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Ocean Edwards says she is hoping for a better life for herself and her son. (Photo: Facebook)
Ocean Edwards says she is hoping for a better life for herself and her son. (Photo: Facebook)

A North Leeward resident who said she dropped out of the Community College because her jobless mother could have no longer afforded to support her says that she is now in her seventh year unemployed.

“I am a graduate of the Troumaca Ontario Secondary School and am in my 7th year of being unemployed. Tonight I am here to lend my voice to the call for a new dispensation. I am here to tell you that now is the time for change in the governance of SVG,” Ocean Edwards told the opposition New Democratic Party’s “Youth Voices” virtual event last week Thursday.

Edwards said she dropped out of Community College because her mom could not afford the cost of tuition, transportation and meals “because she, too, has been unemployed for years on end. 

“I couldn’t get a monthly stipend from the National Lottery like some others because my parents are not supporters of the present regime and also I am not friends with who can recommend me for a Lotto stipend.”

Edwards said that when she looks around her constituency, North Leeward, “my friends and I share the same experience. The majority of us share the same story: ‘Nothing is happening for us in North Leeward’.”

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She said she had listened to the NDP’s “plans to put back SVG to work. I am convinced that what the NDP is offering are opportunities to take SVG out of its current state of economic dormancy and help us to achieve our full potential.”

Edwards said that as a young woman she feels “the pains of a government that professes to love us but in reality the love is to first hoodwink, then abuse us. They claim to love the poor but their intention is to keep us poor.”

She said that the Unity Labour Party administration has been in office for 20 years and the experience of constituents has been “one of neglect and regret”.

“I have heard that over 20 million dollars was spent in North Leeward over the last five years. Maybe that is true but show me who in North Leeward benefited.

“Our people are among the poorest and most poverty-stricken in the country. Absolutely nothing was done to create jobs in the area. I am sure that this is a similar situation in almost every constituency but it is most profound in those that are currently held by the NDP. The few opportunities that were created are only for persons who can show their red party card,” Edwards said.

She appealed to the nation’s youth “to look at yourselves and tell me what programmes are in place for you from this administration”.

Edwards acknowledged the Promoting Youth Micro Enterprises (PRYME) Programme under which the government is giving grants of up to EC$40,000 to persons to start or expand their business.

She, however, stated: “After 20 years in office, are young people now becoming important? Is it sensible or is it politics to be giving out grants for business development where people spending power has diminished because of the present pandemic?

“Who are going to be my customers if I set up a business? Where are my customers getting the money from to buy what I am offering for sale?” Edwards said.

She said that the NDP would do better for SVG.

“You listen to the political leaders in this country; [Opposition Leader] Dr [Godwin] Friday is out front of the pack in his quest help the young people of SVG. He is reaching out more than ever to offer us the opportunity to spread our wings,” Edwards said.  

“Education and training go with us to our graves and the NDP will be advancing the education in our country.”

She noted that the natural sciences — chemistry, physics and biology — are not taught in secondary schools in North Leeward.

“This is the reality after 20 plus years of touting ‘education revolution’,” she said, adding, “The revolution will come when the NDP gets in office and these science subjects are introduced in the schools in North Leeward and students such as my son… can write his CSEC subjects and become a pilot, doctor or engineer.”
Edwards further noted that the NDP has said that it will pay for the school leaving exams of each secondary school student.

“During the sign up period for subjects it is headaches for parents because most of them cannot get the money to pay for the subjects their children qualify to write. With this initiative by the NDP, parents will not be burdened anymore and every student who is qualified will write their exam for free.”

Edwards also lauded the Book Loan Scheme, introduced by the NDP administration, from which, she said, many young people have benefitted.

“The ULP government, over the years, refused to put the adequate monies into the scheme and as a result many students got only a few of the textbooks. I have listened to the NDP and I know this will change as the NDP will make sure the scheme is adequately funded and students and their parents will benefit from this programme and get all their books. “

She further spoke of the opposition leader’s promise to increase the stipend given to persons enrolled in the Youth Empowerment Service.

“The YES programme will be properly managed to give all young people an equal opportunity to get on the programme to get experience and not to be exploited.

It will not be a program that only offers training and experience to party supporters.”

Edwards said she was pleased to hear of the NDP’s thrust in agriculture and fisheries, adding that traditionally, SVG has done well in these sectors.

“They did so at a time when the money was small. Today fishing and agriculture, done the right way, is big business. Together they will create employment, improve economic growth, and provide a decent living to the stakeholders. I am elated about the new ministry of fisheries and marine conservation. I see a bright future for rural SVG.”

Edwards said too many of the nation’s youth are leaving schools and colleges without the hope of finding a job.

“I know going forward things will be better. Let us give the NDP a chance. We have given the ULP almost 20 years and it is not working. The youth unemployment rate is put at 45% and our economy grew less than half of a percentage point in 2019. This will not work; our people need work to do.

“After almost 20 years in office there are no training facilities in rural SVG that cater to the needs of young people. There are several resource centres and several community centres in almost every village but they are not serving the needs of the youth.”

She said she was happy to hear about the proposed cruise ship berth and cable car system from North Leeward, adding that such projects show that a party is thinking outside of the box.

“As a young person, I am no longer in the mood for old talk. I want action. I want to work to buy my own galvanize, lumber and cement; I don’t want to be bribed by anyone at election time. We need jobs so we can take care of ourselves,” she said and urged the nation to give the NDP a chance in office.

28 replies on “Young woman jobless for 7 years”

  1. Government can not employ everybody. So if you have a skill then start your small business . Make juice .Make bread or cook food and fry chicken and chips . Young people of SVG is to lazy . You don’t have a job . but you should of not get pregnant then that’s more pressure on tax payers of SVG. Please young woman start your own business and be your own boss. You went and speak on a politicall platform and yet you still jobless let them be the first to start the healing process in your life. Open your eyes young lady. Just remember government can’t give everyone a job.let the other PARTY help you put to use your skills.

    1. There certainly is some truth in what you say but more importantly you should be addressing the present government by asking them to:

      1)Drop the corporate tax down to at least 21%, and lower for other certain industries.

      2)Cut Customs Duties on machines and items that build enterprises by at least 50% (none of these duties should be higher than 10%). MAKE IT A PERMANENT LAW, NOT A CONCESSION PEOPLE HAVE TO BEG FOR!

      Craft a policy infrastructure that seeks to make prosperity inevitable and poverty impossible. This is done in part by letting the businesses and people keep most of the fruits of thier labor instead of having it all sucked away into the government. Investors should feel more comfortable or even compelled to invest. The government has to realize they will have to make some sacrifice and not just force sacrifice on the private sector. Making any products from SVG is mostly so expensive that no one abroad would ever buy them, because other countries elsewhere can make them at a far lower cost.
      Government greed for taxes and duties has caused prices to be so high that we can only trade with other local countries that have done the same ruin to thier economies: a forced “misery loves company” scenario. LIAT is just one example.
      It is also imperative that we eliminate heavy governmental bureaucracy such as all the TIME, EFFORT, AND MONEY it takes to get through Customs.
      There is more that needs to be done but if we are going to create employment for the TENS OF THOUSANDS of unemployed Vincentians and street vendors that Keynesian Demand-Side Economics has caused, we have to get moving.

  2. Diane weekes says:

    You all were always NDP that’s why you never get help and it’s not going to change, pulp have done more for education than in my time when we had Cato as our prime minister . Friday is not ready to lead our nation .You can’t do what our prime minister have done he was the first one that says he would stop all international flight coming to svg.what next he have in mine .

  3. Every year students graduate high school in SVG without any prospects of getting ahead because they can’t afford it. There are brilliant 17, 18, 20-year-olds who are suitable for a variety of jobs if there were any.

    The bunch of old men running the country doesn’t have a clue how a government is supposed to function, people are suffering from lack of resources, opportunity and proper leadership.
    50% unemployment for years under ULP and no change is unacceptable now, suddenly in an election year, they are promising you the sun and the moon.

    It is our duty to build the infrastructure to accommodate the progress and development of our young people. They are the future of this country. When we fail them we fail our selves.

  4. peter geswali says:

    You are not not a supporter of the ruling party, why should you be assisted. Why can’t the guy you voted for helped you, I am sure, he can assist you, if he had any class. remain jobless, no sympathy. Anyway North Leeward is packed with ignorant people, still Richmond Vale Estate and PPP mentality, eg Petit Bordel, Fitz Hughes, Sharpes etc. Any place where there was an Estate presence in SV, the people are not too bright. Their desire isto go work on the Estate, so they they truss two pounds of flour, regularly.

    1. Peter SVG is for all ah we regardless who they vote for .There is no red portion nor yellow portion its SVG .

    2. Hashtag Prince says:

      Wow, very insulting…..I guess you have moved to greener pastures –
      (NOT LIVING IN SVG) if you are a Vincentian.
      I can describe your “pride” as VERY ARROGANT AND INDECENT.

  5. When a country goes from great riches to complete rags, there will always be no jobs for those entering the workplace, just as we see there today in both Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

    Equally, there is always too a common factor involved in the economic model that is pursued by those in government who call themselves “socialist” and who set about borrowing and borrowing, with very little prospect of ever paying back what they borrow. A most self-evident fact that we can see here in SVG, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.All going down the road to ruin under their governments. Note;

    Our Vincentian Government has been for years trying to beg its way out of the mammoth hole that it has dug for itself through its unworkable policies, but without any success whatsoever, so it’s little wonder that there are no jobs to go around and equally non-existent jobs creators here in poor SVG.

    Even so, the worst is yet to come, unless we change our economic model!

  6. Monica Rosa says:

    After reading this young lady message I find that what she is saying is right. You cannot help one part of the country and not the other. All is equal to get the help and support even though they like the other party. I heard the leward youths are having a hard time. Why is that. If they :vote for one party that did not win should not be an offense to the other, the present ruling government should keep all district and constituency happy and work related instead of hatred and children hungry like when most people was growing up in the 70s. This is a different era and time. Please help the people and their children.

    1. That statement is very ignorant! The woman has a reproductive right.

      ULP has been the leading party since 2001. We have had the same prime minister for almost 20years. Even the USA has term limits on their leaders.

      The youth of SVG on a whole, need more opportunities for learning, employment and/or self development. It’s sad when these opportunities are based on nepotism.

      I think it is time for a change. A change in the leader of the leading party or a change of party.

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Change for the sake of change, especially to a political party that did little or nothing in over 16 years to reduce our unemployment rate is even more ignorant than condemning those who would argue the our poor, unemployed, and unmarried women should not be criticized for breeding left, right, and centre.

        We badly need branches of Planned Parenthood in every town, village, and hamlet all across the land to encourage abstinence, birth control for those who don’t have the self control to engage in abstinence, and free abortions for those who are too ignorant to know that it is wicked and sinful to produce a child destined to live in poverty and hopelessness.

    2. C. Ben-David says:

      If all the poor girls in our country waited until they got married to begin a family or practiced birth control for their entire fecundity years if they never married, then there would be a huge reduction in our poverty and crime rates in a single generation.

  7. Derren Delicia what an ignorant person u are .most of our grand parents here were farmers, they had no subjects some were without jobs but they have loads of children .

  8. Which ever political party in power u goin alway have there ppl to look out for(system set up) but when u tellin me u have retired ppl taking other well qualified ppl jobs
    The problem of unemployment will keep goin up..
    U might build more educational center but who is trained to teach?

  9. Y all u so quick the judge the young lady alyo is some Damn Hypocrite alyo in d woman Shoes whi feels it knws it

  10. What Delicia is saying is that poverty breeds crime and delinquency cripples our economic development. Those who can least afford to take keep care of their kinds are the ones who make the most children and is the primary cause of our high crime rate. Some of us like to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that there is no problem associated with delinquency.

  11. Susan Conliffe says:

    It doesn’t matter what political parties you are supporting the Government has to serve the People and bring togetherness, unity. I am reading some of these comments and it’s ridiculous. None of us is perfect everyone one has a past encourage the young lady and help build up esteem. Her first step was talking about her personal issues (that right there is growth), thank her for opening up and speak her truth can inspire our younger generation especially our young ladies. Thanks for taking the step in the Political arena you just inspired many more young people like you. The sky is limit having a child/children does not define who we are as young mother /woman we all make mistakes but is what we do after defines us.Women needs to stop pulling each other down Uplift, Strengthen and Empower each other so we can build a better future.

  12. We are all quick, to put down, judge, condemmed, belittle and negative, did we all take time to listen and to hear what this young, has said and what she didn, t say

  13. Folks the environment has to be right to start a business in SVG. Are you forgetting what the government did to Bigger-Biggs or whatever he is called? It can help you, shut you down or pass your idea to a supporter who will run with it with a little help from the government.
    Folks have to register any business and that’s where the government can play a roll. If there is no help from the government then the business can be a failure. Don’t forget this!

  14. Fidus Achates says:

    Only people who have their full is critical of this young lady. It is never easy to get a job in SVG without being a red rat I repeat guy have to be a red rat to get all of the benefits of this current administration and be g a red rat isn’t still enough you have to have a party card and so much to bed things in this country only those who feels it knows it. None of these commentors knows a thing this young lady has gone through because they baskets done full.All of these things must change eventually.

  15. There are thousands out of work. The ULP has had twenty years to correct that. They have failed to attract industry, the few who were in Camden Park left because of over-taxation and expensive electricity.

    If all out or of work Vincentian’s started to cook food to sell they would find not enough buyers to go around. The more self employed vendors the smaller the sales because the customer base stays the same, no increase in numbers.

    The only hope was industry. Peter Binose had a European farm machinery company ready to set up in SVG prior to the last election. They wanted to assemble parts made in Europe into farm machinery to be able to give it a made in SVG tag and not pay all the duties in the CARICOM area. They wanted to build a plant in Georgetown.

    When Gonsalves was re-elected they decided not to come because of our affiliation with Venezuela, and his support of that regime.

    Several months ago I found a specialist farm product company from the US who will set up in SVG if Gonsalves falls at the next election. Again siting Venezuela as a reason not to invest in SVG under the Gonsalves rule, they lost money in Venezuela. But I fear now that the Corona virus thing is with us they have gone cold. I am pursuing the situation and if things improve and they make a positive decision, I will let you all know. I am friends with the international development director, so I do talk with him as often as possible. A massive project which would help farmers all over SVG to regain their wealth and status again.

  16. Fidus Achates says:

    None of these understand what our young people are going through all of them bread already butter and they could careless. I feel for the young lady because she knows what she’s going through. How dare you guys to judge her at least she have a moral compass and haven’t sold her self she’s still making a good example so just give her a break and let her be.Who are any of you to judge her in spite of?? . #nuffsaid

  17. I really is time to switch from Marxism back to modern no tax capitalism. Its the taxes which are killing SVG.

    According to KPMG, The Cayman Islands levy no taxes on income, dividends, royalties, profits, capital gains, wealth, property, or transfers, including transfers on death, on either resident or non-resident individuals. There are no foreign exchange restrictions or levies. There are no sales or value-added taxes [no VAT].

    Every non-exempt person or company carrying on a business in the Cayman Islands must have a business license for each place of business. Also, employers must pay an annual license fee for each non-Caymanian working in the Cayman Islands. The annual fee varies depending on the occupation and industry of employment.

    The average wage is in excess of US$1000 a week, double that for top management.

    The people of SVG deserve better, please read the following

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