BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 25, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The highly successful intervention programme, now known as the Peace Initiative, has been heralded as one of the mechanisms, implemented under the Team Unity administration, that has led to the period of unprecedented peace and calm the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is experiencing.
National Security Adviser, Retired Major General Stewart Saunders, who is one of the persons who spearheaded the initiative, stated that the intervention programme began with approximately 70 individuals then blossomed to include some 800 marginalized young people where a number of opportunities were offered to the at-risk groups such as project development, business ventures, and access to loans, apprenticeship programmes and educational opportunities.
“Persons who have been on for some time and who have accessed these opportunities have now started to move off the programme to spend more time in the actual business ventures that they have adopted, and that is always a good sign as it makes way for anybody else who might be interested in coming on to the programme,” the National Security Advisor said on Tuesday, June 23, while appearing on popular virtual forum series, Leadership Matters, alongside Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilroy Brandy.
Looking ahead, Major General Saunders noted that their immediate objective is to implement a “life-skills training and exposure” programme as part of the overall offerings under the Peace Initiative.
He added, “What we need to do is to ensure that we can equip these individuals to work properly within the workforce, understanding all the social skills that are necessary in order to make them more valuable citizens and to understand what entails on a normal job in society today.”
The National Security Adviser commented that the support and understanding of the general public are critically important for the continued success of the Peace Initiative “in ensuring that we can bring these members of at-risk groups back into the normal fold of society.”
The Peace Initiative came into effect on March 13, 2019, after gang members indicated to the police their desire to put an end to the violence that was taking place among them. The Police then sought the assistance of the Ministry of National Security, and an Interim Engagement Team comprising members of different sectors of society was put in place to work with the members to provide various levels of support to help them get involved in alternative lifestyles.