SIDF is a national treasure that needs to be protected, says Peter Jenkins

Basseterre, St. Kitts — Renowned entrepreneur and member of the People Employment Programme’s (PEP) Management Committee, Mr Peter Jenkins, has said that the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) is a national treasure and is imploring that it should be protected to insure that it continues from strength to strength.

Mr Jenkins, who made the remarks on Friday May 6 at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College’s Nathaniel-John Hospitality Service Centre during the graduation ceremony of 19 Hospitality and Culinary Arts trainees under the People Employment Programme (PEP), observed that the SIDF has made St. Kitts and Nevis the centre of the Caribbean.

“We are here this evening because the SIDF, prompted by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, decided to embark on the People Employment Programme, known as PEP, and as a result the PEP programme employed you to learn, and paid you to learn,” Mr Jenkins told members of the graduating class.

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According to Mr Jenkins who is the Managing Director of Jenkins Limited, and is also the President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Association of Professional Engineers, the President of the FND Credit Union, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation, St. Kitts and Nevis has become the envy of many because of the success of the SIDF initiative.

“People are asking in parts of the world where is this possible?” posed Mr Jenkins. “How is this possible? Can a government pay its citizens to learn? Not only that but it also pays its citizens to work in the private sector. How is that possible? Which country is this that can pay its citizens to learn and pay their citizens to work?”

Mr Jenkins delivered the feature remarks at the function which was also attended by the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin, and the Federal Minister with responsibility for the People Employment Programme the Hon Glenn Phillip. Also present were Ms Sharon Rattan, Deputy Chair of the PEP Management Committee, and Mr Geoffrey Hanley, the PEP Project Manager and other PEP staff members.

The People Employment Programme, Mr Jenkins noted, was the only programme in the world where citizens are paid by the government to learn and also to work in the private and private sector to acquire skills.

“It is all possible because of what is known as the Citizenship by Investment Programme,” explained Mr Jenkins. “It is the programme that allows persons from other parts of the world to obtain our citizenship for which they pay up. And it is this programme that has allowed the government to pay you to learn, and pay you to work.”

He observed that there were people who are trying to stop the programme and warned that if that happens then those coming after them (the graduates) will not have the privilege of being paid to learn or being paid to work.

“St. Kitts and Nevis is becoming the centre of the Caribbean,” observed Mr Jenkins. “It is here that people are investing; it is here that people are turning to for development. It is here that people are turning to – to make money.

“The British and the French fought many wars over St. Kitts and Nevis, because of the rich soil that we have and the strategic location of St. Kitts and Nevis. We, through sugar and tobacco, have influenced development of those countries.  A lot of money was made in St. Kitts and Nevis that went to support the European countries.”

He advised the 19 graduates, all who have been placed on jobs at various business places specialising in hospitality, that visitors coming here will be people that will be demanding first world service – top of the line service.

“You have the opportunity to be the face of St. Kitts and Nevis as you provide this personal service,” advised Mr Jenkins. “How do you provide the service? What do you have to do to ensure that you provide this world class service? One of the first things which you must have is a smile; smile that gets you weak.

“On the job you must be able to communicate effectively with all who you come in contact with, even if it means having to go back and take up the English book to practice. Get your sentences construction right. You must also be able, like our good Acting Prime Minister (Hon Dr Martin, who speaks Spanish), to speak something in some other language.”

He congratulated Mr Geoffrey Hanley and his team for the work they have done, and staff at the CFBC Ms Marsha Bassue the Director, and Mr Peter Marshall a lecturer in the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Division who carried out the training.

Guests, who included relatives of the graduates and staff members of the People Employment Programme and senior staff from the CFBC, were treated to a five course dinner that was made and served by the graduates.

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