Charlestown, Nevis — Nevisians, many who are still smarting from a wave of job losses, have received an assurance from Mr Geoffrey Hanley who is the Project Manager of the Federal government initiated People Employment Programme (PEP) that the programme will continue to change lives on their island.
“This programme has changed lives and will continue to change lives not only in Nevis but St. Kitts as well,” said Mr Hanley. He made his remarks in Nevis on Wednesday April 15 at a reception held for PEP workers and employers at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC) that was also attended by Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas.
“This evening we are delighted to celebrate the achievement of the programme thus far being able to assist over 500 Nevisians in the People Employment Programme,” said Mr Hanley. “We are happy to be here and we know that you are happy to be here, because the same way PEP is working in St. Kitts, PEP is working in Nevis.”
Mr Hanley was accompanied on the trip to Nevis by Programme Officer Mrs Beverley Williams, Training Coordinator Mrs Celia Christopher, Office Manager Mrs Agatha Caines, Personal Assistant Ms Giselle Procope, and Field Supervisor Mr Clyde Charles. Others were Field Officer Mr Leslie Connor, PEP Secretariat staff Mr Keith Warner, Ms Kadijah Harris, Ms Zemone Marriott, Ms Chrystal Woods and Ms Amber Stapleton.
Also accompanying the St. Kitts PEP team was Mr Daniel Henry, Coordinator of Parks and Beaches Unit in the Federal Ministry of Health, who manages over 700 successful and resourceful PEP workers on the island of St. Kitts.
Mr Hanley called on the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour, Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon Mr Patrice Nesbitt, who is also the Federal Parliamentary Representative for Nevis Eleven to introduce the Prime Minister at this function which was emceed by popular radio personality Mr Maurice ‘EK’ Flanders.
“I want to ask you tonight, has the PEP pepped up Nevis?” Hon Nisbett fired up the attendees who roared ‘yeeees!’ in return. “Without the PEP where will Nevis be? I want to say to you tonight that the People Employment Programme is a programme designed to empower the people.”
He implored the PEP workers to use the opportunity that they have been given by the Federal Government to acquire the necessary skill sets that they will need in order to lead a sustainable and a productive life on the island of Nevis, which he said was as result of the support of the Prime Minister.
In his remarks, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Dr Denzil Douglas hailed the people Nevis Eleven (St. James and St. Thomas) for electing the Hon Patrice Nisbett to the Federal Parliament through which he has found his niche in the Federal Government as a high ranking minister.
He thanked those who were present at the reception that commemorated the success of the People Employment Programme on the island of Nevis.
A PEP worker, Ms Janel Nanton, tearfully narrated how she got employed by Mrs Vernitha Collins of the Vern ‘N’ Llew Preschool one year ago and thanked the People Employment Programme which she noted had been of a great help to her.
“I don’t know where I would be today if it were not for PEP,” said Ms Naton. “For many of us, if it were not for PEP we would not have been working today and I would like to say much, much thanks to the Hon Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas. I just want to say thank you, thank you… words cannot explain.”
Proprietor of the Vern ‘N’ Llew Preschool Mrs Vernitha Barry-Collins, said that Teacher Janel who has three children of her own had problems, but she was not able to help her at the school when she came looking for a job as an assistant worker.
“Only God knows how she manages and after she spoke to me I prayed a lot,” said Mrs Barry-Collins. “God answered prayers, PEP answered prayers. I couldn’t employ Teacher Janel as an assistant worker, but thanks to God and thanks to PEP, may the Lord bless the Hon Prime Minister and all of the PEP workers who have assisted Vern ‘N’ Llew.”
PEP Coordinator in Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones, thanked all the PEP workers, both in Nevis and St. Kitts, who assisted in making the reception a success, terming it a labour of love.
“I am very happy that the Prime Minister came out tonight to meet the people and he spoke from his heart, and the people really enjoyed having him here today,” said Ms Jones. “This event would not have come together if it wasn’t for the hard working staff of the PEP office, both in St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, our caterers Ms Verna Isaac and Ms Claudette Walwyn.
“Tonight we have the PEP employees and there are a few employers as well. I am quite happy with the turn out. I am happy that PEP workers came out to show their support and to show that indeed the programme has been a blessing to them and will continue to be a blessing for them as well.”