The latest debate on the programme, however, is being driven by speculations that it is being closed down and participants who have been benefiting are being sent home. This claim though is being rejected by the Project Manager for PEP, Mr. Geoffrey Hanley, who said that the rumours are not founded and though they are taking a break for the holidays, they are to resume in January.
“So it is not anything close to what some people might think that PEP is closing down or PEP is on vacation,” stated Hanley.
Some of the People Employment Programme (PEP) classes have taken a two-week break during the Christmas and Carnival season, effective Friday December 20, and will report back on Monday January 6, 2014, he added.
Hanley explained that the operations of the People Employment Programme are ongoing, but some of the units especially those using community centres have taken a break.
“As the year comes to an end and PEP would have been celebrating one year, for a number of our training sites we have decided that the participants would be given a few days off because some of them are located in community centres and some of the centres are going to be used for Christmas parties,” observed Mr Hanley.
Apart from packed Christmas programmes, some of the community centres require routine maintenance work, which would have been held back as they were being utilised by the PEP students during the year. Affected are classes in cosmetology and hospitality.
Also taking a break are PEP Teaching Assistant Officers (TAO) in the Early Childhood, primary schools and high schools. After schools closed for the holiday season of December and New Year season, the TAOs were occupied in workshops, which were held at the Basseterre High School and at the Newtown Community Centre.
“The two-week workshops ended on Friday December 20, and the participants have taken a break and will resume duties on January 6, 2014,” said Mr Hanley.
Despite the break for some sessions, Hanley said his office will still be very active over the holiday period. “The fact that the People Employment Programme is not on vacation, it has another opportunity to showcase to the general public what the programme is all about, especially after the very successful PEP Festival which was held in November at the Independence Square in Basseterre”, said a release from the PEP office.
“PEP is happy to be partnering with Carnival Sugar Mas 42, and what we would have decided to do is to present a float on Parade Day,” said Project Manager Geoffrey Hanley. “The float will be depicting areas of PEP in terms of the success stories of PEP being a blessing.
“This in itself is creativity which will be displayed by young people because the float will be crafted and built by young persons, some of whom are in the People Employment Programme.”
According to Mr Hanley, the persons building the float would be taught wire bending, swatches in terms of colours, how to use colours, the colours that play best in the day, during light in terms of their luminosity and the shimmery colours.
“It is another opportunity for training to be displayed on the road while persons are enjoying the creativity of our young people,” said Mr Hanley. “The six components of the programme would be showcased on the float, and some of it will be mechanical you will be seeing them moving and those kind of stuff.