Minister responsible for youth affairs Myron Walwyn said Government is using its job creation drive as a crime-fighting strategy.
“This is also part of the government’s crime-fighting strategy because you hear sometimes people will say that unemployment is a contributing factor to criminal activity. And it is in fact so, but it’s not the only factor.”
“So we are taking a proactive approach to try to create employment in the territory so that young people have choices, and they don’t have to resort to things that will perhaps land them in trouble,” Walwyn further said during a job fair this morning (June 12) at the Multipurpose Sports Complex in Road Town, Tortola.
The job fair was spearheaded by the Youth Employment Service (YES) based in Walwyn’s ministry, which has been allocated $250,000 to help address the unemployment issue this financial year.
“We were able – in the budget of the Virgin Islands – to place $250,000 for this programme… We intend the programme to work in this way: We will pay half of the salary for each of you (youth) who get employed in the Territory, and we expect the employer to pay the other portion. The other portion for the employer does not have to be half; it could be much more than what we are offering,” added Walwyn.
A number of young persons today attended the event for a chance to land jobs with any of the 19 businesses that showed up.
Some 181 youths already have registered under YES, but the programme’s coordinator Rochelle Lawrence said only 68 of them are still unemployed.
Walwyn, in the meantime, urged more unemployed young people to register with YES.
“Those who haven’t gotten the chance yet to sign up for the Youth Employment Services programme, we want to invite you very much to do so.”
Walwyn further said not all persons will land jobs immediately. But he noted that being registered increases a person’s chances of becoming employed.
Only persons between the ages of 16 and 30 years are eligible to register under YES.
Other persons who spoke at today’s job fair included Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Minister of Labour Dr Kedrick Pickering, and Managing Director of Clarence Thomas Limited Michael Thomas.
Dr Pickering noted that countries worldwide are grappling with the issue of unemployment, adding that the government is in place to create opportunities for its people.
But he said the people must, in turn, show an interest in getting and keeping the jobs that members of Government go out of their way to locate. “…They either don’t show up, or they show up and don’t like the job, and don’t perform,” Dr Pickering said while highlighting the response of some local people to employment opportunities.
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