Worrying signs on the horizon

Two recent reports in circulation point to an unhealthy state of affairs in Grenada and several of the other islands in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The first identified six islands including Grenada that will face stiff challenges in their economic development in the coming years.

The other report that was put out by the respectable Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) gave an insight into the level of unemployment in some of the islands and topping the list was Grenada.

The aspect of the CDB report that was rather troubling was the estimated 50% unemployment rate among the youth population in the Spice Isle.

It should be recalled that it was the youth vote that powered Dr. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) to the humiliating 15-0 defeat of the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas in the 2013 general elections.

What made the victory more astonishing was the fact that Congress was in power and was routed out of office in a manner that was never seen before in the electoral history of the country.

The NNP won all 15 constituencies back in 1999 but when it was already occupying the seat of power.

The youthful population in Grenada heeded the call of Dr. Mitchell and his party some 38 months ago when it campaigned on an attractive platform of thousands of jobs and an influx of foreign investors.

The new administration brought back its Imani programme in order to help provide some kind of relief for the unemployed youngsters in our midst.

However, three years and two months later, the CDB is reporting that unemployment among Grenada’s youth is at a staggering 50%.

This is both alarming and frightening when one thinks of the hundreds of students who will be joining the job market in the next few months.

Where are the jobs to meet the demands? Does the government have some kind of a magic wand ready to wave soon in order to create the badly needed jobs?

THE NEW TODAY will not claim that it has the answers to tackling the severe unemployment among the youth of the nation.

However, it would like to offer a suggestion on the need to step up on training especially in the area of services not only for the local market but to tap into the skilled labour market force in the region and elsewhere.

Cuba has taught us a lesson in the area of services. The Cubans make millions of dollars in foreign exchange currency by utilizing its skilled personnel in Medicine and other specialized areas in sending out into the Third World to assist countries.

Havana has done it with success because it has trained thousands of its citizens in many fields of expertise.

Grenada needs to put together some sort of an inventory of the needs of other countries and see if our island is in a position to supply them with their manpower needs.

THE NEW TODAY can recall the glee on the faces of some in authority when a few nurses were recruited for employment in neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago.

Do we have more skilled personnel on the island to be hired in other countries? Have we prepared a cadre of workers in Grenada whose expertise can be put at the disposal of foreign countries?

The country can see millions of dollars come back here in the form of remittances. These are the funds that can make a difference to economic activities in Grenada.

This newspaper is not aware of anything on the horizon that will significantly reduce the high unemployment among the youth in the Spice Isle.

The political silly season is already here and both the NDC and NNP will have to come to the nation with concrete plans that can arrest the high unemployment in the country especially among the youth.

This country has suffered from a kind of politics that is too steeped in an emphasis of running the country for the sole purpose of just seeking to win a general election.

It is this kind of politics that has resulted in the national debt climbing from EC$373 million in 1995 to $1.8 billion in 2008 and now over $2 billion today.

It is the view of this newspaper that the repayment of this debt cannot be separated from the high unemployment situation in the country including the youthful population.

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