The Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) was established with the intention of providing employment opportunities to semi-skilled and un-skilled workers; however CEPEP actually limits the employment opportunities of workers and traps the most vulnerable of T&T's citizens in a perpetual poverty and dependency vortex.
Engenders No New-Skills
The first major flaw of the programme is that it fosters no new skills that could be applied in the real market place. Workers are subject to only perform menial tasks that offer little to no opportunities for edification. In fact, the opportunity costs are even higher as residing in these programmes denies the participant the opportunity to gather real skills and work experience in a real workplace setting.
Breeds Poor Work Ethic
Ironically the programme will likely breed elements of an undesired work ethic; including tardiness, unaccountability, apathy and indolence, all hallmarks of government provided service. These learned attitudes whether a reality or perceived by potential employers will be shunned; thereby leaving the CEPEP worker at a disadvantage when he attempts to leave the programme.
Insinuates Persons Should Be Paid To Keep Their Community Clean
The programme also insinuates the wrong mentality that members of the community should be paid to improve or protect their residential environment rather than adopting such a practice as a noble, voluntary community way of life.
Promotes A Severe Dependency Syndrome
The programme directly incentivizes workers not to enter the real economy and effectively conditions the participant to believe they have no other option but to rely on these government programmes for survival. Additionally a victim mentality is reinforced in which persons regard themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others thereby paralysing and inhibiting them from independently achieving for themselves.
Sadly the programme also robs the individual of the opportunity to gain true self reliance and responsibility for their own well-being. The programme participant is also denied the self gratification that abounds when one individually achieves. A terrible example is further set for the next generation as it imparts the example of depending on a hand out -a misguided approach to succeeding in life.
Another Opportunity For Corruption
The establishment of another bureaucracy also forms another avenue for abuse, waste and corruption because all government programmes are political and are subjectively applied according to the whims of the political establishment.
Read: Why Government Corruption Persists
A classic example:
........."I am a CEPEP worker and I can tell you what my employer does.There are many instances where the contractor abuses the workers and although reports are made to the relevant authorities nothing is ever done. Here are some instances.
Equipment given by the ministry is never brought to the job site and the contractors uses it for his private use. The contractor rears pigs and for the Christmas season he had the male employees assist him in slaughtering eight pigs for sale. The female employees instead of working on the job site are told to work at the contractor’s home to assist his wife in cleaning up. All employees are verbally abused and if they answer back they are fired. There are instances where employees were fired but when officials from the ministry queried about the employees the contractor told them that the employees had left the job for better opportunities. The payroll consists of names of people who are never on the job site especially his family. Recently the contractor had one of his wife’s relatives put on the payroll to ensure that the relative could get a scholarship. The relative has only once attended the job site when she knew that Ministry officials were coming.
Although the salary paid to CEPEP workers is sufficient, I can do without all that stress. I have decided to leave the job. Maybe the contractor will tell ministry that I left for greener pastures. "
Tuesday, January 16 2007
Underlying Reasons For Establishment of These Programme
Although altruism may motivate some of these decisions to establish these misguided programmes most times the real motivation stems from the desire of politicians to deliberately create dependency which ultimately serves their political agenda. Greater dependency means greater opportunity to buy votes by promising hand outs. These programmes also allow the politician to syphon tax dollars to themselves and their sycophants. The ultimate losers are the hard working tax payer and programme participant.