried out the computers in the lab.