BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (June 5, 2013) — Twenty-two year old Ms Latasha Mulraine is a woman with a mission. A recruit with the People Employment Programme (PEP) who hails from the historic village of St. Paul’s, she is among the five recruits who have been assigned duties that will help make the island’s zone 6 the most environmentally beautiful in the Federation.
Ms Mulraine had worked as a housekeeper on and off, but at the time PEP was launched, she was at home without a job. Realising that the government was giving people the opportunity to acquire not only jobs but also skills, she decided to register at PEP, hoping that she would get a position as a housekeeper.
The People Employment Programme came in handy as Ms Mulraine got something, but not exactly what she had hoped. Not a choosy person, she took what was on offer, and Tuesday she admitted that she is in the right vocation and is pleased not only with the government for that change in her life, but she is also happy with herself for having taken a job that persons would normally ignore.
“I am catching up with this work,” said Ms Mulraine as she pulled weed from the well manicured road reserve at Jelly Walk along the Island Main Road in the vicinity of White Gate. “I am proud to see a clean environment. I now like this job and I would gladly take it if offered full time.”
Ms Mulraine is one of 525 People Employment Programme recruits who have been assigned to the Parks and Beaches Unit. Along with four others, she was assigned to Zone Six, which covers the area Bungalow to Dowsen Point. Since she is from St. Paul’s Village, she now finds it very convenient to work from close to home.
According to Mr Daniel Henry, Coordinator of Parks and Beaches Unit, the 525 recruits have been assigned in different areas throughout St. Kitts, with Basseterre area taking the lion’s share as it has groups assigned one each to Newtown, Central Basseterre, West Basseterre, Buckley’s and along the F.T. Williams Highway.
“What is critical is that they practically do the same thing as the other employees, and that is clean open spaces and verges and we include cemeteries as well,” said Mr Henry. “They are coping well because it is physical work and some of them have been involved with physical work before.”
Mr Henry has confirmed that with the assignment of the PEP recruits to the Parks and Beaches Unit, the groups are now able to go to the inner parts of the communities. He said: “The PEP people are now going into the inner parts of the communities, and doing other things that Parks and Beaches does not do.”
Fifty-two year old Mr Washington Wattley, also from St. Paul’s said that his is an iconic village, it being the home of Federation’s First National Hero and first Premier, Sir Robert L. Bradshaw, and also the home of the current Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Dr Denzil Douglas.
“I want St. Paul’s to look the best village,” said Mr Wattley. “This being the home of two of our greatest leaders, you won’t want to see your village dirty. I am comfortable doing this work, and I thank the government for giving us the opportunity to make this country look clean. We will do it, at least we are succeeding in St. Paul’s and I am sure others will do the same in their areas, but we want to lead.”
Ex-SSMC worker, Ms Faith Rawlins from Saddlers, told how after she was laid off joined her sister to work on farms in the mountains where they grow peanuts and sweet potatoes because she does not believe in sitting idle, especially when there is something one could do.
“I applied to join the People Employment Programme because in farming we have to wait for more than three months before you could have any crop to sell,” explained Ms Rawlins. “Especially in these hard economic times when even sales are not as good as they once used to be, I had to look for an alternative because I have children going to school.”
She noted that she now likes the job with the Parks and Beaches because apart from earning a steady income, she is able to see the instant results of her work when the environment looks green and clean. She promised that as long as she has the job, the St. Paul’s area and by extension St. Kitts, will be the most beautiful so as to attract more visitors.
Zone Six Supervisor, Mr Bishen Daniel, said that the five recruits from PEP have given members of his work gang of 15 a good assistance. He added: “They are doing a great job, and if I could get another five, it would make the work in this zone much better. I rotate them in the various communities in the zone and so far so good.”
The People Employment Programme (PEP) has not only provided field workers to the Parks and Beaches Unit. According to Coordinator Mr Daniel Henry, PEP has also provided one staff, Ms Cleotil Stevens, to work in the Parks and Beaches Unit office.
“She is specifically assigned as an office assistant at the Parks and Beaches Unit, the reason being that because of the volume of administrative work at the office of Parks and Beaches that has to do with the PEP,” said Mr Henry. “That is why she is assigned here to assist me and my secretary for the Parks and Beaches in that administrative work.
“She is performing very well because she is computer literate and she has previous experience doing office assistance work. She is an asset to the office, because what she is doing at this time is preparing the payroll for the weekly wages of the PEP workers for submission to the PEP office.”