..aims to have participants working
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE PEACE Programme is under review by the Government, with the aim of revamping it to ensure meaningful employment is gained by the participants.
Often touted in some quarters as a programme where the Government pays gang members to keep the peace, it was shrouded in controversy as the former administration did not release much information on its workings and benefits.
The Programme was used as a major talking point by all three political parties leading up to the August 6 General Elections.
Speaking on the subject, Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, however disclosed that a meeting was held yesterday (Mar. 15) to discuss the programme and possible changes that could be implemented.
That comes as the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party continues to criticize the former administration for its handling of the programme.
While responding to a caller on Freedom FM, Dr. Drew explained that the Government would seek to implement some work requirement measure for the progamme that could bring added benefits.
“There was a meeting today with the PEACE Programme, and it is going through some changes of course. And he is right, that persons want to work and so we will be putting a number of programmes in place within the programme to give people the opportunity to work,” noted Dr. Drew.
It was highlighted by the Prime Minister that the changes would bring cost savings to the programme in the long run.
“...Because once work is done and money comes in, that can help to pay those on the programme,” suggested Dr. Drew.
In taking a swipe at the former administration, Dr. Drew recalled he had indicated that the programme had become corrupted “and the Development Bank was used to enrich a few to the tune of over $20 million”.
He asserted that “that programme was used as the vehicle by which that money was stolen. And so, we are now in the process of transforming the programme to what it should be transformed into”.
Meanwhile, another meeting is slated for tomorrow and the Government has already engaged the consultant with whose assistance they have been able to draft the structure of the programme going forward.
Friday’s meeting, according to Dr. Drew, would “bring closure to a number of critical things”.
The PM indicated that when the changes do come on stream, the programme is expected to ensure that the participants would begin to live “upright lives”.