Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 23, 2018 (S.T.E.P.) — Prime Minister and Minister of People Empowerment, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, has implored workers on STEP Community Clean-up Groups from Boyd’s, West Farm, Buckley’s, West Basseterre ‘A’ and ‘B’ to take advantage of the opportunity given to them by the programme, to bring about a better St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We really want you to appreciate the opportunity you have here on the STEP, and to take advantage of it, because frankly speaking what if there were no STEP from tomorrow?” Dr Harris posed. The Prime Minister was addressing the Community Clean-up Groups workers on Thursday November 22 at the St. Johnston Community Centre where they had gathered for the second in a series of Soft Skills Training Programme workshop focusing on Conflict Resolution.
Prime Minister Harris observed that the workers now have an opportunity to use the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) to improve their lot, advising them that if they were to leave the programme they could approach employers and cite the skills and quality work experience they would have gained over the time they were on the programme.
The workers were advised to use their time on the STEP to develop and improve their skills to a level where if a better opportunity were to present itself, they could leave STEP with a mind-set that they are better in their areas of skills and trades with the aim of earning better incomes as they have families to take care of.
“I say if you develop that mind-set we would want to work with you,” advised the Prime Minister. “There is no reason why you have to be with STEP for twelve months of the year. If for six months you get a better job, go take that better job.”
Added Dr Harris: “I would welcome that change because that tells me that you have a mind-set where you appreciate opportunities are coming. I want you to seize those opportunities for better life, and that the discipline that you would have developed here would help you on the next job.”
The Soft Skills Training Programme workshop was facilitated by International Social Skills Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist, and President of Motiv-8 For Change International, Dr Neals Chitan; and the former Director of Gender Affairs, Mrs Ingrid Charles-Gumbs.
Present were Senator the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for STEP, Mr Osbert DeSuza; Director of STEP, Mr Wendell Wattley, who introduced Prime Minister Harris to the STEP workers; Mr Emile Greene, STEP’s Quality Assurance Coordinator/Consultant; Mr William Phillip, STEP Field Coordinator; and STEP Field Officers Ms Ercille French, and Mr Jason McKoy.
Prime Minister Harris told the STEP workers it was important to have the discipline of respecting rules at the workplace, advising them if they were required at the workplace by 7:30 am, that it must be 7:30 am. He stressed that they not only needed to know the rules but to respect them.
“We do not want a country in which people are getting paid and they are not producing,” said Dr Harris. “We do not want a country where laziness is encouraged and incentivised because laziness will not get us anywhere. It will always be our skills and industry, and willingness to work and discipline ourselves to hard work that will take us to the next stage of our development.”
On top of being disciplined workers, the Hon Prime Minister encouraged them to take pride in what they are doing because they are doing excellent work which many people are unaware of and he suggested that there was the need to create for the public a better impression of what is happening on the STEP programme, if the government was to justify having it and investing in it.