A STEP community enhancement worker engages lawyer O’Grenville Browne during the Civic Responsibilities training session at the St. Johnston Community Centre. 

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), Mr Osbert DeSuza, impressed upon STEP community enhancement trainees on Thursday at the St. Johnston Community Centre that while government has a responsibility to them, responsibility is a two-way street.

“Responsibilities go in both directions,” said Mr DeSuza. “You go to work and you make sure you get paid. It is same thing with government. The government has to have responsibilities to its citizens and the citizens have to have responsibilities to the government.”

Community enhancement workers from the West Basseterre area had gathered at the St. Johnston Community Centre for the second training session on Civic Responsibility of STEP’s Soft Skills Training Programme. The first session on Civic Responsibility, being facilitated by criminal lawyer Mr O’Grenville Browne, was held at the Conaree Community Centre Oct. 24.

Mr. DeSuza told the STEP community enhancement workers part of their responsibility at the jobsites was to respect themselves, and advised that even though they are on the STEP, which is associated with the government, they should realise that there are certain behaviours they cannot take to the jobsites.

“We want you to respect yourselves on the jobsites,” advised Mr DeSuza. “That is why we are bringing these sessions to you. Respect yourselves, respect your supervisors and you expect your supervisors in return to respect you. This morning we have Lawyer O’Grenville Browne, who will speak to us on our civic responsibilities.”

Facilitator, Mr. O’Grenville Browne, engaged the participants in a highly interactive discourse where he first asked them what they thought was government’s role in relation to its civic responsibility. He followed that question with what they thought their role was in relation to the same subject.

“Your role is to look after your family,” said Mr Browne. “You look after your family by making sure that they have roofs over their heads, make sure that they have food to eat, make sure that there is some running water…. The government provides the water. You have children, your role is to make sure that they go to school… the government will provide the schools.”

He advised them they all have civic responsibilities, not just to each other, but to themselves as well, and advised the participants on the best way to keep on the good side of the law and how to deal with the law enforcement officers.

“You try best to obey the law as much as possible,” he said. “You don’t disrespect the police if you don’t have to. There is no way you should disrespect the police —period. But if you find the police are disrespecting, then you take the matter into your own hands with the intention you are going speak to whoever their supervisors are, or you see a lawyer who will be able to bring some kind of justice. It does not benefit anybody when you break the laws.”

The training session was chaired by Mr William Phillip, STEP’s Field Coordinator, while Mr Leslie Connor, STEP Field Officer, gave the vote of thanks. Also present were the STEP Accountant Mr Clive Nias, and Field Officers Mr Damian Weekes, and Mr Jason McKoy.