BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 19, 2023 (SKNIS) – In an enlightening and informative wrap-up to the debate on the 2024 Budget, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew took the opportunity to update the nation on the progress being made with the ELEVATE Programme.
In July 2023, the ELEVATE programme effectively replaced the troubled Alternative Lifestyle Pathways Programme (ALPP), commonly referred to as the “Peace Programme”.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Dr. Drew highlighted a key distinction between the ELEVATE Programme and the Peace Programme, which had several shortcomings. He emphasized that the ELEVATE Programme is primarily centred on human development through training, setting it apart from its predecessor.
“For the training, we have brought on Youth Skills, we have also sat with TVET [Technical Vocational Education Training] and TVET is going to be certifying them. We have also consulted with STEP [Skills Training Empowerment Programme] and other departments and agencies,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew. “We are not going to separate [the participants] by where they live, Madam Deputy Speaker, because that will only strengthen the idea of having a criminal organization. We want people to [be grouped] based on interest and that is going to help breakdown a lot of the differences you find from community to community.”
Among the pitfalls of the former programme was a lack of accountability and transparency. Prime Minister Dr. Drew said efforts have been made to ensure that this does not become a part of the ELEVATE Programme. To address this, the prime minister said participants on the programme will be evaluated regularly with the aim of them being transitioned off of the programme with new knowledge and skills to make their own positive contributions to national development.
“You cannot be on a programme like this for life because then it means that the programme is not working; you are not rehabilitating anyone in terms of helping them to gain the necessary skills to actually move on.”
The prime minister stated further that the programme will soon operate from its new office location on the Bay Road where the participants will now have a fixed space for meetings and training, as well as access to computers for career planning activities.
“Staff will be available in the office from Monday to Friday to address any issues and the staffing will be a number of professional persons including those who deal with conflict resolution, and psychologists will be part of the staff as well,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew added.
Structured training under the ELEVATE Programme will take place twice daily, four days per week.