Citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, good evening. I bring to you the post-Cabinet briefing for Cabinet meeting held today Monday February 9, 2009.
YES (Youth Empowerment through Skills) Project
Cabinet received an update on the YES programme from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr Elvis Newton, who indicated that a total of 250 applications for the programme had been fully processed. The Permanent Secretary emphasized that the YES project was not a distinct programme outside of the National Youth Skills Training Programme, but rather, the YES Project is one project being coordinated and executed by the National Youth Skills Training Programme. This he said is to achieve efficiency and to make use of existing institutional structures and know-how.
The Cabinet was reminded that the YES programme will seek job attachments for the trainees so that there can be regular reinforcement of the knowledge, skills and attitudes taught during the training sessions. It was also noted that the YES programme will have a strong social component to orient the trainees away from antisocial behaviours.
The YES programme is targeting 500 unemployed persons and is due to launch later in the upcoming week. More information on the launch will follow in a separate announcement. In the meantime, unemployed persons are encouraged to apply to the programme which will provide a stipend of $300 per week to the trainees.
Dr Hon Earl Asim Martin, Minister of Public Utilities, Transport and Post, updated the Cabinet on a meeting he had had with Hon. Carlisle Powell, Minister of State in the Nevis Island Administration responsible for the Nevis geothermal energy project. The meeting was held in the early morning of Monday February 9.
Minister Martin reported that his ministry had signed a letter of intent to purchase geothermal electricity from Nevis when full development of the project will have been completed in 2010. The Minister informed the Cabinet that one of the outcomes of the meeting was an agreement in principle for the Federal government to provide support in approaching multilateral funding agencies to seek financial assistance to have an undersea electrical cable run between Nevis and St. Kitts.
The Minister announced that he had already begun to speak with the Organisation of American States (OAS) with a view to having that organization assist in making the necessary arrangements for local government officials to meet with the multilateral funding agencies to move the geothermal project forward.
Minister Martin emphasised that renewable energy solutions, both geothermal and wind, are a critical component of his ministry’s efforts to lower the cost of electricity to consumers and usher in energy independence for the people of the federation. He said that his ministry’s vision would soon be clearly articulated in a public document.
Chairman of the Cabinet and Minister responsible for Lands, Hon Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas shared some of the decisions made at the land Committee Meeting held on Friday February 6. The Land committee meets every Friday to determine all matters related to land distribution, and consists of the following members:
- Hon Prime Minister
- Hon Cedric Liburd, Minister of Agriculture
- Permanent Secretary for Sustainable Development
- Permanent Secretary for Housing and Agriculture
- Director of Lands and Surveys
- Director of Agriculture
- Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Agriculture
- General Manager of NHC
The purpose of the committee is to reduce the bureaucratic lag in land distribution and to make specific decisions on a weekly basis regarding land distribution.
At the last meeting of the committee, matters related to land to be used for NHC housing were finalized. The Prime Minister indicated that during the current week, the Director of Lands and Surveys and the Director of Agriculture would conduct a field trip to identify large tracts of land suitable for agriculture. He said the Ministry of Agriculture would be allocated large tracts of land which it will manage, and therefore obviate the need for the Ministry of Sustainable Development to become involved in land distribution for agriculture on a per farmer basis. This, the Prime Minister explained, would expedite land allocation to farmers who have been applying for more agricultural lands.
This brings to an end the Post-Cabinet briefing for Monday February 9, 2009.