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Rowley tells Chaguanas Chamber: Imported labour won’t solve problems

Monday, July 7, 2014
Chamber members Richard Sirju and Ashley Menzies, standing at left, look on as CEO of the Mississauga Board of Trade Sheldon Leiba, seated at left, and Chaguanas Chamber president Richie Sookhai sign an MOU witnessed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, right.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is not in support of using foreign labour to ease manpower shortages. Rowley, featured speaker at a breakfast seminar hosted by the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC), said using external labour should not be seen as an option when jobs should be going to nationals instead. “As it stands now skilled people living in the region—once you have certification—can be available to T&T users.



We cannot solve our problems by abandoning our own input and relying on importation as a replacement because that in itself creates new problems," he said. Rowley said outsiders are taking jobs in T&T while locals are claiming they can’t get jobs so they rely on the Government for make-work programmes. He said the Government should put systems in place for people to enter the workforce and actually do work.



The PNM political leader said one of the spin-offs from his party’s plans to absorb the Ministry of Local Government into the Ministry of Finance will be the creation of local government bodies with powers similar to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). He said one of the roles of these bodies will be creation of databases of people in the various municipalities who need employment.



Chamber president Richie Sookhai said it is time to determine whether make-work programmes only serve as a plaster in depressed areas instead of alleviating the crime problem. “We should consider re-evaluation of these programmes to determine whether we are getting value for money, whether those in need are really being helped and whether illegal activities are being funded.



This evaluation should, of course, be based on solid facts, not wild accusations and sensationalism,” he said. During the meeting the chamber signed an MOU with the Mississauga Board of Trade. Sookhai said the MOU facilitates business relationships and opportunities between Canada and T&T.


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