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Mp: 'Sub-Set Of Bahamians Are Unemployable'

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Ryan Pinder

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

An MP has admitted there is “a sub-set of Bahamians” who are unemployable, due to the absence of job skills or being “scarred for life” by previous criminal convictions.

Emphasising that he was not speaking in his Cabinet position, Ryan Pinder, minister of financial services, conceded that he was confronted with this reality every day in his Elizabeth constituency.

Responding to a question at a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) luncheon, Mr Pinder described his constituency as arguably the most diverse in this nation when it came to the economic backgrounds of residents.

Agreeing that the Bahamas had to be realistic, and “confront reality”, the Minister candidly conceded: “We have a sub-set of Bahamians who do not have the technical skills to be employable. I can tell you as an MP that is the case.”

While some in this “sub-set” lacked the necessary skills, and workplace ethic and attitude, Mr Pinder said others were hampered by previous criminal convictions. Unable to produce a clean police certificate, they were immediately rejected by Bahamian employers.

“I know of a strapping young man who can’t get a job because he was convicted years ago for forging bank cheques,” Mr Pinder said. “One error, and he’s scarred for life.”

Emphasising that he was not excusing or condoning such behaviour, Mr Pinder said the inability of young Bahamian men to get a job due to their past mistakes inevitably meant many - proud, yet unable to feed their families legitimately - turned to crime to do so.

This was exacerbated by the Bahamas’ clogged court system. Mr Pinder said many were “more willing to [turn to crime] as they know the justice system never runs its course in a timely fashion, and they will get out and be OK. They won’t turn to crime if they know the justice system works”.

The Minister’s comments illuminate the other side of the Immigration/work permit debate, namely that a significant (albeit a minority) section of Bahamian society is effectively planning itself out of their economy.

Entrepreneurial and employment opportunities are passing them by, and their lack of suitability for the workplace is another factor behind employers looking overseas to fill key positions.

An Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report recently revealed almost two-thirds of employee firings in the Bahamas stem from ‘behaviour problems’, finding that “the lack of skills” among workers is the main barrier to their hiring.

The report, ‘In Pursuit of Employable Skills: Understanding Employer’s Demands’, found that 62 per cent of the Bahamian companies it surveyed had either dismissed or seen employees resign in 2010-2011.

Noting that the ‘mean’, or average, was for companies to see five dismissals and three resignations, the IDB study added: “The most commonly cited reason for staff dismissals was ‘problems with behaviour’ (65 per cent).”

Mr Pinder told BCCEC members that the Bahamas had to “recognise reality and cause the proper technical development of our young people, particularly our young men”, to take place.

Apart from training, Mr Pinder said the solution also required economic growth. With 5,000 students graduating from high school every year, even assuming 50 per cent (probably a generous number) go on to tertiary education, the Bahamian workforce swells by at least 2,500-3,000 each summer.

Their numbers add to the existing 13.7 per cent unemployment rate, with 41,000 Bahamians either already jobless or not actively seeking work.

“They can only get jobs if the economy grows,” Mr Pinder said. “The economy has been stagnant for 10 years, and the population is growing every year.”

The Minister also called for improved mentorship of young Bahamians. He recalled a recent conversation with someone who had obtained an overseas posting with a bank, and her asking him how she could show the institution that she was “a woman of substance”.

“It tells you about the level of mentorship and bringing along young people in the country,” Mr Pinder said. “We need the buy-in of the entire community of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”

Comments

B_I_D___ 6 years, 6 months ago

Even some of the 'fresh graduates' are unemployable, they graduate...come into the office with certificate in hand, and can barely read or write and fill out a job application properly. Stellar education!!

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

finally an MP telling the truth ,even when in boomimg times ,2002 to 2007 , when there were 18,000 jobs created the amount of people entering the workforce was 18,000,,as per the dept of satistic ,,,,,our reckless sexual habits are producing babies faster than normal GDP growth can keep up with ..the strange thing about Cryin Ryan saying it is this 'subset ' make up a large chunk of his parties voteing block and were a large subset of the people that they whipped into a frenzy at election time ; promising them jobs ,mortgages, the expullsion of foreigners and other emotive things ,,

% of his parties voteing block

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USAhelp 6 years, 6 months ago

You don't need to read or write just join the union and vote for the existing government

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MonkeeDoo 6 years, 6 months ago

The only "buy in" you need is to find a way for Bahamians to stop indiscriminately making babies that they can't feed much less educate. If this was the wealthiest country in the world we could not provide a proper education for the hundreds of thousands of children being bred.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

that is hitting the nail on the head ..our perceived specialness is that we have a smaller population for the tourist dollar to circulate through ; however with our irresponsable sexual habits and ' babysitting ' educational system we are doing everything possible to destroy this advantage ..when people are great grandparents at 45 to successive illegitamate births to 15 year olds ghettos and crime will increase faster then a stable middle class..

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Guest2468 6 years, 6 months ago

The fact is that last year, statistics showed that about half of the children that left government high schools, did not meet the graduation requirements so did not get a diploma, but were instead given a leavers certificate.

They are the future of the country and they make up a good percentage of the population that the government whats to place referendums on things such as drilling for oil. The fact is if you have a 6th grade reading level they could provide you with every article ever written on the benefits and dangers of drilling for oil, but you won't understand it and will be voting as an ignorant party.

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TalRussell 6 years, 6 months ago

Whose fault is it that so many of "our" youth are failing in "our" schools? Maybe some think we just born bad children?

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

our fault for babies having babies ,and rushing to Bahamianazation of the school system too rapidly ..When the Bahamian teachers couldn,t pass abroad we made the College of the Bahamas ..There are some very fine Bahamian teachers ,but then there are many that can,t even speak proper english..We are following the path of our region ,ie Haiti ,Jamaica , the least educated are having the most babies ,,something is wrong in a country when 45 to 50 year old great grand parents are becoming the norm

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 6 months ago

They are not born bad children...they are just children born to bad parents!!

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TalRussell 6 years, 6 months ago

Governing politicians like Comrade Ryan could be the reason for Groucho Marx's wise words: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

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by TalRussell

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USAhelp 6 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately they can read numbers so the gambling continues as this is they only thing some can do. Rob and steal.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

w/ God as their handicapper sending them dreams about Heads picking plums and Heads is 54 and he picked 2 plums ,so God is telling them to box 524 with their last dollar ...

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scarletplum 6 years, 6 months ago

@ Concerncitizen and others. I think its naive to think that the majority of PLP supporters are grassroots people and that the majority of FNM supporters are middle or working class. Those old demographic patterns just don't hold water these days and the assumptions embedded in that statement - a thin veiled association between race, class and intelligence- is quite troubling. The party tribalism Bahamians encourage is destroying this country. It is a culture of blame- that is devoid of vision and action, regardless of who is "in power." If Pinder is saying something with sense - then say that he is making sense THEN ask him- So what's the plan? What is your vision for working through this? What are you doing in your constituency to at least try to address the problem that you have rightly analyzed? We can blame the educational system, indiscriminate procreation and cyclical poverty all we want- and they all play a role, but how do we deal with the thousands of young people between the age of 18-25 TODAY who want things and are not only unemployed but are unemployable and destined to seek the easy, unwise way to their "goals"?

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

i didn,t bring colour or race into anything ,look at the seats that are PLP strong holds ,that they win even when they lose ,to say the FNM GETS AS MUCH SUPPORT IN THE GRASSROOTS IS NOT FACTUAL .....i agree with the MP we are building an unemployable subset and i listed my reasons ..Our illegitamate birth rate is too high and our educational system is failing , if you see some thinly veiled reference to anything else ,then your glasses need a cleaning ,we are talking about unemployable youth in a majority ruled ,independant nation ..

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scarletplum 6 years, 6 months ago

You speak as if morality is only absent in these grassroots spaces (apparently brimming with PLP supporters) and not in the figurative "Eastern Road" areas. Having lived in both places- trust me when I say- they just hide it better. "Grassroots areas" are not as singular as you imagine and boundaries constantly change. Montague anyone? Pinewood? Two of the most violent areas on the island and you don't hear peep from either representative- FNM and PLP. Many of these constituencies contain people occupying a range of economic levels- as noted in the Minister's speech with regard to Elizabeth. I think most of the so called grassroots areas have elected members from both parties over the past twenty years or so with the exception of maybe two constituencies- hardly enough to carry a government. They vote in hope, but in the final analysis what has really changed in these areas - no matter what party has represented them?

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

of course the FNM has support in the grass roots areas or they could never win the goverment , however by and large the large % of gun toting murderers are coming from the inner city areas ,also the majority of ' single mother of 5 by the time they are 20 " come from the grass roots area ..IF you want to turn it into a colour thing thats your biz ,,,i have lived inner city ,eastern road and PI ,,the middle and upper class black families don,t have 8 children and babie ,mommas and daddy s ,,i,m talking about us in the Bahamas ,,you need to take off your " whitey bad too glasses " seeing as whitey is 10% of the population and apart from running business and paying their employees set no policy

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PKMShack 6 years, 6 months ago

@ scarletplum,,,I agree no party lines just what makes sense for the only country we have

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ADubbs 6 years, 6 months ago

We may be largely unemployed, but we're not stupid. We don't need Pinder to tell us these things. It would be nice the government would step up and DO something. Training programs, incentives to private businesses hiring young people, diversification of the economy, encouraging investment in family islands... When will we some solutions?

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 6 months ago

I think he was right to say it. I don't want an Obie Wilchombe-like surprise over a problem that's existed for years. AA first principle admit you have a problem, the Bahamas doesn't have the best and brightest...yet. When we admit that to ourselves, we can discuss a solution. Personal opinion, it may be too late for the 13-20yr olds...not impossible, but very difficult to undo a foundation so long in the making.

Train up a child...' get the class of 2023 now' train them to be what we want our future to look like. Of course that takes knowing what future you want and identifying the steps to get there, identifying milestones and measuring results along the way, adjusting for what works and what doesn't work...takes governance and leadership..I agree somewhat with Ortland Bodie, we need a leader PLP, FNM or QRS...

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TimeForChange 6 years, 6 months ago

I say we stop sitting back and depending on the government and blaming them for everything that goes wrong in our lives. It must first start at home if you do not train your child in the proper way and put down rules for them then what do you expect for them to do. A child mindset is only as intelligent as what he/she was taught by their parents. How is it that the Haitian children can come in this country and get an education FREE and succeed but the Bahamians cant do it. Haitians come from a poor country so they know of poverty first hand but some Bahamians spoil their children to the core and they dont discipline them as they should. When the foreign children are getting their education the Bahamians are going around fighting and getting in trouble and being mothers before they graduate from school. So the blame with this can only lie at the feet of the parents. I have seen myself the way these children behave they fight in the road in oncoming traffic like they are a bunch of wild animals why because that is the way they were brought up by THEIR PARENTS not the government! So not every problem that happens in this society is the blame of the government we need to learn to start taking responsibility for our own actions and stop putting the blame on others. If our children are coming out of school with no education then as parents we have only ourselves to blame!

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scarletplum 6 years, 6 months ago

Time for a Change- While I think we need better governance from both sides of the aisle- I agree with you that we have a special way of passing responsibilities or blaming government for our own failures. I was raised in the middle of the ghetto, but I was parented right- not perfect but right. All the mantras were drilled into my head- "You might have been born in the ghetto, but the ghetto wasn't born in you"; "Don't be jealous of nobody because you don't know what they had to do to get what you see" etc. When I was going to college- because education was valued in my house and it was expected that I would go- the only thing my grandpa said to me was that in those people country I needed to remember how I was raised. In households where social values are present (single parent or two parent households) and adults parent, you see children doing amazing things that truly give me hope. But by and large we have become a country dominated by adult children refusing to be responsible for anything and therefore always casting blame. How do children learn?

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

your last sentence says exactly what i,m saying ,but when i say it you want to put elements of race into it ,geez

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TalRussell 6 years, 6 months ago

Comrades far too many of Bahamaland's children are hurt'in. Minister Ryan you would be shocked at the number of newborns, abandoned by their mothers at the Princess Margaret Hospital and Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport?

As we debate what the minister has to say on the pages of The Tribune, our two Hospitals have little choice but to turn away families who are dealing with a serious mental crisis.

Unfortunately, spending taxpayers money for more guns for our policeman's and policewoman's to shoot our citizens, staffing special courts or building bigger jails to lockup our children to share cells with hardened criminals, is not our solution?

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John 6 years, 6 months ago

With all this rain I can certainly use some of the political bull$#@& that is spewn out by our local politicians. To say that persons in his consticeuncy are unemployable is for Ryan Pinder to say that he is unwilling to loosen that green tie (that he apparently borrowed from the DNA) and do what is necessary to create the jobs that are needed to get persons off the streets, out of the crime element, back into main-stream society and employed.

It is the politicians and those responsible for job creation and education that has caused the socio-economic we are in today. The Educators have set they bar higher than the average person can reach and rather than cut the cuit to fit the cloth, politicians have followed suit and say we have generations of dumb Bahamians, who are unemployable. They have industries right here in this Bahamas where blind persons are making mops, Mentally and physically challegenged people are making ceramics and floral arrangements, among other things, blind people are selling cool drinks and news pepaer and, as a stiitng politician, you are gonna sit here in your green necktie (that you borrowed from someone in the DNA) and say that because someone has a "D' average and/or a criminal record you cannot help him? Then maybe you should help by resigning your seat and let someone else, does not just want to keep the seat warm sit in it. Face the facts: If a person goes through his school career maintaining a "D" average of a failing grads, this is obvious a true representation of his ambition, meaning he cannot do the academic work that is required of him. But it does not mean that we, as a country must throw him to the dogs (or to the criminal element to later wreak havoc on society) but we need to do a skills inventory of these individuals and develop and create jobs and industries in which they can participate. IF you continue telling more than 50% of your high school leaving graduates that they are unqualified or unfit for the job market, then social problems and crime will abound. By the same token, if you were to take your "A" and "B" sudents and put them in the fields to pick cotton, or to fix roads or to work on the garbabe trucks, or to do any hard manual labor, likewise there would be similar rebellion. Time for y'all politicians in yall green tie (that someone in da DNA lent you) to get real. Stop listening to the foreign investor, who may not want to employ Bahamians for the most part anyway, and stop listening to other detractors, who have their own ulterior motives and do the right thing. When you are the government of the Bahamas, incharges of this country's resources there should 'never' be any such thing as an unemployable Bahamian, even if they have to make green neckties and sell them!

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SP 6 years, 6 months ago

As an employer, I must agree with Mr. Pinder, there are untold numbers of individuals that are indeed unemployable.

However, it is not fair for all you geniuses with full bellies and fat butts to sit on your high horses and blame these people or their parents’ procreation for their problems.

The bottom line here is successive governments totally failed in education of the populace. The fact that a child even today can finish school unable to read or write at 4th grade level cannot be blamed on the child but is an indictment on a failed system.

After all, the child does not promote himself to higher grades each year...Does he?

Complaining and pointing fingers at this point is non productive and a waste of time.

The only solution now is the creation of serious vocational training programs to teach these many thousands of people skills and trades perhaps using existing school campuses as locations.

This is a major problem for the government of the day that will not be easily resolved. It is impossible to fix 40 years of political stupidity and failure in 5 years.

I sincerely hope they are up to the task of at least heading in the right direction to solve this issue.

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JohnDoe 6 years, 6 months ago

I always felt that concise problem identification represented about 90% of efficient problem resolution. We often say that we need politicians to be honest and here we have a young politician giving what appears to be an honest, descriptive impromptu response at the end of a speech and we are castigating him for it. No wonder politicians prefer to be evasive and tell us what we want to hear. We Bahamians are so imbued with unearned pride that every time someone identifies a potential shortfall we may possess we perceive it as an attack on the very core of our identity. I have news for you my brothers and sisters, just look around you at our society, all is not well, we are not perfect and no amount of burying our heads in the sand will hide that. If we cannot agree on a simple proposition, such as a sub-set of our society is unemployable, we will never be able to arrive at a solution because as noted above, concise problem identification often contains elements of the solution. I applaud the Minister for being honest and saying something that most politicians would dare not say but that is just the beginning. Until we can precisely identify the issues I have no idea what the solutions are, however, I do recognize that it will be imperative that all sectors of society are infused with an equal sense of awareness of our issues such that we can initiate an honest and heartfelt national non-political dialogue that attempts to balance personal responsibility and accountability with societal and governmental obligation and support. Contrary to many of the comments above, the government’s capacity to directly create jobs is limited; however, the government has an obligation to create an environment that encourages job creation, which successive governments have often failed to do. Governments can supply the bricks and mortar to build schools and furnish them with desks and chairs, however, governments cannot build character, common sense, values, ambition, attitude, morals, conscience or a work ethic in our children….. we must do that.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 6 months ago

Extremely well put .................

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TalRussell 6 years, 6 months ago

Minister Ryan, employers have and MUST play an important role to make damn sure that as our youth mature they will be there to open doors for work and career advancement opportunities. We need to be encouraging the mindset of our youth, who will decide to grow up and leave crime behind.

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USAhelp 6 years, 6 months ago

Somehow we must get over the feel of intitlement from everyone. Work hard and believe in ourselves that we can do better. If you dont like what your employers doing then quit an move on. How many jobs is the union providing. How much is paid to the union leaders we need to wake up an better ourselves.

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bismark 6 years, 6 months ago

Education is the key to success in any nation,apparently our youth got caught up in the scourge of the the drug era of the 80s when many young men left school to get ''over''the lure of fast easy money was to tempting and alas,this what we have in the aftermath,that era destroyed at least two to three generations and we are paying for it dearly,when you have a young man and his father in prison at the same time?we are in dire trouble in this nation and the lousy politicians have failed us miserably,in five years I will be wondering if we will move or we will sink?

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 6 months ago

Yeap...pretty much all the problems we are facing with educations and attitudes can be directly related back to the poor decision made by the much revered S.L.O.P...the initials say it all, we are in one big slop of a mess many thanks to him. It will take generations to undo the damage he had done.

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