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We need to develop more foot soldiers

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One ah my concern over de years is that our education system like it getting carried away with producing Generals, Chiefs and Chief-mates only and to hell with de foot-soldiers and sailors. So much emphasis is placed on passing Common Entrance, CXC, A-Level and getting dem off to University that ah wonder if any body cares if de children learn, once dey pass.

In my day at Primary School we attended woodwork classes at de Centre every Thursday learning to use de hammer, saw and plane, draw and read blue prints with Teacher Charles Findlay. De girls went next door to Home Ec classes with Shirley Antrobus and Beryl Allen, learning how to cook, bake and sew. In my case if ah didn’t pass Common Entrance ah could ah gone and learn Trade at PWD or at ah Joiner Shop.{{more}}

As recently as de mid 1990’s de Primary School’s Woodwork Program was spread out like wild-fire, we had Centres in almost every Primary School. Third form students from Secondary Schools were sent to these Centres and took dis course as ah GCE Subject. Today show me ah Primary School Woodwork Centre and ah will pay yuh.

Ah lamenting on dis subject because we are in de middle of ah Construction Building Boom and it is about to explode. In addition to an already heavy construction program in force, we expect to commence construction on six Schools, ah modern Library Building, four Learning Resource Centres, Hotel at Bam-mah-row going on, de Low and Middle Income housing will undertake some two hundred more houses. We are talking about a few thousand of wukers but we simply don’t have skilled wukers to tek up these jobs. What is going to happen is dat skilled wukers like carpenters, masons plumbers etc will have to come from outside SVG. Ah could see lots ah dis category ah wukers coming from Cuba and Guyana. So wuk will be swinging in SVG but de majority of the unskilled labourers with de smallest pay-cheque will be Vincies. How dah go look Far-rain getting big pay and we got to settle as de lowest paid wuker on de site in we own homeland.

NDP in its time never dealt with dis growing void in de wuk-force and ah want to hold de ULP just as responsible foh not doing any different. Dey knew all along that dis was going to happen, dey made several references about ah building boom, it was in dey Man-he-fete-so. So dey should ah set up Tradesman Training Centres throughout de country and offered crash courses in construction skills. Teach de youngsters to use de tools, to read plans, send dem on de construction sites foh some practical experience. Ah twelve months crash course would equip any candidate who is keen, with enough skills to hold ah job above de level of labourer and earn ah decent wage.

Ah remember when Ranny Russell was Min. of Health ah asked him why he opening ah Nursing School here, after three batches we will not have wuk foh dem. His answer was: “We will export Nurses from SVG to all parts ah de world”. He had foresight, if we open ah few Tradesman Training Centres in SVG, we will be able to meet our local needs as well as “export Construction Wukers to all parts ah de world”.

NIP IT IN DE BUD

Ah want to congratulate de Nine Mornings Committee foh another successful season. It is not easy getting out ah warm bed dem teeny-weeny hours ah de morning to host concerts. Ah know bout dat ah had my share. Ah managed to mek de last morning as it was de Salvation Army’s morning to do devotions. Ah just want to drop ah word of caution to de Committee. Ah notice dat de Ice Boxes gradually taking over and de selling of alcohol is out ah control, and it’s de hard stuff, Rum! Dey got to “Nip it in de Bud”! Lie-Za come-plain dat on two mornings there were items dat tended to be on de lewd side and dey need to “nip it in de bud” as well.

If anybody ask me to mek any recommendation, ah would mek de committee bigger to include reps from de Churches people like pastors Clarke, Frederick, Daniel or their representatives. Each Zone should now form its own Zonal Committee. And Kingstown is ready foh ah second venue, give young people more avenues foh exposure. Everybody will have suggestions but some things are easier said than done.

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