Poor job market a boon for ‘con’ artistes Editorial
Kaieteur News
July 4, 2004

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Times are hard. Many young people desperately want jobs but these just seem not to be available. Each year hundreds of young people leave school and try to enter the labour market.

Schools have closed and once more hundreds of young people are going to be hunting jobs. Some delay the inevitable by continuing on to the University of Guyana. But on graduating, they have to face the grim reality. They simply would not be able to secure a job befitting their qualifications.

Private enterprise owners are besieged each day with scores of applications. Sometimes, they employ a few to replace those who have left the job to seek their fortunes overseas, but the vast majority would have to walk the streets.

One letter writer in yesterday’s issue of the Kaieteur News stated that a soon-to-be released survey would show that more jobs were lost under this present administration over the past 10 years than any other country in the Caribbean.

This does not augur well for the country and its young people but it surely creates opportunity for confidence tricksters to make a killing. One confidence trickster has, with amazing regularity, been able to fleece a host of young people. His latest scam involved collecting US$700 from each individual who fell prey to his advertisements about training as flight attendants. Before that, he promoted himself as someone with the capability to secure jobs in the Caribbean for local reporters. Again he was able to fleece even more people. It is not that those who fall prey to the confidence trickster are stupid people. Rather, it is a case of desperate people who want to work but who just cannot find the job or who simply cannot influence people to employ them.

We are all aware of people who, despite their qualifications, accepted menial jobs because they did not want to do anything illegal and they wanted to put food on their table.

This is indeed a sad state of affairs. We know that unemployment is not peculiar to Guyana but there is not another Caribbean country with so little job opportunity. Some would say that the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Prison service have what must be perennial vacancies. There are also vacancies in the school system and in the nursing profession. However, people simply do not seem to want to take these jobs. The poor pay might be a limiting factor.

We have heard many people say that they could not take certain jobs because by the time they finish paying the cost of transportation they would end up working for nothing. The unemployed are not keen to join the Disciplined Service because they feel that such occupations do not offer a challenge to their mental capacity. And in any case, the poor quality of policemen has indeed left a mark on the image of the force.

The irony is that while countries seem to be improving as time passes, we have ground to a halt. We have not been able to initiate new projects. And indeed, many of us are not qualified to undertake some of the jobs that the few investment opportunities offer.

Right now we are talking about the Berbice River Bridge. Certainly some people are going to be employed but only if they are technically inclined. But the vast majority of young people who are seeking jobs are better suited for those jobs that would be considered the Humanities. They do not stand the ghost of a chance at gaining employment except as secretaries and clerks. And even here, only a few would be employed. We know that it would be unfair to blame the government for not being able to create employment for all those on the job market but we can certainly blame the government for not creating opportunities for people to expand business and so create job conditions for our young people.

And while the government fails, the confidence tricksters are going to make a killing. People are going to fork out hard-earned money that could have been used to provide other needed services in the home, to respond to the confidence trickster who comes with offers of employment.

And from appearances, the society is in no position to protect these people from the scammers largely because those fleeced are so ashamed that they would decline to testify before the courts.