Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 29, 2015 (SKNIS): The Federation’s Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has urged the private sector to partner with and support the government in its efforts “to re-organize and recalibrate the PEP Programme,” in his New Year’s Day address.
Prime Minister Harris indicated that “most workers have been on PEP since its inception,” and explained that the government wants “PEP workers to be fully employed by their employers in 2016 and their wages to reflect the fair value of their work. We also want persons on the PEP Programme to be assisted in the setting up their own businesses.”
Dr. Harris, revealed that “in 2016, PEP will be re-vamped and re-purposed,” adding that the Government of National Unity “solicits the cooperation of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Hotel and Tourism Association,” to facilitate this initiative.
He said that the Team Unity Administration had inherited the PEP programme, noting that while the programme has some merit, “for the most part, the programme appeared to have been a knee-jerk reaction to the filing of the Motion of No Confidence, as a means of solidifying political traction among young voters.”
“A recent productivity and performance assessment of the programme by the Caribbean Development Bank has revealed that of the more than 4,000 workers on PEP less than 140 benefitted from sustainable training,” Dr. Harris said, while explaining that the programme is unsustainable in its present state and has cost the government over $165 million.
He further explained that “the re-designed programme should be multifaceted and be inclusive of a training and recruitment mechanism that facilitates measured entry into and graduation out of the programme on a consistent basis.”