Categorized | National News

Jobless Rate Deeply Troubling, FNM

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash says the increased unemployment rate is “deeply troubling” as it relates to the government’s performance and “tremendously disappointing” as it relates to the thousands of Bahamians who continue to desperately look for gainful employment.

On Wednesday, the Department of Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in The Bahamas has increased from 14.7 per cent to 16.2 per cent nationally.

According to the department’s Labour Force Survey, both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced increases in their unemployment rates.

In the case of the former, the rate increased from 13.1 per cent to 15.9 per cent; and in the latter, from 18.0 per cent to 19.5 per cent.

The data further shows that there was an increase in both the number of employed and unemployed individuals.

“We hope that these numbers persuade Prime Minister [Perry] Christie and his government to take a moment to reflect on how difficult living conditions are for the thousands of Bahamians who have a hard time making ends meet every day,” said Mr. Cash.

“We hope that they reflect on the value that each and every person places on keeping the jobs that they have, no matter how little those jobs pay. The prime minister’s team too often gives the impression that they do not understand how hard life is for average Bahamians.”

He added, “Two days ago when responding to concerns raised about government’s decision not to renew contracts of almost two government workers, the Minister of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, described the action in this way, ‘This is purely an administrative matter.’ It is hard for a now-unemployed mother to explain to her children how their condition is due purely to ‘an administrative matter’.”

Mr. Cash said his attitude seems “very insensitive.”

The FNM chairman said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) clearly viewed terminations from Urban Renewal, RIU Hotel, the Cable Beach hotels and other places as “administrative” matters between the employers and the workers.

He said the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) has added to the unemployment lines and he claims CIBC First Caribbean is now “preparing its list.”

“We will wait anxiously to see how the prime minister responds,” he said. The positive news in the report is that an appreciable number of persons rejoined the labour force reflecting some degree of optimism. Many of them no doubt did so because they expected the PLP Government’s 10,000 jobs to materialise.”

“They, like many others, remain sorely disappointed. Between May 2012 and May 2013 the employed labour force was virtually unchanged, and this is a fundamental failure of the Christie administration when it comes to focusing their attention on issue one for most Bahamians; jobs.

He said the Christie administration’s jobs agenda has been a “failure” for one very clear reason – they never had one.

“After countless distractions, perhaps today’s report will persuade Prime Minister Christie to settle down, focus, and work on putting Bahamians back to work,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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