Saint Lucia continues to face high unemployment, particularly among youth, something that former Minister, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, said must be taken seriously.
Flood-Beaubrun believes that the current administration has not given much attention to this issue and treating it with the urgency it needs, nor are they trying hard enough to bring the unemployment numbers down.
The former minister said she comes into contact with many young people on a daily basis, who have shown lots of creativity and the urge to do things for themselves, yet they can’t use it to gain employment.
“Our gifts and talents are supposed to help us earn a living. We are supposed to use the gifts and talents that God has given us, to help us to earn a living for our families,” she said.
Flood-Beaubrun said when people cannot use those talents to earn a living, that results in a loss of dignity.
“People feel they are not being who they are called to be. There is a loss of self-esteem and people become idle. This is when people begin now to choose things that lead them on the wrong path. This is when crime comes in, and deviant behaviors starts to creep in. This is where frustration leads people to do things that they would otherwise not do,” she said.
The unemployment situation is really important not just to put money in peoples pocket, Flood-Beaubrun said, but leaders need to give people a sense of worth and dignity, so they could lead the quality of life they need.
When people can’t do that, they will become frustrated, and it will manifest itself in different ways, she added.
“We haven’t done a study on it yet, but I am sure in my mind, that suicide rates have something to do with the depression, lack of hope and the despair that people feel and it has to be addressed,” she asserted.
The former Castries Central MP said she is not pleased with what is going on in Saint Lucia, where people cannot afford basic food items and they are either unemployed or struggling every day to make ends meet.
Data from the National Statistics Department confirm unemployment in 2015 averaged 24.5 percent of the working population aged 15 to 65.
However, the last quarter saw a significant drop to just over 20 percent with the creation of an estimated 5,000 new jobs.
Youth unemployment is now down to about 34 percent from a high of 44 percent.