by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Coordinator of the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme (ALPP), Major Kayode Sutton was a guest on the March 1 edition of Leadership Matters produced by Prime Minister of St.Kitts and Nevis, the Hon Dr. Timothy Harris.
Sutton disclosed that the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme, commonly known as the Peace Programme in St.Kitts and Nevis, has garnered intangible gains thus far.
“The Royal St.Christopher and Nevis Police Force engagement with the at-risk and disenfranchised has significantly improved with The Royal St.Christopher and Nevis Police Force assigned personnel readily available to assist with conflict or feud as they emerge or develop among participants on the programme. The engagement of the at-risk population commenced in March 2019 and the spate of gang induced homicides by the use of guns has significantly reduced evidence in the police data reports on crime and violence.”
In addition, Sutton said communities previously traumatised by gangs and gang induced violence have been “living in peace and harmony.” He said individuals have been experiencing the freedom of movement across communities and public spaces that were forbidden before the launch of the invention Programme. Sutton also reported that they have seen improved behaviours in individuals and groups; which has generated positive feedback from businesses and has improved family life.
The Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme was launched on March 13 2019 to support at-risk individuals, providing them a second chance of life, said Major Sutton.
“The Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme (ALPP) commonly referred to as the Peace Programme is a programme carefully developed by experts in the field of social intervention, crime and violence and to lend an opportunity to at-risk individuals in our society; to provide them with a second chance to live a life free of crime and violence and to learn to become productive contributors and respected members of the society. It focuses on the at-risk, marginalised, disenfranchised and traumatised in our society and also persons meeting these criteria that are in need of being resocialized, having been released from incarceration.”
Mr. Sutton added that the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme is an intervention strategy designed to allow the individuals an opportunity to learn, adopt and display acceptable behaviours and become positive contributors to the development of the nation. He disclosed that the programme has received the full support of the Government of St.Kitts and Nevis.
Since its inception three years ago, Sutton said the Peace Programme has gone through a number of development cycles.
Sutton explained, “In the initial stage we try to keep the groups gainfully occupied, ensuring that they become aware of alternatives to violence and ways the society functions. The participants were further exposed to personal financing, financial management, as they learned the value of opening and operating personal accounts. They learn the value of work and receive wages for work done at the market value. They were encouraged to make project proposals and where this was visible, encouraged to seek loans and pursue their legitimate ambitions.”
Where is the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme today? Major Kayode Sutton revealed that participants of the programme are undergoing training to assist with the rehabilitation process.
“On the 18th of January 2022, the ALPP launched its Lifestyle Changing and Exposure Programme. This is representative of stage three in the engagement cycle of the strategy for dealing with at risk groups. This programme has two components, namely, the delivery of soft skills and hard skills. Now, the soft skills entail teaching the participants to respect self and others, Introduction to business, tolerance, communication, and listening skills, problem solving, anger management, empathy, developing goals, self management, self concept, integrity, resilience, responsibility, accountability, attitude, self esteem, stress management, budgeting, financial literacy, and the list goes on.”
The Programme’s Coordinator further explained, ” Now the hard skills entails essential vocational training like general construction, carpentry, masonry, AC installation and servicing, motor vehicle service and repairs for men and women; upholstery, backhoe operation, welding, basic electrical and electronics, general cosmetology, basic sound engineering, landscaping, fish pot making, cooking, cake making and so forth.”
Major Sutton mentioned that certification for the courses and training that were listed are to be accredited upon completion by the participants on the programme. He said the intervention strategy is an all government and private sector approach. Staff in various Ministries and Departments of Government, as well as Private Sector entities and individuals volunteer their time to assist at-risk and marginalised individuals in society.
As it relates to payment, participants are required to follow the stipulated guidelines.
“The Soft skill component of the programme requires compulsory attendance by all ALPP participants. They are quite aware that, if you don’t attend the training, you do not get paid.” The soft skill courses are due to be completed in April 2022, said Sutton.
He said, the hard skills component is currently being developed and is slated to commence about May 2022. The plan is for participants to receive appropriate certification for components that are successfully completed. Sutton further shared that the database for persons who are traumatised by violence is still being compiled and will be handed to the appropriate authority upon completion.