first_imgWith the downsizing of the sugar industry leaving over 7000 workers without jobs, Guyana’s employment rate could see a dramatic increase. This is according to outspoken political commentator and economist Ramon Gaskin who on Wednesday said Government has no comprehensive policy for job creation. His comments are being made as the Guyana National Bureau of Statics (GNBS) gears up to release its unemployment numbers for 2018, which will serve as a marker to the economic status of the country. The quarterly Labour Force SurveyOutspoken political commentator, Ramon Gaskinfor July to September 2017 had revealed that the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 12 per cent, with the situation for women being substantially worse than that for men.At that time, thousands of now dismissed East Demerara, Rose Hall and Skeldon sugar workers were employed up to December 31, 2017 and taking into consideration of their contention relating to inconsistent employment, Gaskin’s estimation of an increased unemployment is likely to reflect the reality.However, as the official numbers are being finalised, Gaskin from his assessment of the economy, intimated that youth unemployment is also significant with reference to the magnitude of persons present at the recent job fair at the soon to be opened MovieTowne Guyana establishment earlier this week.“The unemployment rate is quite high, there are no jobs in this place; people are coming out of school and are looking for work; nobody opening any jobs, besides MovieTowne; there are no other jobs available…the Police, Army, public service are employing people but in the Private Sector there are no jobs,” Gaskin suggested.No concrete policyIn this light, he was questioned on the need for a shift in Government policy should the employment drop. Gaskin thereafter indicated his dissatisfaction with the presentation of Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s 2019 Budget wherein he contended that there was no concrete policy for job creation.“The Government has no policy for job creation; the Finance Minister Budget had no provision for job creation – he talked about entrepreneurship, training people in the interior and small business enterprise programme but there are no jobs available for employees. He cannot tell you where jobs are being created,” Gaskin pondered. Moreover, he indicated that the public service payroll has increased, saying that large contingents of persons are seeking employment with the State.” It’s packed up with people; all of them going there to see if they could get lil work.”Gaskin also related that Chinese-contracted building projects such as the one near the Chinese embassy have a majority of foreign workers in addition to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion Project. He called for more locals to garner employment on such projects. After seven years, the CJIA expansion remains incomplete due to several delays.The 2017 survey was done from a total population of 550,831 – persons 15 years and above, with some 72.2 per cent living in urban areas. From this figure, only 271,068 comprised the total employed population during the time of the quarterly survey, with males having accounted for 166,873 and females 104,195. The survey’s findings had revealed unemployment among women was 15.3 per cent and among men 9.9 per cent. The youth unemployment rate among 15 to 24-year-olds was almost twice that of adults, with 21.6 per cent. Young women had seen 28 per cent of them being unemployed.The employment rate for persons 15 and above was 49.2 per cent, with 62.1 per cent being males and 36.9 per cent being females. It had been also noted that the percentage of employed people in time-related underemployment was 4.2 per cent, with 72.2 per cent of the underemployed being based in urban areas.The survey also found that 28.4 per cent of the labour force is underutilised, while between 48.3 per cent and 52.6 per cent of the persons employed hold informal jobs.Prior to the 2017 estate closures, the Wales Sugar Estate was shuttered in December 2016 and many workers in that community say they have faced a decline in finance. Given the decrease of jobs in rural areas over the two-year period, it remains to be seen what the numbers in the 2018 survey will reflect.last_img read more


first_img…after President dubs him not “fit or proper” for GECOM ChairBy Jarryl BryanJust days after the controversial appointment of a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman by the President, one of the main nominees for the post, Major General (retired) Joe Singh, has resigned as a Presidential Adviser.Resigned: Major General (Ret’d) Joe SinghSingh, a former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), had at the time been serving as a Special Adviser to President David Granger. But on Tuesday, the retired Major General officially tendered his resignation to the Ministry of the Presidency.In a brief interview with Guyana Times, Singh declined to detail the exact reasons behind his resignation, but noted that he did not wish to continue in the position. Singh stated that he wanted enough time to efficiently hand over his portfolio.“I submitted my request to the Ministry of the Presidency. I told them that I do not wish to continue my contract beyond the one-month mandatory notice that I have to give,” he related, when contacted.“So I’ve given that notice, that one-month notice, during which time I will ensure my portfolio responsibilities are properly handed over,” Singh, also a former Chairman of GECOM and the Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC), said.Since the resignation of Dr Steve Surujbally last year, there has been an intense search for the next GECOM Chairman. As per the Constitution, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had submitted three lists of six nominees each to the President.The first list, submitted in December of last year, had contained the following nominees: governance and conflict resolution specialist Lawrence Lachmansingh; Attorney-at-Law and outspoken anti-corruption advocate, Christopher Ram; Retired Major General Norman Mc Lean; business executive Ramesh Dookhoo; businesswoman Rhyaan Shah and History Professor James Rose.The second list, submitted in May of 2017, read as follows: Retired Justice of Appeal, BS Roy; Retired Justice William Ramlall; former Magistrate Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar; and Captain Gerry Gouveia.Major General Singh, who has held several positions over the years, including Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was included on the third list of nominees submitted on August 25. The other nominees were Attorneys Teni Housty and Sanjeev Datadin, vocal conservationist Annette Arjune-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.But that list was ultimately rejected by President Granger and on Thursday, October 19, retired Justice James Patterson was sworn in as GECOM Chairman. Patterson was not nominated on any of the three lists and since his unilateral appointment, there has been a crescendo of criticism.A number of individuals and organisations spanning a wide cross-section of society have soundly criticised and condemned the President’s unilateral decision, including the Guyana Bar Association; the Berbice Bar Association; the Private Sector Commission (PSC); the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).Criticism has also come from the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and members of the Diaspora. In addition, the political Opposition filed a legal challenge in the courts on Monday, seeking to revoke Patterson’s appointment.Major General Singh’s experience includes serving as Director General of the Guyana National Service from 1981 to 1990, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force from 1990 to 2000, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission for the 2001 Elections, Executive Director of Conservation International from 2001 to 2005, GTT CEO from 2005 to 2010, and GGMC Chairman from 2010 to 2012.Singh also served as Chairman of the Government of Guyana and the Private Sector Commission’s National Working Group for the Millennium Development Goals from 2005 to 2010, and Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee for the European Union-funded Guiana Shield Initiative from 2005 to 2009.He is also a Fellow of the UK Chartered Management Institute; a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; and an Officer of the Order of the Golden Ark. His commendations include the Military Service Star and national and military awards from Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Cuba and the Netherlands.Further, as an author, he has contributed articles on a wide range of topics for local, regional and international publications. Singh’s contract with the Ministry of the Presidency will end in December of 2017.last_img read more