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The government’s Short Term Employment Programme (STEP) will be re-instituted for the upcoming Christmas season, Minister for Equity and Social Justice Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute has announced.
At a press conference on November 16, 2017, Montoute said the temporary programme is by no means a viable employment option for the youth but will help with some of their expenses for the festive season.
“That is temporary… a social programme that is used as a stop [or] a gap measure to facilitate people. There are times when you need an extra injection of cash for example, the reopening of school. Even some parents who work…but their wages are menial, they are very low [they] need that little extra bit of cash to top up and so on [so] that facilitates them. But when we talk about economic activity…[and] job creation, I am certainly not thinking of those short-term jobs that are in effect, dead-end jobs,” he said.
“That’s not the kind of jobs that you want for your young people…You want jobs where they can grow. You want a job where they’ll be in a position to qualify for a loan and get hire purchase and so on. And that they can develop themselves and own property, [as an example]. I mean, the STEP programme certainly will not provide that and so when we talk about the STEP programme it’s not to say as if it should not exist, but my position is that, that should not be the start and end of what we do to provide opportunities for our young people.”
Montoute said that government is also gearing up to launch its Constituency Development Program (CDP) soon.
“That is funded by the Taiwanese government and so that in itself will provide an injection of much needed cash in our economy, and I am sure that that will go a long way in ensuring that in a community level we have more people who will have a good Christmas,” he said.
STEP was established in 1997 by the Saint Lucia Labour Party.