Hiding Unemployment

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Jerome Teelucksingh
By Jerome Teelucksingh

A FEW politicians are infamous for manipulating unemployment figures to criticise opponents, win votes or remain in power.

Some politicians boast of providing jobs… but they do not reveal the jobs they obtain for their family, friends and financiers of their political party. Jobs should be given on the basis of merit, qualifications and experience.

Do politicians have a real desire to solve unemployment? Citizens who are employed would have no need for the rhetoric and empty promises of politicians. Some politicians in power, and in the opposition, use existing socio-economic problems to their advantage. They want to create a following of dependent voters… not educated voters or empowered voters. Transparency and accountability are needed in the private and public spheres. This should be ingrained in the hearts and minds of all politicians, managers and employees.


Effective, not elaborate, checks and balances are crucial to ensure programmes are monitored to reduce and eventually eliminate unemployment. It is a necessity that a leader must carefully choose persons who will effectively harness human resources to maximise a country’s potential. If not, such a leader will undoubtedly feel the wrath of the unemployed masses.

A political leader from the South, with relatively high unemployment, cannot have the extravagant tastes of a leader from a developed country. A developing economy with a debt burden should avoid hosting an expensive event such as a beauty pageant or erection of a costly monument. These wastages must be discouraged since the country achieves only brief popularity, limited financial returns and little or no benefit to the less fortunate citizens.


It is a logical, sane and rational decision to invest the taxpayers’ money in the provision of efficient social services, creating job opportunities, funding institutions for the physically and mentally challenged, homes for elderly persons and assisting the health sector.

Political leaders need regular and earnest dialogue on the causal factors and rates of unemployment. Leaders must be sympathetic to the poor, aware that the wealth of a nation is temporarily entrusted in their care and accountable to those being governed.

Every country suffers from unemployment and thus, this social problem needs to be seriously and immediately addressed. They must realise there are no boundaries to unemployment as it could affect anyone. Unemployed persons do not belong to a particular ethnicity, class, religion, country or gender.


Unemployment seems inescapable. Around the globe, some are temporarily unemployed, underemployed or permanently retrenched. What are the underlying reasons? Is the
world becoming too overcrowded? Has industrialisation and technology increased the problem? Are policies and legislation ineffective? Is there a need for a new economic ideology to emerge? In 2009, a global financial crisis resulted in millions of persons being unemployed. In 2020, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to an increase in layoffs and retrenchment. These are recent examples of the need to seriously tackle the root causes of unemployment.

The annual observances of World Unemployment Day explores the factors contributing to unemployment and suggests solutions. Some of the solutions and topics being discussed and debated:

1. More cooperation between the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
2. Regular government reports and updates on the levels of poverty and unemployment in each country;
3. Frequent media reports highlighting the plight of the unemployed, homeless and street children;
4. More rational allocation and utilisation of government expenditure for social welfare programmes;
5. Efficient and monitored halfway houses, drop-in-centres and support systems.
6. More collaboration among the religious bodies, public and private sectors.
7. Public support of ventures and projects of organisations involved in assisting the
poverty-stricken and homeless.
8. Reducing or stopping the misuse of funds, there is a need for international monitoring of the governments in their use of funds/loans and implementation of policies. Awarding of jobs based on merit and need.

Private companies, individuals, non-governmental organisations and governments have been invited to discuss the effectiveness and implement as much of the above recommendations as possible. It is unfortunate that high levels of unemployment contribute to a country’s political and economic instability.


How has this Day been observed? Persons and organisations have used peaceful marches, seminars, conferences and petitioning relevant authorities or politicians. Schools have organized debating, poster and essay writing competitions. In an age of advanced technology, globalisation and increasing population, there is an urgent need to eliminate the high unemployment levels.

Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is a recipient of the Humming Bird (Gold) Medal for Education and Volunteerism. He is attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine.  He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.

Click to read other articles by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh below:

A Need to Observe Word Unemployment Day

An Ideology for the Trade Union Movement

The Man who Couldn’t be Prime Minister 

Social Outburst vs Social Revolution 

Challenges of the Men’s Movement

If George Floyd was Denied Parole

Fathers Under Attack!

Should we Save the Boy Child

The Meaning of Indian Arrival Day in T&T

International Men’s Day – A Way of Life

Wounds that cause school violence

The Forgotten Massacres 1884

May Day: A Time for Solidarity, Strength

Who Coined the Term ‘Black Power’

Indians in Black Power


2 thoughts on “Hiding Unemployment

  1. I would agree with some of the explanation given by Jerome Teelucksingh with the continued drive to use unemployment as a “Political” tool. That is one of our biggest problems in solving the situation. Politicians outside of Government tend to use this subject over and over, not truly realizing the real issue. But what they fail to understand is, that when they continue to send messages to the unemployed that, they have to answer, it forces the unemployed and their social inability to gain employment to gravitate towards them with empty promises, always keeping them fixed in one mental condition and unemployed, looking for that hope at the end of the Rainbow.

    The real issue we have is, that many youths in our society make themselves unemployable and that is where we need to make the change. What Politicians should be doing instead is, to show the unemployable how to become “employable” one way of doing this is, change in attitude, change in the way you present yourselves, stop the bad boy/bad girl attitude, make people gravitate towards you instead of against you.

    Walking the streets with the pants down your waste and other ways of dressing, would not get you into the doors. The only type of employment you can gain from the ways you dress, may not necessary be the type of employment you are truly capable of getting. It’s time to change and that time is now and stop listening to the politicians, this only keeps you where you are today. There is a tomorrow, and it can be a bright tomorrow. But you have to make it happen.

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