One of the two Soft Skills Training Programme facilitators, Former Director of Gender Affairs Mrs. Ingrid Charles-Gumbs.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Workers on Skills Training Empowerment Programme’s (STEP) Community Clean-up Groups from Boyd’s, West Farm, Buckley’s, and West Basseterre ‘A’ and ‘B’ were asked on Nov. 22 to take advantage of the programme to bring about a better St. Kitts and Nevis by Prime Minister and Minister of People Empowerment, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.

“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 asked. The Prime Minister was addressing workers on Nov. 22 at the St. Johnston Community Centre where they had gathered for the second in a series of Soft Skills Training Programme workshops focusing on Conflict Resolution.

Prime Minister Harris observed that STEP workers have an opportunity to use the programme 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 on the programme.

The workers were advised to use their time on the STEP to develop and improve their skills to a higher level. Then if a better opportunity presented itself, they could leave knowing that they are better in their areas of skills and trades. Those skills would assist them to earn better incomes for their families.

“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 12 months. If after six months you are offered a better job, go take that job.

“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 a better life. The discipline that you developed here will help you on the next job.”

The Soft Skills Training Programme workshops were 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.