Jobs plan for unemployed
Though people are suffering, Government is making strides in finding employment for Barbadians, says Minister of Labour Esther Byer-Suckoo.
Speaking during debate on the Estimates in the Lower House on Monday, she acknowledged that Barbadians were indeed suffering and while unemployment was currently at 11 per cent compared with higher numbers in neighbouring territories, Government was not comfortable with the situation.
She also noted the public expected there would always be jobs awaiting them in the Government service, but admitted that everyone would not immediately get jobs since Government had to assess which cases were priorities and look at those who were the main breadwinners in families.
“I know Barbadians are hurting, but there is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she assured, noting that unemployment over time can trigger loss of self-esteem, mental health problems and even thoughts of suicide.
“That’s why it cannot be business as usual in this House: everything we’re doing here is aimed at improving the lives of Barbadians; that’s why we have bought into the International Labour Organization (ILO) job pact,” she said.
Explaining that the ILO pact looked at reducing the time lag between economic recovery and the regaining of jobs, Suckoo said the ILO would have met with the International Monetary Fund and later with the Caribbean Development Bank to look at such matters in the Caribbean region.
The minister also congratulated the public and private sector for helping to keep people employed, and noted that her ministry was working on enhancing its external employment programme and liaison services.
She also noted gains in those areas such as being able to place one Barbadian in a position in Alberta, Canada, as well as signing with Norwegian and Royal cruise lines to make jobs available in that industry to Barbadians.