Categorized | National News

PM Encourages Regional Recruiting

The Caribbean region has a wealth of information and expertise available within, so much so that Prime Minister Perry Christie is urging regional leaders to look no further when recruiting skilled workers.

The prime minister was delivering a speech on the role of The Bahamas in Caricom at a Distinguished Open Lecture Series at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago Monday when he told the crowd that all Caribbean countries should never have to leave the region to look for trained workers.

“Further, when there are shortages of skilled artisans in The Bahamas requiring the country to recruit from outside The Bahamas, the region is the place to which we should be able to look to find workers to supplement our workforce,” he added.

“We both suffer from the lack of proper exchanges about information and development. It is important for us to change these perceptions and for there to be an increased exchange of ideas. I shared at the last heads of government meeting the fact that in many areas, my government was inviting professionals to come to The Bahamas to offer advice and expertise on the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessments, to share the results on research and development and to advise on new policies. In my discussions with fellow Heads I discovered a wealth of information and expertise available within the region itself.”

In fact, the prime minister added that in a bid to lead by example, he has suggested that at the earliest opportunity, fellow heads should visit The Bahamas and take the opportunity to meet with Bahamians and speak to the issues of the region at an appropriate forum in both Nassau and in Freeport.

“The University of the West Indies, as the premier regional institution should be front and centre in this interchange,” Prime Minister Christie said. “I should not have to look to the University of Florida or the University of Miami alone for the expertise to develop some of our own institutions.

“As we speak, we are seeking to develop the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). This is being developed in Andros which is the largest island in The Bahamas. This is a landmass which is larger than the island of Trinidad but with a population of less than 14,000 people. We are seeking to make a concerted effort for The Bahamas to develop its agricultural potential, and train farmers and fishermen who will not only conduct research and development but will grow food for our country.

“This is a determined effort to make the country more self-sufficient in food production. An expert from the Caribbean was central to developing our ideas on the subject. However, more of this can and should be done.”

Prime Minister Christie said expertise can be supplied from the region, particularly in the area of tourism which is now the premier industry in the Caribbean, supplying billions of dollars to the gross domestic product.

“Tourism is very much our bread and butter,” he said. “The university should be front and centre in the forward movement of our tourism product, particularly as the product moves to an even higher end. It should be front and centre in preparing the management talent and in designing synergies so that our countries can develop and obtain more from the tourism product in a sustainable manner.

“The all important area of climate change and the management of the environment is another area where the regional university can help. It is clear from the latest report on climate change that unless there is some dramatic turnaround in the policies of consumption on energy we are in for dramatic shifts in the climate; longer drought cycles and more intense rains and hurricanes.
This poses life-changing dangers, especially to low-lying island nations like The Bahamas. If sea level rises over one metre there will be catastrophic consequences.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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