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The Bahamas must believe in Bahamians

Published: Aug 01, 2013

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For recent Bahamian graduates, there could not be a more terrifying time to enter the workforce. With unemployment for those between the age of 15 and 24 at 30 percent, young Bahamians are caught between inexperience and a lack of jobs to obtain experience.

Those Bahamians with the opportunity to work elsewhere often choose to do so simply because this country lacks opportunity outside the financial and tourism sectors.

Our most talented young people want to succeed; they crave feedback, training and mentoring. They have long been acquainted with the Internet and social media and their power to network to seize opportunity.

Yet here in The Bahamas, the fervor of youth is not met with employment opportunities in these times. These are the same young people who since 1992 remember only two prime ministers, Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie, leading and moving the country forward.

How can we incite the next generation to believe in The Bahamas?

Yes, The Bahamas has Baha Mar, and it has hired many Bahamians. But is it truly an opportunity for all those who wish to succeed outside the tourism industry?

How many Bahamian engineers, architects, project managers, graphic designers, lawyers, landscape architects, interior designers and so forth are actually employed and will be employed by Baha Mar?

The young, well-educated Bahamian understands that the opportunities to work in skilled positions on high capital projects such as Baha Mar are limited and often come only upon leaving The Bahamas. Such high profile projects only engage the best and most experienced project management and engineering firms. This is a cycle that plagues The Bahamas over and over again, inevitably leading to a brain drain.

Time and time again, Bahamian businesses are left wondering not only why a foreign firm was engaged, but also if it was cleared to perform services in The Bahamas under a valid business license.

Any indication that The Bahamas is moving out of the recession is countered by numerous agency warnings about the country’s rising debt.

The latest jobless rate for the country was at 14.0 percent.

The Bahamas needs foreign direct investment and local investment that will engage Bahamians and lead to the return of our talented expatriate citizens. We must also encourage those known as experts in their fields to become mentors and help steer our youth by example.

The Bahamas must prove that it is ready to embrace highly skilled positions and to believe in the capacity of its young people to perform well. We must also continue to promote successful young entrepreneurs and urge them to mentor those seeking to develop a business.

Now more than ever, The Bahamas needs to believe in Bahamians. We must afford all Bahamians the opportunity to gain experience so that they can thrive in a profession and give back to the community.

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