Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 20, 2016 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that a review of the People’s Employment Programme (PEP) reveals that the Government continues to take strides to rationalize the programme in a manner that is sustainable and relevant.
Dr. Harris was at the time addressing members of the media and other government officials during his monthly press conference on Wednesday, April 20, at Government Headquarters.
“Currently, there are a total of 2083 persons employed under the PEP programme,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Government again reiterates its position that private sector employers will have a finite date by which they should make definitive decisions on long-term employees who are being paid by PEP.
“In other words we will not continue for long to pay for private persons to have an advantage relative to others in terms of their labour. There is no capitalist society known to mankind in which the government pays for wages for people in the private sector. So that is an anomaly.”
Dr. Harris paid recognition to the former President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Damion Hobson, for accepting the new vision in having the private sector take up the mantle to pay its PEP employees. He noted that Mr. Hobson has been working extremely hard to ensure that as many of the Chamber’s membership corporate.
The prime minister noted that it was the Government’s aim to move people from that state of transition under PEP to a more permanent and better place. He said that he is happy to report that a number of entities have generously conceded to the new approach.
The People Employment Programme (PEP) is a Government initiative designed to create empowerment opportunities for unemployed nationals. Funded by the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and implemented under the National Skills Training Programme, the PEP provides training that would build necessary skills for the new service economy, internship opportunities and stipends.
While focus has been placed on developing vocational skills, the trainees have also received social and life skills and entrepreneurship training. Areas of training include building trades, cosmetology, hospitality, agriculture, computer graphics, early childhood development, personal development and money management.