By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff
Government lawmaker Alvera Maduro-Caines has urged Government to “take a serious look at how work permits are being issued” in the territory because a number of graduates – especially at this time of the year – will end up being unable to find jobs in their homeland.
She noted that, in the Bahamas last month, newly elected Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis gave a directive that no new work permits will be issued if Bahamians are capable and available to do the jobs. Labour minister Dion Foulkes made the prime minister’s stance public during a radio show in the Bahamas.
Maduro-Caines, who was speaking in the House of Assembly here yesterday, further said: “Some 100plus children will be graduating from HLSCC (H Lavity Stoutt Community College) this year. We have another set that’s going to be graduating from the high school, and another set returning home from college [abroad]. I still question, what plans do we have for these children in terms of work? I think we have to take a serious look at how work permits are being issued in this country.”
“The premier of the Bahamas recently said in a statement, as long as there is a Bahamian that can do the work in his country, there would be no work permit issued. We have to seriously look at this,” Maduro-Caines said.
The Virgin Islands Constitution has similar stipulations that give priority to local labour.
Furthermore, Maduro-Caines stated that not all belongers who study abroad are reluctant to return home, and so those who return should not have to spend a protracted period of time searching for jobs.
“We cannot afford to be sending our children away to school coming back with these Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees, and sit for years without getting a job. So, we have to, as a government, fix this…”
“We have to fix this because a lot of children will be coming home. Not every child that goes away wants to stay away. But some feel they have no choice but to stay, because they come home and they can’t get a job. So I am hoping that this will get sorted out in the near future,” added Maduro-Caines who represents the Sixth Electoral District in the House.
She, in the meantime, claimed that some natives of the British Virgin Islands have been refusing to give their younger compatriots employment opportunities.
“The Minister for Health [Ronnie Skelton] said something that is true: we are our own enemies. Why do we as people feel that our own people cannot hold certain jobs. Why are the committees that we set up nominating other people or referring other people than their own to hold certain positions? We have to fix this.”
“We have to have the confidence in our people that we [are] sending away to study to do certain jobs, that when they come back they can take up these positions and run that department or that agency as effective as anybody else from overseas. Why do we continue to always want to be pulling down our people? I have nothing against people from other islands, but most persons are looking for their own people first,” added Maduro-Caines.
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