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GUEST COLUMN: Bajans first for job options


by IVAN WATSON

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I CONTEND that no indigenous Barbadian, especially those of African decent, can become an Italian, Syrian, French or other such labelled chef, where ethnicity or nationality forms part of the name of the job position; they will unfortunately have to be born again. Employers can rightly claim in such circumstances that they found no suitable applicants to fill advertised positions. I believe that our well-trained, intelligent and skilled graduates from the various culinary arts schools, and other training institutions can competently and with distinction hold positions of, Chef-Italian cuisine, Chef-Syrian cuisine, Chef-Indian cuisine or any other position of Chef regarding any other gastronomic fare.Our new immigration minister should therefore as a matter of policy require that names of job positions concerning work permit applications, no longer allude to any preferred nationality or ethnicity. They should relate to a job function such as Chef-French cuisine.In this period of high unemployment all employment opportunities must be afforded our highly trained, intelligent, and skilled workforce. I believe that most of our people, who are trained in the culinary arts, can with minimum orientation, demonstrate great proficiency in functioning as chef in any area of operation. We must not curb their ambitions through playing with semantics.We often wonder why some of our youth are turned off from mainstream participation, but practices that are allowed to flourish in the society, that covertly brand our indigenous people as third class citizens, is a contributing factor.Potential employers must be reminded that granting of work permits accords with our stated immigration policy of “furthering national development objectives through immigration”. It has nothing to do with swelling the numbers of any group (established or recently arrived) through manipulation of our immigration rules and regulations. Those who are allowed to hire foreign labour have a responsibility to assist in realising our national human resource development objectives. The Immigration department should therefore reimpose the requirement that local personnel be recruited to understudy the engaged (non national) “specialists” for the short period of their work permits. This policy would hopefully bring to an end the perpetual claims by employers, of not being able to find suitable persons to fill certain high-end positions in particular. RecruitingIt is really amazing that many organisations that have been established here for many years still have difficulty in recruiting locals to fill low skilled and high-end positions. This is so because the powers that be have not insisted that they fully participate in our human resource development as a condition for granting them the privilege of hiring foreign labour. We did that in earlier years when we did not support trickle down economics.The irony is that some established Barbadian companies have jumped on the bandwagon, and cannot find locals to fill their top positions. They were not averse to accepting the sustained loyal patronage from the Barbadian public. However, discerning consumers should have such companies’ products on the shelves as a means of protest.

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