Guyana: The society is losing its menfolk…+ migration editorial

Guyana: The society is losing its menfolk, and fast


One of the cries I hear almost every day is that there are no jobs for young people. At the same time I am often besieged by applications for employment. And indeed it is true that many young school leavers simply cannot find jobs.

Most of the businesses are in the private sector and these people are more interested in the bottom line, so they hire the barest minimum of people.  With the construction boom, people also gain employment. In fact, some contractors complain that they cannot find enough labourers. They also say that they have a hard time finding semi-skilled labour.

So there are jobs, but there are simply not enough people to accept them, because the school system does not actually prepare people for skilled labour. I chatted with some educationists and they all say that the education system is heavily academic. The result is that those children who are not academically inclined simply drop out. 

Not so long ago, in a discussion with Ms Gail Teixeira, I learnt that when there was a recruiting programme for the Guyana National Service, the applications were so many. The service could only take about twenty per cent of the applicants.

This would suggest that there are people who want their children to be gainfully employed. Sadly, this government so scaled down National Service that young people who would have been gainfully occupied are now left to roam the streets.

On Thursday I was at the opening of the annual Police Officers’ Conference. Three things struck me. One of them was that there is a shortage of policemen. Young people are slow to seek employment with the police and there is a reason for this. There was a time when people simply distrusted the police because of the excesses they visited on some communities.

Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud was open when he discussed his police force. He said that he, in his years as a policeman, has seen excesses against the very people that the police have taken an oath to protect and serve.

The force is about thirty-three per cent short, so there are about one thousand jobs begging to be taken in the Guyana Police Force alone. But the young people are not going there. Perhaps there are parents who feel that their children would come under fire from the criminal elements. But the reality is that once there is a strong police force, the fewer would be the number of criminals. However, I cannot sell that idea to many parents.

As if the alternative between joining the police force is to turn to a life of crime, I keep seeing a preponderance of young people being apprehended. Some of them have committed armed robberies and some of them are simply snatch-and-grab bandits.

This past weekend I received a call from an area named Plum Park about some young people who have formed themselves into gangs. It was reported that these young people accost their counterparts who are leaving for work in the early morning and are forcing them to run back home. This could only cause the ranks of the unemployed to swell.

The police have been trying to combat this new wave of crime, but they do not know the area, and there are people who simply protect the young criminals, either because they are flesh and blood or because these people benefit from the proceeds.

I am saddened by the presence of men at the street corners at all hours of the day. These are people who would need money and money is not had by liming. The offshoot is logical.
A friend recently said to me that Guyana is a give and take society. The people who work their butts off to make ends meet are now being forced to give to people who want without having to taste their own sweat.  The latter are the takers.

As fate would have it, this situation is not unique to Guyana. If it is as global as some would want to believe, then there must be a global solution. In Guyana there is a lot of talk about revamping the education system. But revamp it to what?

We have constructed technical institutes but the process of technical education must begin from early. There was a time when we had multilateral schools. Each had a technical section and produced some of the best technicians, because the children simply followed the natural progression. Queen’s College had a carpentry section.

These schools were converted to academic clinics and the technically-inclined student was simply pushed to cope in an area where he was least likely to succeed. The situation is worrying.
It is good to see that women are grabbing those job areas that the men seem to be shying away from. I noticed that a bunch of women have taken firm grip of the information technology section of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company. There was a time when they would not have even been considered.

In Guyana Power and Light Inc., I recalled meeting a woman who was integral to the setting up of the power station at Vreed-en-Hoop. She was an engineer and I was told that there are others similarly qualified.

We are now left to wonder at the reduction in the number of weddings, the increase in the number of single-parent mothers, and the growing number of boys who are good for nothing.


Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • guyaneseonline  On 05/03/2014 at 1:50 am

    There is a serious crisis in labour in Guyana

    There is a serious crisis in labour in Guyana. And it has nothing to do with the differences between the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Guyana (FITUG) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
    There is a crisis in labour in Guyana. And it has nothing to do with the cost of living or the Value Added Tax (VAT). There is a crisis in labour in Guyana. And it has nothing to do with low wages or the prospects of the National Insurance Scheme.
    There is a crisis in labour and at the heart of this crisis are four problems: 1) the shortage of labour, 2) the unreliability of the available workforce, 3) the exaggerated ambitions of those entering the workforce for the first time and 4) poor productivity.

    Read more:

  • de castro  On 05/03/2014 at 9:55 am

    surprise surprise !
    plumbers carprnters butchers electricians ….not cowboy tradesmen/women
    skilled labour is what builds any nation….not “soldiers” “sailors” “airmen”
    ….UK abolished national service in 1960s policemen are paid a liveable salary
    law enforcers if well paid will not accept a “bribe” as additional income.

    try bribeing a policeman in UK and you will probably end up in court….
    In my travels in euroland most law enforcers in the southern countries will
    accept a bribe ….corruption does exist as wages are not a liveable….

    guyana has to address “corruption” which is endemic in its society if it is to move forward …and also start training “skilled” labourers in their colleges
    …we cannot all be “rocket scientists” ! Literacy and numeracy a start in basics…


  • cooliegal  On 05/03/2014 at 11:59 am

    This country is racially divided, Indians against Blacks. The east Indian population is not giving the Black people a chance of getting anything, they are the ones in power and they are very biased, they are very selfish and only think about themselves, of course not all of them.. Black people are suffering in this country, the rulers there do no care about the less fortunate who are the bBack nation.

  • gzplayter  On 05/04/2014 at 10:19 pm

    I can’t help but feel sad for a country that has great potentials yet in such condition of poverty. The present state of the country is a crying shame to the rest of it’s neighbors and unless some serious effort is made to alter the degradation, further misery is inevitable.

    The people we have running the country can care less about who is leaving and I believe it’s beneficial for these individuals because it provide less scrutiny and a stronger hold, on power.

    These men must be held accountable for their mismanagement and until such time the masses are willing to say enough is enough there will be more of the same. A further decline of our natural resources.

    May God help us to provide the right response.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s