AVEC sees lower registrants owing to PEP, says PM Harris

He said that these individuals are using the program as a means of gaining “quick money”.

“One of the adverse impacts of the PEP is that in our AVEC (Advance Vocational Education Centre) and Project Strong…those programmes have lost entrance, because the young people now, rather than going into institutions where they can hold appropriate skills, say no, no, no – a quick money is here to be made, and I don’t even have to show up for work. Just get your name on the program,” Dr. Harris said.

The Team Unity alliance had criticized the program during the run-up to the February general elections, for the way it was implemented.

At a media briefing in March, the prime minister revealed that the People Employment Program had paid out over $100 million since it began operations.

Harris stated that there are loopholes in the program that need to be addressed, while pledging to have individuals work for a “fair day’s earning”.

“These are the inadequacies of the PEP program, which my government would not countenance. We pledge that people would have work, but they must work for their money… We pledge that those who are working, doing little work, that they must do more to represent a fair day’s earning,” Dr. Harris said.

In regards to Nevis, Dr. Harris revealed that they have “transferred that particular program,” over to the Nevis Island Administration, along with “400 plus workers”.

“We did say in the campaign that the PEP program was not been implemented in a way that would enhance people’s skills over the long term, whether it was the technical skills or the social skills,” Harris noted.

He said further, “You go on the work places and you hardly see changes, still bad work, still people figure that they can work from 7:00 or from 8:00 or 9:30 to 10:00. We are saying that any sensible program that will take our people from point A, even if it is only to point B, must make a positive difference.”

Over the last several months, some sections of society have peddled the view that the program would be closed completely, but Dr. Harris has quelled that notion.

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