Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 15, 2019 (S.T.E.P.) — Director of the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), Mr Wendell Wattley, is encouraging persons working on the STEP community enhancement groups participating in a beautification competition to take real pride in their communities to ensure that the communities are kept clean at all times.
Mr Wattley who was speaking at the launch of the beautification competition on Wednesday February 13 at Stone Fort Estate Yard, next to Bloody River, said the beautification of communities was not only intended for visitors and tourists, but also for those living on the island.
“We live here every day and we must feel proud to traverse our island and to feel proud about our communities and our island,” said the STEP Director. “I want to encourage all the groups to really pay attention to not just the competition but also to go beyond the competition period.”
He said it was significant that the beautification competition was launched at the historic Bloody River, named so after the massacre in year 1626 of indigenous Amerindians (Kalinago) inhabitants of the island by British settlers in an upstream ambush such that ‘the river flowed with blood’. It is a popular site where tourists on island tours and even locals stop to take pictures. Taking care of the site for the competition is the Challengers STEP Community Enhancement Group.
The competition which is part of a week of activities celebrating STEP’s second anniversary was launched by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for STEP, Mr Osbert DeSuza. The ceremony was chaired by Mr Emile Greene, Chairman of the steering committee of the second anniversary of the STEP Week of Activities, which is being celebrated under the theme ‘Showcasing skills, Empowering people for life’.
Field Supervisor with responsibilities for all the STEP community enhancement groups, Mr William Phillip, explained that the duration of the competition in respect to its judging is three months, to give all the participating community enhancement groups the opportunity to do their best work.
“You are going to have time in which to make sure that you are well prepared for the judgement of the competition,” said Mr Phillip. “Judgement would be done over a period of time. Doing so will give each community group the opportunity and enough time to make sure that their areas are properly kept, and properly groomed so that when we come to judge we will see you at your best.”
Mr Phillip further explained that the judges will take into account that some areas are larger than others, and that some areas are in a more difficult terrain than others. He said that all the groups will use natural material and avoid using pesticides that could harm the environment and to maintain the best environmental practises possible to ensure that no soil erosion takes place in the event of heavy rains.
“We are also going to be looking at the community interaction,” noted Mr Phillip. “We are hoping that by maintaining these sites students from schools and colleges can actually visit the sites, see what you are doing, and give their input. We are also hoping that when tourists drive the Island Main Road as they go through the country they themselves would stop, take pictures and complement you and the work that you are doing.”
Supervisor of the STEP Challengers Community Enhancement Group, Ms Jewel Pelle, informed that as part of the beatification competition, they will also paint the bus shelter next to the site, to remove graffiti on it. She noted that members of her group have been energised by the competition and that they are working assiduously to ensure that they win.