Budget 2015:  Jobs –  Jabs, Jabs. 

Growing unemployment especially among youth in Grenada asks two questions: what is the future of our people? and of our country?

Grenada has experienced the fastest rise in youth unemployment and, unlike adult unemployment, this number creates more social problems.

Till now the ‘Jobs Jobs’ slogan in our poor economy means more labour-intensive, widespread and low-income part time jobs like de-bushing or road fixing. NDC ‘invented’ cheap seasonal agriculture jobs in Canada, their only Know-How in Social policy.

For high-paid jobs, large investments are necessary and our qualified labour is migrating to the First World. Who will work in Grenada and contribute to NIS?

Two-thirds of advanced economies and half of emerging and developing markets are experiencing a slowdown in employment. The rate of unemployed is in inverse proportion to the qualification of national labour. Highly qualified workers have more chances. For example Germany now has the lowest rate of joblessness, about 6 percent, the UK 9 percent and  Spain 20 percent. In Grenada we do not have reliable data, but we see our streets full of lazy and often drunk youth in the daytime.

The Grenada typical low level salary does not support a normal and decent lifestyle. On the contrary it creates a special contingent of people for whom a couple of bottles of beer per day is enough to be happy. Like Jabs Jabs for the entire year.

Jab Jab means “double devil”. Jab represents the ghost of a slave who met his death by falling into a vat of boiling molasses in a sugar factory. After emancipation, gangs of recently liberated slaves, covered in black molasses took to the streets to celebrate their freedom and offend polite society, which they blamed for decades of suffering.

Let’s look closely at this trend and a possible scenario of our present social and investment policy. While the government’s goals of reducing the fiscal deficit and cutting government debt are understandable, these measures alone will have damaging repercussions to our social stability and is potentially catastrophic.

To tackle the jobs crisis we need greater investment in infrastructure projects to generate jobs, easier access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses, more education, apprenticeships and training for young people. Chicken or egg first?
This vicious circle can be broken only by making markets work for job-creation.  However efforts to reduce public debt and deficits have disproportionately and counterproductively focused on the labour market and social measures such as cutting wages and pensions.

There is good sense in encouraging people to train for jobs and to broaden their skills, but without investments they will never find jobs in Grenada. More than 40 percent of the long-term unemployed say they’ve received a lot of help from family and friends. But only 1 in 10 reports getting much help from churches or community groups.

This vacuum will be filled. The Jobless will find other employment opportunities. There are many extremist organisations that are recruiting youths to join terrorists groups.

The Global jobs recession will lead to civil unrest unless solutions are found. Finding a decent job and keeping it will be a struggle for hundreds of millions of ordinary people as they feel the impacts of financial turmoil, a slowing global economy, and austerity measures imposed by cash-strapped governments. In coming years  it could be the massed ranks of the unemployed that undo politicians.

The 2015 Budget debate is a good time to understand the NNP reality plan (or lack of it) – of our jobless and social disproportions.

In the Throne Speech 2014 we heard again good intentions to invest in the productive sectors for growth and job creation; and investing in human development. We have heard it before but have never seen it. We see more and more unemployed Jabs Jabs and government default. What investments are they talking about?  New debt? That the government believes it is necessary to force donor agencies into acts of charity simply beggars belief. Agencies are already stretched to workable limits. And it will crush hope and destroy confidence among the very people who should be getting encouragement.

We have reason to expect that the proposed new National Plan 2030 will be one more fiction of politicians like the recent NDC’s Changes, Mobilization Plan, Strategic Tourism and Energy that were a pure waste of public money for propaganda shows. Politicians have proven their incapability to develop the nation and in fact led the country to bankruptcy. Both major political parties for decades have created a country of 100,000 Jabs Jabs. Here they have really succeeded.

What social structure and World Order are we encouraging and financing now? We hope to hear the answer in the 2015 Grenada Budget.

Taxpayers Association of Grenada.