By Edward E. Smith PhD
No jobs, high unemployment, failed succession plans, questionable development agreements, imminent VATaxes, NHIP hospital denial, NIB social assistance are all taboo or dark-side words when it comes to everyday living (or survival) here in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). But taboo words or not, the ever unemployment state in this country is effecting every single facet of living, well-being and economy alike.
Edward E. Smith PhD, FFA is a leadership scholar-practitioner, specializing in organizational management, collective bargaining, and not-for-profit organizations. Dr Smith has two graduate certificates in human resource management and management of NPOs, and he is a licensed accountant, K-12 educator, pilot, and now consults for developing businesses. E-mail
But, miracles are on the way, now that there is elected government we are expecting to get help with this unemployment state we are currently in, but getting such help from the government “operatives” comes with conditions and with prices. Or, should I say, if the “price is right”, such as a lunch invite, or a see you at the “place” later for pay-out?
TCIG – Labour and Immigration Departments, through elected representatives (MPs) as desired by the electorate, the time has now come when measurable efforts must be placed to guarantee eligible TCIs are “working”! How you do this is the topic now being discussed and, hopefully, will draw the attention of appropriate stakeholders, who will understand the plight and join in the effort of just cause!
I now ask the question, do you really want to provide gainful employment and equal opportunity for the potential TCI workers or is this just a classic exercise of bait and switch show of deceit and overt control of the “system”? Do we really think that the Labour Department wants to address the unemployment problem? And, if we sincerely do, do we really believe that the Labour Department really can fix the problem? For whatever it is worth, I invite the general public in a concerted write-in effort to share their views to assist in solving this now national crisis!
I honestly believe that the Labour Department really wants to provide equal opportunity but, in all reality, it appears (and some may say it is true) to have such “baggage” they are so hamstrung with owing repayment of favours that it is almost impossible to systemically Implement, monitor and/or enforce for lack or fear of being exposed.
Without drawing unwarranted attention or using the big “C” = corruption word, we must question the department’s effectiveness, or should we say clout. So we begin with a recent event that was the brain partner-project of the Labour Department, and what do we get? Shock, disappointment and disbelief are not just from the Labour Department, but, from all other stakeholders to some degree, as demonstrated.
Before demonstrating this lapse, everybody must first give props to a recent event the Employment Service Department (Labour) and the TCI Hotel and Tourism Association (attending agents) for hosting the employment drive on April 16, 2013, at the Gustavo Sports center 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with the notice being BOLO on LIME (and maybe others) public announcement at 1741 hours on April 15, 2013 – folks, that is almost 6:00 pm in the evening before, for such an all important event that employed or unemployed job seekers in the thousands would surely have liked to have attended.
And just think about it, day in and day out, these very thousands of job seekers are in and out the properties of the very organizations (participants with tables in the employment drive) looking for work and are told “no work”. What will now make them think that at the call of an employment drive announced hours before the event, will get them hired?
TCI people cannot be all that stupid, or is it that the attending agents think that TCIs are that naïve? So what were the results of such an event? Total failure and real disappointment, would be a kind way of describing the results. To add insult to injury, the event itself was so poorly attended -- not even sufficient attendance to be counted on two hands and two feet -- and all students. It was not even worth the effort that the potential employers had to repeat just to say no, again! And the very sad part about this national spectacle is just that -- it was merely a spectacle. And the players are fully aware of it; including our very own Labour Department!
Are we just lacking the foresight or is it just that the Labour Department does not know what to do, or simply does not want to do the right thing? I think not, but who is there to say? Recent events may cause one to think differently as depicted here.
I now draw an illustration for a case in point to show cause. How is it that a person (expat) from one organization is trained and eventually promoted but, when in the same instance, a TCI (indigenous, note, I did not say “belonger”, because therein too, lies overt selection – locals vs. papers) comes from another organization with the required equivalent experience in years and function, hiring/selection is denied for lack of experience? This situation is very troublesome, and does need real “humane” addressing.
Let us be fair to all and clear the air about some popular perceptions. Despite many ingrained shortfalls, some industrious TCIs do want to work and be gainfully, adequately, equally and properly compensated and, as stakeholders and agents, we must realize that all of these persons are human, and most do have self restraint, and pride to the most extent; and others are simply lacking, including this writer. Sadly, it is very disappointing for some, who will cut off their noses to spite their faces, and will not do the right thing, just cooperate.
Looking at the unemployment situation from a non-aligned perspective, one will or must say that somehow, somewhere and in some places there are injustices. It is very disheartening to see so many indigenous TCIs unemployed, and all other nationalities being able to support their families here or abroad and, to top it off, some persons have not one job, but two, or maybe three. I am not aware of Immigration or Labour approving two or three jobs with the same work permit. So that tells that someone is most definitely not doing their job and we know it and, guess what, it has been well known, and none of the authorities has seen fit to act, or react!
Immigration and Labour Departments, this is a national issue, do something, and do that something now.
This challenge is now issued. May we see the first entity/business/person to come forward and join in the fight? But we must not stop here. We must do what is required to create and develop the machinery that will ensure selection, succession, training and development, which will prescribe, subscribe and foster best employee opportunities.
And please do not persecute the messenger, but read the message and be immersed with facts, knowledge and the desire to move forward to excel!