Commentary: Looking for Jobs

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By Dr Neil Gosine

FROM the last budget the figures on unemployed seem to be skewed in favour of the current government.

Pictures showing hundreds of people congregating at C3 Centre in Corinth, San Fernando on October 20 paint a very different picture of the number of people looking for gainful employment.

Men and women came from as far as Icacos and Port of Spain and travelled to this location. A company advertised a job fair in the oil and gas and construction sector.

Pass Tech Ltd which operates out of Guyana hosted the job fair. The number of people that came to this is mind-boggling and there seems to be a large portion of the population and a high resource of skilled and unskilled people looking for jobs in the oil and gas and the construction sectors and even willing to move to Guyana to be gainfully employed.

The Petrotrin refinery is still mothballed and remains as scrap iron. In its wake it has left thousands of skilled workers unemployed and they too are seeking jobs in their fields.

Clearly, from the 2024 budget presentation earlier this month the minister of finance may have some questions to answer or at least back up his figures that he presented stating that the quarterly labour force and the data of employment from the Central Statistical Office showed the unemployment rate was in the decline and had declined to 3.7% from April to July.

He stated in his comparison that it was 4.9 % unemployment rate between January to March 2023. He boasted that his government was doing well in bringing down the unemployment rate however, from the pictures of that event last Friday at C3 Centre we have to question his credibility and motives as it was a sight to see all these people clamouring for employment opportunities that clearly doesn’t exist in Trinidad and Tobago.

It’s a clear indicator that we are camouflaging our figures to paint a better picture than the reality and people are suffering from accessing actual job opportunities in this country.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.

Something seems wrong with the calculations with where Minister Colm Imbert is getting his figures from in his statement that T&T is at one of its lowest unemployment rates at this time. In my opinion this can only be taken with a grain of salt as I have great skepticism about his statistics. To me, more people have lost their jobs in the last year than is being reported. Like the saying goes “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”.

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.


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