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BWU official worried about rising number of jobless youth

The Freundel Stuart administration has been told that this island’s youth require a bit more than just fetes and football.

The warning came today from a top official of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) who expressed concern about the high level of unemployment among Barbadian youth.

Delivering remarks at the opening of the BWU’s Youth Congress at Solidarity House this morning, Senior Assistant General Secretary Gillian Alleyne further cautioned that the situation was likely to worsen because of the Government’s recent “cut back on education”.

She also noted the Caribbean continued to have the highest rate of unemployment among the young people in the world.

“In 2012, [of the] nearly 75 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who were unemployed, almost 12 million of those 75 million [are] right here in this region,” Alleyne said.

“In Barbados, a snapshot of unemployment for 2014 shows that while the general unemployment rate was 12.3 per cent, the youth unemployment rate was 33.7 per cent with a higher number of females being unemployed.”

Alleyne referred to a recent Caribbean Development Bank study on the impact of youth unemployment on sustainable development that identified a number of contributing factors. Among them, the state of the economy, lack of adequate skills and lack of experience.

Alleyne said: “The economic crisis has resulted in cut backs to everything, including the all important education. The youth have been the ones most significantly affected by these measures. With cut backs in education, there is an impact in the long term on job acquisition and youth unemployment will be exacerbated.”

The BWU official also expressed concern about the kind of language young people were using when applying for jobs, how they were responding during job interviews and the attitude of those employed, saying that some of the behaviour was “killing the island’s productivity”.

“When those of you who are employed exhibit these negative behaviours . . . you make it difficult for other youth to get a chance,” she said.

“The Barbados Workers Union agrees with the International Labour Organization that a lack of decent work, if experienced at an early age, threatens to compromise a person’s future employment prospects and frequently leads to unsustainable labour behaviour patterns that last a lifetime. Something must be done,” she said.

Addressing Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Stephen Lashley, Alleyne said the BWU wanted to see interventions that would result in “job-led growth in an economy that is diversified and sustainable”.

“What we don’t prefer is what happens in too many instances unfortunately; governments end up spending more money in correctional facilities, security, crime and drug prevention and unemployment benefits.”

Alleyne said that while the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture was doing “a great job”, the youth required “a bit more”. “We are more than just fetes and football,” she added.

The BWU official said high levels of youth unemployment were known to inhibit economic development with adverse social consequences including poverty, risqué behaviour and concomitant negative outcomes such as psychological scarring, crime, unplanned pregnancy and lost future earning capacity.

She called on the youth arm of the labour movement to do their part in helping to bring about positive change, adding that they would get the full support of the entire BWU.

The Youth Congress chose as its theme Uplifting & Motivating Our Nation’s Youth, the Future Leaders.

5 Responses to 33.7% AND CLIMBING

  1. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond May 30, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Oh how very well said. With carnivals now popping up in every nook and cranny and fetes of every description through the year, we are definitely in the runnings for fete capital of the world.

    Perhaps, one day in the middle of the wucking up and pooching back somebody will jump to the stark realization that we have no Plumbers, Pharmacists, Accountants, Teachers nor Masons.

    The big question is: will the music stop then?

    • Mac10 May 30, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      For as long as possible if the gov has it’s way.

      With no real plans to resurrect the tanked economy etc as the gov is not worried about such “noise” the distractions of party’s & fete’s will continue.

  2. seagul May 30, 2015 at 7:50 am

    With carnivals popping up in every nook and cranny and fetes of every description—-it doesn’t mean we are progressing.
    There’s progress that can end in the backwardness of humanity.
    This is the wucking up pooching back progress. The progress of man the animal and not man the human being. We must not conflate civilization with culture… ty Ajani.

  3. jrsmith May 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

    You cannot blame the kids ,the previous generation are the one to blame, you must ask them to show you what they have done in the past 50 years. Not only Barbados , but ask the black man ,what have they collectively done.
    In the UK, we saw a documentary, on black peoples progress in the USA and this shows, that most black people were worst off ,than they were 50 years ago.
    Barbados, my age 76, we survive , on agriculture, our main industry was sugar cane. We took Barbados from then till two decades ago surviving, bajans along with our politicians , allowed the sugar industry to die, year after year , bajans were told they were becoming the joneses, so middle class, that lacking of economic education and the reminder from whence we came was no real concern and was the last thing on bajans minds.
    We were never fortunate with earth riches as like other countries/islands,/republics with they vast poverty and crime
    levels. near and far from us ,but we survived.
    We are suffering from a vast indifference of bad management ,socially and politically, my take ,what type of education is going to be put in place ,to replace the failure of the last 20 years by the retiring groups, who only seems to have ,the dominoes culture ambition .
    Barbados/Bajans must wake ,before our young people get them selves caught up in the ghetto, drugs and street hood mentality.
    We need the retiring generation to help bring this change by whatever they learnt socially and professionally passing this on to our young people.

  4. Patrick Blackman May 30, 2015 at 10:50 am

    @JRSmith: Cool didn’t know you were young man.. cheers always like to read your stuff.

    If the BWU felt so strongly about this then show us what you are doing to create jobs. May be you could start by making reasonable in your negotiations, not everything should be about a raise. May be if your members each could take a 5% cut that could employee a few youths at the same company… as silly as my statement was, the point is what are you doing to create the opportunity for the youth, you guys are sitting on a hoard of cash, ut that to use and hire a few kids….


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