Barbadian youth need more opportunities and the Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. James Central, Kerrie Symmonds says he has a solution.
The former representative for the area was tonight speaking at a BLP spot meeting in Hoyte’s Village, St. James.
He recommended that national vocational qualification centres be set up in each community across the island for young people to learn skills and help stimulate commercial activity. The former senator further suggested that since other countries throughout the Caribbean already had such a programme they could all link and Barbadians could then promote themselves regionally just like an economist, lawyer etc. would.
“Now I ask you tonight: Who in the Democratic labour Party do you recall hearing speak to you about that opportunity that exist for our Barbadian young people? Why is it that it is happening in Trinidad but here in Hoyte’s Village there is not a thing for our young people to do by way of training themselves?” he asked.
“The Barbados Labour Party of tomorrow is saying to you that the young people of this country must have the same opportunities as anybody else in this region and that if they have a skill in anything they must not only feel that their life is caught between Bridgetown and St. Lucy.
“You go onto the blocks, go into the community and give the young people an opportunity at a central location in ever community to do a course of study in what they want to do … without the formality of having to apply to the [Samuel Jackman Prescod] Polytechnic, without the formality of having three or four O’levels which you might not have, without having to feel he [is] under pressure with the bureaucracy.
“You go to Dominica and you see small men, they may be plumbers, they may be contractors whatever they are doing but they are trying to get ahead to the best of their ability. We have in this country a competitive advantage. We have a lot of young people who have access to very good secondary education but not everyone wants to go on to be a lawyer, economist…, statistician – some people want to use other skills.
“In Trinidad and Tobago they have started a national vocational qualification… We are saying that the time has come that we can’t let the Trinidadians and Jamaicans take over the place, Caricom is saying that if you have a national vocational qualification in a skill that they will allow you to move and sell your services across this region,” said Symmonds. (KC)††