This month's commentary takes a look at the Job situation in Jamaica and asks the question "Is the Gov't Really Creating Jobs".
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Commentary: Is the Gov’t Really Creating Jobs In Jamaica

The term “Job” as described by the American Heritage Dictionary is “a task or regular activity performed for payment.

Society has now conditioned us to believe that a good education, helps one to get a good job, which in turn provides money by which to acquire things to add to the comforts of life.

In order to achieve this goal, our modern society is set up in such a way that, upon completing the minimum of a high school education any individual can be employed to complete or perform a job to the standards as required by the employer. To be employed in higher paying jobs, individuals have invested in Tertiary education and have become more motivated and interested in having and holding jobs.

Therefore I wonder, What is one expected to do when you loose your job to downsizing of companies, redundancies, forced early retirement and even bankruptcies of that nature?

Many persons who were independent from the days they left high school / college and started to work now have to go home to depend on their mothers, spouses, relatives and even their children. The bills that have to be paid are not gone away and they begin to accumulate. Being desperate to get a new job, you begin to hunt in the areas of your professional field, but the possibility of ever acquiring a job in similar fields of previous employment are probably non-existent as most of those jobs are already taken.

For the few jobs that are available, you are either under qualified or over qualified. Further more once you are in your thirties you are now classifieds as old and is a liability than an asset to the organization. You are viewed as being more costly to employ, as you will be expecting more than the mere minimum wages that firms have been successful in paying to the new bloods. In addition the firms are now looking to get longer years of service at a much cheaper cost.

Being the fighter that you are, you begin to contemplate investing in yourself. This by using all your savings towards acquiring a new skill or education to make yourself more marketable, or to spend the extra money you have sparingly with the hope that what you have you will be able to tide yourself over through the tough times ahead. Both decisions are risky but with each, your hope is that you will be lucky enough to get a new job soon.

So far, emotionally your family, your community and your church, has supported you but as the weeks extend into months you begin to doubt yourself. You begin to question where you went wrong. Your sense of inferiority and useless begins to develop and at this point it takes a lot of inner strength to go on.

Who else can you go to for help? Will you ever get the support you need from your country? All these years that you have worked the government have never missed in collecting the various taxes from you. And even when now when you are down and out, no longer have a job, the state is still collecting from you in the form of G.C.T. It is like boxing the bread from the baby’s mouth.

As a third world country that is striving to be like the British and the Americans, have our government ever considered giving something back to it people in need who has help them to build the country, pay their salary etc.

In the British system, there is the Dole, in the America system there is the Social Security and even at the end of the year you can file for your tax returns. Yes, we have the Food Stamp Program for the babies and the aged. This has offered less than a thousand dollars per month for these persons. No wonder our rate of poverty is so high. Now with even more persons being made unemployed what about some assistance for the healthy and strong who has always been willing to work, but has lost their job to no fault of their own. Assistance may be offered if it is even for a six month period.

Each month or so you hear of employment schemes that are meant to employ thousands of persons in the corporate areas. Some have fallen through, while some have borne very small fruits. What about the rural parishes? Portland is one of the few if not the only parish that does not have a factory or a flourishing industry to employ persons by the hundreds or thousands. No huge banana, coconut or sugar industry, nor garment factories.

The tourist industry which has been the parish’s bread basket has had so many ailments that I might have died had it not bee for the handful of Europeans who still enjoy the outback areas, and even then their presence in the area is like the occasional sea shell upon our shores these days.

About the author

Miss PeBeep