Bajans can’t find work abroad

Jobs in the hospitality sector abroad no longer come easily for Barbadians, nor is the situation any better for those seeking employment in other sectors overseas.

Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo today disclosed that Government was having a hard time sourcing employment for Barbadians who wish to work abroad.

Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo
Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo

In an address at a breakfast meeting to discuss the Draft National Human Resource Development (HRD) Policy, Dr Byer-Suckoo blamed the global economic meltdown of 2008 as well as increasing competition from developing nations and from within the major markets.

She referred to both Canada and the United States which she said were looking internally for hospitality workers, and which have ended preferential arrangements for exchange of workers.

The minister said the changes were triggered by the requirement to comply with international standards and a rise in global unemployment.

“This is due to international standards, but it is also due to economics . . . that have caused people to ensure that they do what they have to do internally to maintain employment; and so home drums beating first. They have ensured that they have made some changes.

“That is what we are seeing in Canada as pertains to us where they have implemented measures to ensure that Canadians would get the jobs before foreigners,” the minister said.

Dr Byer-Suckoo also pointed to the United Kingdom where she said Barbadians could no longer go “in droves like they did before” to seek employment in the transport sector.

London Transport (now Transport of London) began recruiting workers from the Caribbean in the 1950s and with Barbados suffering from a job shortage, London Transport (LT), at the invitation of the Government here, began recruiting directly from Barbados in 1956.

“In February, a recruitment official and a senior medical officer visited Barbados, and recruited 50 men conductors, 20 women conductors and 70 station men. They also made arrangements for the local Commissioner of Labour to continue recruitment on our behalf on the basis of LT Standards and a further 88 conductors and 20 station women have subsequently arrived in this country,” Transport of London’s Corporate Archives Research Guide quoted the 1956 Recruitment and Training Annual Report as saying.

However, formal recruitment in the Caribbean ended in the 1970s.

Even highly trained professionals like policemen, nurses and teachers are finding it difficult to secure employment abroad, the minister told this morning’s gathering.

“Since 2008 the world has seen an increase in unemployment. Now some don’t like it when we talk about 2008; they say ‘well, hey, wake up;  2008 was a long time ago’ but the truth is the world has changed a lot and economies great and small are still trying to recover from the effects of 2008,” she said.

It was against this background, she said, that the policy was being designed to create a cadre of globally competitive citizens “through an efficient, well-coordinated, effective, knowledgeable-led, flexible and demand-driven” human resource development system.

She stressed that a lot of emphasis was being placed on certification of skills and qualifications that meet industry demands.

“It speaks to a labour market information system that would then inform job seekers, it would inform trainers, it would inform educators. Career counselling is also an important part of that link. We have been able to achieve success on the knowledge management system,” Dr Byer-Suckoo said.

Giving an overview of policy, HRD specialist in the Barbados Human Resource Development Project Unit Orville Lynch said while the country was assessed internationally on competitiveness, innovativeness and the ease of doing business, adequate workforce competencies were needed to drive productivity, creating added value for the economy.

Additionally, he said, science technology engineering and mathematics must become a signal feature of the country’s educational system.

“It seems like only certain people in Barbados can do chemistry, physics and biology. If we want to have strong engineering skills going forward and to be innovative our educational system has to be reoriented. Otherwise we are going to continue to be what you call primary producers.

“Productivity only comes through people. It does not come through machines. You buy machines to improve the processes. Therefore workforce competencies sit at the base of it,” Lynch said.

The human resource official also stressed the need for policies that are relevant to the needs of the workforce.

9 Responses to Bajans can’t find work abroad

  1. Charles Alleyne
    Charles Alleyne May 11, 2016 at 3:29 am

    I am amazed at the minister making these statements because it makes her job easy and other who works in these consulates and missions to do more as it relates to what is going on the ground.There is some parts of Canada which are in dying need of foreign workers in the hotels and breakfast motels.Miss Minister please stop making excuses and you have been doing it from the time you had this ministry .. what you need to is hire field officers in these areas to seek out and moving around to the many job fairs which are available and see what they are offering so Barbadians can see for themselves there is opportunities out there.There needs to be an overhaul of these departments to meet the changing developments happening in the global market.Barbados has to many skill young people who are under employed are unemployed that need these opportunity ,but to hear a Minister say there is nothing what you expect young people to do .What a government do is bring hope to its young people that there is a future for them …but not only that but that their government is working hard on their behalf.Lets have people who are willing to work hard and produce results so as to deliver what they have promised.

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva May 11, 2016 at 3:53 am

      In Alberta we have the Temporary Foreign Programme, as far as I know we do not get workers from Barbados. Our workers are mostly from the Philippines. She’s probably only looking at Toronto, obviously not doing her job.

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva May 11, 2016 at 3:54 am

      ^^^TFWP…Temporary Foreign Workers Programme

  2. Tony Waterman May 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo:- “This is due to international standards, but it is also due to economics . . . that have caused people to ensure that they do what they have to do internally to maintain employment; and so home drums beating first. They have ensured that they have made some changes.

    “That is what we are seeing in Canada as pertains to us where they have implemented measures to ensure that Canadians would get the jobs before foreigners,” the minister said.

    I Reside in Canada, and it is my view that the Minister does not have the RELEVANT information on how the canadian System works, Yes!!!There has been some Changes in the Foreign Workers system, but NOT for the Reason the Minister is Stating, those changes came about because the Large Corporations were NOT treating the Foreign workers Fair, they were ABUSING the workers and the System.

    On the other hand, is the Minister looking to take what is available to bajan Workers, or is She tryin to Choose what she thinks the “EDUCATED” bajan workers should be offered, if that is the case, she should be aware that as the SMART old people always said “Beggars Can’t be Chooses” (Take that lightly, Please)

    In the Province of Ontario, there are Myriads of Farms that required and still require Multituted of farm Workers to harvest their Crops, perhaps that is BELOW The Bajan Standard, because the Mexican workers are no longer going to California, they are now being seen all across Ontario, before the mexicans came, that was Bajan, Jamaican.Vincentian, St.Lucian Worker being seennacross Ontario.

    So Mrs Minister, if there is still a Farm Worker representative in the Consulate in Toronto, get him/Her up off their Butt(s) , and get them out to those Farmers and make deals for workers to come in and harvest those Crops, that possibility is STILL there, but the deals MUST be made with the Farmers.

    And Yes Mrs Minister, 2008 was 8 years ago, and many other Economies HAVE Rebounded, because those in control of them, knew what they were doing.Let’s stop LOOKING BACK, and let’s stop making EXCUSES, we want RESULTS.

    BTW:-Mass Economic Emigration to the Uk was Curtailed by the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act

  3. Tony Waterman May 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I forget to Mention the Deportment of the prospective Bajan Workers when the appear at Job Fairs and Interviews. absolutely awful, i would NOT hire them for anything. there was a cruise ship in Barbados Last year looking for workers to take with them when they hauled up anchor, they left with ONE (1) worker. you tell me, how much do they really want to work anyway???? Hanging on the Block, and Stabbing and Shooting one another seems to be a better form of employment, and the Tattoos!!!Wow.

  4. Maria May 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    All schools should be introduced to to science, technology, engineering etc. It seems like only certain schools introduced these subjects in their curriculum. In order for us to comePete globally, every child in Barbados must have that opportunity.

  5. George Mayers May 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

    The Minister would express totally different views if she would speak personally to the officers in the field.

  6. George Mayers May 12, 2016 at 9:52 am

    In response to Charles Alleyne and Tony Waterman, the officers in the field do not sit around wishing and hoping but they travel to several employers and arrange to supply workers. Their challenges arise when they have to depend on the office in Barbados to act in a timely manner. A special word to Tony, if you really reside in Canada your comment that ‘if there is still a Farm Worker representative in the Consulate in Toronto, get him/her up off their Butt(s), and get them out to those Farmers and make deals….’ is totally unfair and out of order. No one can make deals with farmers because regulations are established to protect workers. The efforts of the Liaison Officers to provide workers to employers are frustrated by the lack of cooperation or the tardiness of those whose jobs it is to process candidates to travel. My comments are based on personal experiences as a Liaison Officer in Canada and in Miami. Throughout my assignments I have been successful in locating jobs for Barbadians but I have been unsuccessful in obtaining candidates. My comments will only upset the individuals who do not fulfill their duties.

  7. George Mayers May 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

    It is necessary to make comments on the calibre of worker available for employment. My efforts to recruit workers for employment on ships were curtailed by the fact that many applicants failed their drug tests. That situation placed me in an embarrassing position with the cruise ship managers because I try to assure them of the value of our workers. Another aspect of candidates is the manner in which they present themselves for interviews. Many of them arrive dressed appropriately but there are some whose attire needed to be adjusted. When they are eventually selected and travel to their destinations my advice to them is ‘Leave your Barbadian habits in Barbados’ and I remind them that their employers are not their friends but are only interested in their productivity. In my opinion, candidates for employment overseas should be compelled to attend classes to teach them the things that may not have been taught at home. This may seem harsh but I expect professionalism from those workers who represent Barbados. Statistics will show that there are thousands of Jamaicans in jobs overseas and many workers from the other Caribbean islands but the attitudes of our workers place them in a precarious position. There is a general feeling among members of a certain sector in the US market that states ‘Barbadian workers regard service as servitude’. Fortunately I heard that comment while in the company of a Barbadian representative of that sector.


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