BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, November 18, 2020 (S.T.E.P.) — The Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) has introduced new guidelines for field workers attached to Community Enhancement Groups, which are geared towards streamlining the workers’ attendance with the sole aim of getting greater operational efficiency.
“This is a programme that should have been done from the beginning of the year, but due to coronavirus, and then we had an election and then we began to work on the regularisation of the STEP workers, the programme was delayed,” explained STEP Director, Mr Emile Greene.
According to Mr Greene, persons would have complained that the STEP workers in the field were not working or were working for a few hours but were still getting paid for hours that they are not in the field. The new guidelines will ensure that STEP gets greater operational efficiency of its field side.
“We can see it especially now we are in the rainy season there are many areas that are overgrown and we thought, with the approval and instruction of the government that we are going to introduce new measures and to enforce them,” said Mr Greene. “Our workday will now be 7:00 am to 2:00 in the afternoon. Previously, by 10 o’clock you cannot find any of the cleaning crew on the road. They come out a few hours and then they go home.”
Accompanied by STEP Field Operations Manager Mr William Phillip, STEP Senior Field Officer Mr Jason McKoy, STEP Field Officer Mr Leslie Connor, and STEP Verification Officer Mr Keith Warner, Mr Greene has been visiting the various Community Enhancement Groups in St. Kitts and updating the workers on the new measures. STEP Chief Field Officer in Nevis Mr Oscar Browne has been visiting the groups in Nevis.
The workers have been advised that STEP will enforce punctuality and the attendance requirements, and those persons who do not work and those who are consistently absent will be disciplined.
“We have said to them that they have to be early, and they have to come with their tools,” observed Mr Greene. “You cannot come to work and if you are somebody who is supposed to be doing raking or cutting grass using a machete, they come empty-handed – we will send them back home. We have also said to them that the practice of not working on Friday must stop immediately.”
Mr Greene reports that they have so far seen some improvement with some of the groups, but added that a lot more still needs to be done as the programme has just started. STEP is using the field officers to go out every day to verify that persons are turning up to work on time and that they are staying on the job for the required time, while at the same time ensuring that the quantity and the quality of work done have improved.
“With the transformation in work hours, the transformation in the quantity of work, and the transformation in the work done, I think over the next few months the people of St. Kitts and Nevis should be pleased with the work, as the government is determined during these times that money spent must bring value to the country,” noted the STEP Director.
He concluded: “Covid-19 has changed many things in the way countries operate and here in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet they have indicated that the programme must – there is no if or no doubt – improve and there be value for money being spent.”