Prime Minister Thomas, after listening to the Minister of Education – Mrs. Franka Alexis-Bernadine talk about brain drain and the fact that Grenadian students should/must come home to serve, after listening to you extol the virtues of teachers and others pursuing tertiary education; bachelors, masters and other degrees, I am a bit perplexed – where are the jobs?
A few months ago I encountered a young lady seated in St. George’s reading a very interesting book – “Native to Nowhere” (Young lady, I’m sorry I cannot bite my tongue any longer)
After talking for about an hour I must admit, I felt quite sad, for both the young lady and to a greater extent the island of Grenada. I know there are others facing the same.
The following is a synopsis for her educational and professional life to date:
* She worked for the Government of Grenada for 4.5 years – Ministry of Works
* She pursued a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (a scholarship based on what was stated as a need by the past Government to assist with nation building and development)
* A graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis
* She worked with various Government agencies abroad while pursuing her degree.
Upon her return to the island to date (I encountered her again in my travels last week) she has been unable to secure gainful employment, after applying to various government ministries (Works, the Housing and others.
She’s been sent from one ministry to the other by various PS’s, she’s even been told a most ridiculous story by one that he has only been on the job for seven months thus, he doesn’t want to rock the boat. What boat? What about the good of the Country!!!! After our first conversation, I decided to do a bit of investigating.
* After hurricanes Ivan and Emily, urban planners were recruited from other countries to assist the physical planning department with urban development (there were no Grenadians with a Master degree in urban planning)
* The head of Physical Planning was subsequently sent to study Town and Country Planning/Urban Planning – he was since retired.
* To date in Grenada, there are only two persons (to my knowledge) the former head and this young lady who possess the said Master’s degree (it leads me to the question – what qualifications does the current head of Physical Planning possess? What qualification do the persons employed at Physical Planning possess?
* On the topic of qualifications, in her first encounter with the said goodly gentleman (head of the Planning Unit) she was told that he believes her qualifications are not suited for physical planning – ludicrous!! If she isn’t best suited to work on the formulation of planning policies and others to govern future development within Grenada well, am totally baffled.
* Why to date when no one possesses such qualifications at said agency, and the importance of the agency to Grenada’s development, has a job not been secured?
Prime Minister, I’ve heard you talking about person being hire/promoted based on merit – how does that work within the public service? You’re encouraging persons to go study – why should persons leave their jobs and upon return are unable to obtain gainful employment?
Why should external bodies continue to offer scholarships to Grenadians, based on the stipulated needs outlined by Governments and on their return, are unable to find jobs? (Please be mindful that this young lady already had a bachelor’s degree, was working in what Grenadians would consider was a good job – a person with a Masterss!!!!
Young lady, I wish you the best in your endeavors. Prime Minister, Minister of Communications others, please take note. Why is it that we always have to go begging especially when there is a crisis and we have persons here who can do the job? And we wonder why persons don’t return when they leave? We wonder why Grenada has and continues to miss out on monies geared for certain projects.