“I think that by participating in the Carnival PEP showed how all inclusive they are,” said Minister Liburd on Saturday January 11 during the National Carnival’s awards and prize giving ceremony held at the Old Treasury Square in Basseterre. “It was a very good idea for PEP to participate in the Carnival as part of our biggest cultural event.”
According to Minister Liburd, who played mas with one of the troupes, PEP’s participation also displayed the variety of talents in the People Employment Programme, and suggested that it was only a start.
“I thought it was an excellent idea, they had a great float in the Carnival,” observed the Minister. “I have no doubt it was displaying all of the various things PEP does, so it was also an education forum for persons to learn what PEP is offering and I am sure that next year we will see something greater coming from PEP.”
Chairman of the National Carnival Committee, Mr Sylvester Anthony, also speaking at the same venue said that while the PEP float was not a registered entrant to the festival, they added to the grandeur of what his committee is attempting to achieve.
“It (PEP float) contributed to the overall grandeur of the Carnival experience,” said Mr Anthony. “Every float that comes as part of our Carnival activities it can only help us; can only make the Carnival better.”
Revellers who had jammed streets of Basseterre for the Parade of Troupes on New Year’s Day were surprised to see a small troupe of nine well adorned mas-makers parading in front of a 40-foot float heralding the work of the People Employment Programme.
“It is a project of the people, by the people and for the people, and that being the case, we had to take it to the people,” said Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley, in explaining why the People Employment Programme (PEP) pleasantly surprised the thousands that turned out to see the traditional Parade of Troupes on New Year’s Day.
The float which was entitled ‘PEP is a Blessing’ was conceptualised by Mr Hanley and was built by Mr Geoffrey Joseph, a Visual Arts teacher at the Basseterre High School. The PEP Project Manager said the float was a youth initiative, where everybody who worked on it were young people, giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The story behind it was a way of showcasing the success of the People Employment Programme being able to touch so many lives and change so many lives in all different ways,” explained Mr Hanley. “It was an opportunity for the general public to see PEP in a different light.”
Mr Hanley said that he had received very positive comments and hoped that players in the business sector could come in, and using similar floats advertise their businesses while adding colour to the festival.
“Part of the feedback that we got is that the costumes that the PEP participants were wearing were very creative,” said Mr Hanley. “As a matter of fact some persons even went as far as to say they were even looking prettier than the really big troupes’ costumes.
“I must commend Mr Calvin ‘Tobias’ Richardson, who made those costumes in a matter of two days. So, there again it shows that we have talent in our country, we just have to tap in and utilise our own in being able to achieve what we want to achieve.”
The PEP troupe, which was made up of PEP participants had Ms Sahira David, Ms Valencia Brazier, Ms Zemone Marriott, Ms Triola Browne, Ms Kenisha Fyfiled, Ms Darynth Veira, Mr Dwight Burke, Ms Felicia Dore, and Ms Tameka Richards. Mr Jason McKoy was coordinating the float.
Ms Sahira David who said that it did not take them long to train as they knew exactly what they were supposed to do, observed that their costumes were depicting strength as they wanted to make a strong statement and show people that PEP is here to stay.
“The flowing back piece signified the domination that we were very powerful like gods, bringing blessings,” said Ms David. “All the cameras were flashing, it was so warm and inviting with people saying, ‘pose for me please, pose for me please’… the spirit of the people how they embraced PEP and how they looked at PEP was awesome.”
According to another member, Ms Triola Browne, the float depicted the different fields of careers that PEP is offering. “The carousel, which was spinning had different pictures of the different disciplines while the angels signified the fact that PEP is guiding people to their different careers giving them an opportunity to enter into a workforce by guiding them in the right direction.”
1: PEP troupe parading along the West Independence Square in Basseterre.
2: PEP is a Blessing: The 40-foot float on Cayon Street as it passes the Anglican Church.
3: PEP Troupe members take a break to pose for a picture in front of the PEP billboard at the Independence Square. Squatting from left are Ms Darynth Veira, Mr Dwight Burke, and Ms Felicia Dore. Standing from left are Ms Tameka Richards, Ms Triola Browne, Ms Sahira David, Ms Kenisha Fyfield, Ms Zemone Marriott, and Ms Valencia Brazier.
4: Mr Geoffrey Joseph, builder of the float rides on it during Last Lap on Thursday January 2.