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In expressing his grave concern over the number of young people throughout the Gros Islet constituency who are currently unemployed, the Leader of the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) Therold Prudent has called upon the parliamentary representative for Gros Islet Emma Hippolyte, to pay greater attention to this issue, which could well pose future problems – not only for her but also for her replacement as district representative for Gros Islet.
According to Prudent, periodically employing a handful of constituents in the government-run Short Term Employment Programme (STEP) is certainly not sufficient to alleviate the high levels of unemployment, throughout the constituency of Gros Islet.
Moreover, the scarce number of jobs that are available in a constituency of this size and magnitude, which makes it Saint Lucia’s largest political district, only serves to raise the levels of social frustration and economic disparity that exist among the people of Gros Islet.
“I am prepared to do my part,” said Prudent, “and I hope that in the interest of the people of Gros Islet, Miss Hippolyte will set politics aside and work with me to help eradicate the ugly scourge of unemployment up north.”
According to Prudent, a first step would be to carry out a thorough unemployment exercise throughout the entire constituency of Gros Islet that would seek to determine not only the unemployment rate for that particular constituency, but also give a clear identification of precisely who is unemployed, including their educational background and other skills sets.
Once this information has been compiled, Prudent proposes the establishment of an independent body called the Gros Islet Economic and Renewal Council (GIERC). The GIERC will consist of two representatives from each of the key communities that make up the constituency of Gros Islet. Those persons would have had to receive the overwhelming support of their respective communities in order to serve the council for a period of five years.
The GIERC would then be charged with the responsibility of managing a newly created Jobs and Skills Training Bureau that is geared towards appropriately matching the unemployed with available jobs throughout the constituency, while offering appropriate training to those whose educational background and skills fall far below the acceptable requirements of potential employers.
The overarching goals of the GIERC would be as follows:
A) To drastically reduce the rate of unemployment by formulating innovative and progressive ideas for job creation in order to meet the economic needs of the people of Gros Islet
B) To liaise with the business community in order to identify existing areas of employment
C) To guarantee that the right to employment is not determined by one’s political affiliation but rather by one’s qualifications and ability to perform a given job.
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