Barbados’ National Environment Enhancement Programme (NEEP) model is being adopted by other Caribbean countries.
This was disclosed by Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, yesterday as he showered accolades on employees of the Drainage Division during their annual awards ceremony at the Ministry’s Hincks Street, St. Michael office.
Noting that the programme came under heavy criticism at its inception, Dr. Lowe stated that it had become so successful that other Caribbean jurisdictions were now adopting the same concept of taking people out of an inactive situation and placing them into active duty so they could become part of the economic stimulation of the country.
In addition, the Minister said Barbados’ NEEP programme was increased by approximately 200 workers and was doing well. He added that he had new ideas to share with the Division’s senior management staff and the Director of the Drainage Division, which could generate more activity from the programme.
Dr. Lowe explained that the NEEP programme originally started with 98 persons who received between $92 and $96 per week on welfare, being enrolled in the Welfare to Work programme before joining the NEEP. “…I am proud of how they have been able to conduct themselves and execute their work, because I remember when the idea came up people said that they were not going to work, and that they were just interested in getting a salary. [But] that is not the case,” he stated.
The Environment Minister stressed that Barbados was moving away from the notion that Government should take care of people when they could take care of themselves through initiatives of Government.
Work done by staff at the Drainage Division also came in for high praise from the Minister, who noted that “a very aggressive work programmme led by a very competent team of senior officials…has done an excellent job in carrying out the body of work associated with the Ministry of the Environment through the Drainage Division”.
Dr. Lowe said the Division’s vision was to ensure the efforts of Government, through the work of its staff, helped reduce the incidence of flooding. That vision, he said, also extended to helping implement a programme that was driven by technology, and a workforce that has a keen appreciation about what communities experience, and their role in helping them to remain safe while working towards a better Barbados.