Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 11, 2016 (SKNIS): The Government of National Unity has embarked on the expansion of the Park and Beaches Unit of the People’s Employment Programme (PEP). This expansion has seen the employment of workers skills in the Agricultural Sector.

On Monday January 11, 2016, the group that piloted this initiative in Phillips, donated the first 1000 lbs of pumpkin to the St. Christopher Children’s Home, The School Meals Programme and The Cardin Home.

Speaking during a brief handing over ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Osbert DeSuza, said he was extremely pleased about the success of the initiative thus far. He said that “the PEP group in Phillips has not only just cleaned the land but has also ventured into vegetable production.”

Mr DeSuza thanked the group and all responsible for their hard work and indicated that this programme will be adopted in other areas. He said that he hopes to see other crops being produced shortly.

Mr Ian Williams, Director of the School Meals Programme, said that he was grateful for the donation.

“We are thankful to the PEP and the employees for giving back something to the society and more specifically my department,” he said.

Mr Williams said that it is important for children to be fed a balanced diet which includes vegetables. He said that this donation will provide much needed resources to his department.

Similarly, Ms Margret Stevens, the manager of the St. Christopher Children’s Home, was also thankful for the donation. “I really would like to express our deep thanks and gratitude to the staff of the PEP for this initiative. I have always known St. Kitts to have very fertile land and to see that you can produce this quantity of produce, it truly is amazing,” said Ms Steven, adding that the children love pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin cookies.

Administrator of the Cardin Home, Ms Gail Cranstoun, explained that “pumpkin is something that we usually have to buy and this would help to alleviate some of that cost.” She also expressed “sincere thanks and gratitude to the workers of the PEP.”

Mr William Phillip, Director of the Parks and Beaches Unit of the PEP, indicated that he was proud to be a part of the expansion of the programme.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during his New Year’s Address, announced that the PEP programme will be restructured. He said that while the programme was one of importance, it had been abused in the past and the government will give the programme a fresh start with the aim of making it more sustainable.

Mr Ruben Govia, one of the PEP workers, acknowledged that the programme was a cost burden to the government. He said that that was a reason why initiatives such as these are important noting that “we are giving back to the government and showing our appreciation.”

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