BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, 21st April 2023 – The Department of Constituency Empowerment, over a two-day training session, rolled out Phase Two of its operationalization stage as it has now equipped its officers with uniforms and tools necessary to conduct their work in the field. This was held at the Solid Waste Management Corporation Conference Room from 13th -14th April, 2023.
Phase Two also included presentations from two community volunteers who specialise in survey techniques and community assessments like the Poverty Alleviation Assessment (PAA). The focus was primarily on best field practices and what to expect while undertaking such a rigorous task.
Charlene Gumbs, Constituency Officer for Constituency Five, says so far, the training has prepared her for the job ahead.
She said, “It’s a lot to learn and a lot to deal with the public as well. When you deal with the public, you don’t know what to expect but you have to tell yourself, your opinions and their opinions are of the same importance. So, I am ready for it.”
Constituency Officer for Constituency Four, Keyshaun Jones, says for him, it is the need to help people that further inspired him to become an Officer and the preparation so far has been very adequate.
He said, “The training is rather informative. It is interesting to see how the officers have a lot of work piled up to do. It’s not something where you just go out willy-nilly. It’s a lot of planning and preparations involved.”
Meanwhile, the Director of the Department, Colincia Levine, speaking to the importance of the training, said it is important that the team meets and hears from persons who have had experience in the field.
She said, “Even though we have the skills to do it, partnering can only make us stronger and the wealth of knowledge and experience that these people have, can only make us better, so, it is very important that we partner and get that extra scaffold as we go out.”
On day two, representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were also on hand to offer guidance on how to navigate communities in terms of environmental vulnerabilities and hazards including environmental health hazards, derelict vehicles, drainage, and illegal dumping that, in turn, causes ghauts to flood.
Ourieka Petty, Acting Deputy of NEMA said there may be opportunities to collaborate with other departments, and as such the objective is that when the officers go out into the community, they are well-rounded.
During this second phase, there was a Preparatory Island Tour on Tuesday 18thApril 2023 that was led by expert local historian Leonard Stapleton. The tour took officers on a community sensitization exercise throughout the island.
A community walk was also done on Wednesday 19th April 2023 in Old Road and Stapleton Villages.
Following that, the staff was engaged in an activity on April 20, 2023. The organisers called it Community Mapping and it was conducted by the Planning Unit.