BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 5, 2020 (S.T.E.P.) -- Prime Minister and Minister of People Employment, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Tuesday afternoon February 4 led the nation as it bade farewell to Mr Wendell Wattley, 67, Director of the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), at a funeral service held at the St. Mary’s Park in Cayon.
“I would like to extend condolences to his wife Mrs Eugenia Wattley, and his family and to thank them for the opportunity I had personally to know him - first as a teacher, and secondly to have known him more closely in his last act of public service as the Director of the Government’s Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP),” said Dr Harris.
The government sought to draw on Mr Wattley’s long experience as a teacher, as an administrator at the General Post Office, and as someone who took charge of the human resource function at the police, to help in managing thousands of people on the STEP who needed a structured programme to ensure their empowerment.
“I personally thought that since we were about skills enhancement; since were about providing alternatives to people; since we were about providing them sound counsel and support; that when we looked at the repertoire of his own life experience, as an educator, as an administrator, as a man of God, and a man who had engaged in several areas of human endeavour, that he was ideally suited to take the STEP to a new level,” said Prime Minister Harris.
The funeral service, which was attended by hundreds, was officiated by Pastor Winston Murraine, Rev Dr Ben Browne, and Bishop Ron Dublin-Collins.
It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education the Hon Shawn Richards; Area Parliamentary Representative and Minister of Human Settlements et al. the Hon Eugene Hamilton; Minister of Public Infrastructure the Hon Ian Patches Liburd, Senior Minister the Hon Vance Amory, and Deputy Speaker Senator the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett.
“I was particularly appreciative in the final year when he began a series of Soft Skills training programmes on Money Management, Conflict Management, Civic Responsibility, and on Technical and Vocational Training where he brought people to help counsel, to help encourage, and to help support those on the STEP,” said Prime Minister Harris. “That was important as the development of the soft skills and the development of an attitude conducive to productive and responsible living is a critical part of a person’s preparation in life.”
Management and staff at the STEP, led by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Mr Osbert DeSuza, and STEP’s Quality Assurance Coordinator/Consultant, Mr Emile Greene, who is acting as the STEP Director, paid tribute to Mr Wendell Wattley at the funeral service by presenting a song.
“Mr Wendell Wattley was Wendell Wattley, and everyone who came into contact with him will know what I mean by that,” said STEP Field Officer Mr Leslie Connor who spoke on behalf of STEP. “He lived a life of service as a teacher, as a headmaster and recently as the director of STEP. He was passionate about organising Life Skills workshops for our community enhancement groups.”
Mr Connor concluded by saying: “To the family of Mr Wendell Wattley, we are sorry for your loss, and we the management and staff of STEP share in your grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.”
Other tributes were paid by Mr Samuel Polanco; Management and Staff of the General Post Office led by Post Master General Mr Dario Gill; New Birth Gospel Tabernacle which is led by Mr Wattley’s son, Mr Cyprian Williams; Ministry of Education led by Permanent Secretary Mr William Hodge; and the New Covenant Ministries.
Interment was at the Cayon Cemetery.
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