The objective of most Governments throughout the world is the development and improvement of the economy while the objective of businesses in the private sector is to maximize the profit. While these are good objectives, the Government and the Private Sector must incorporate the development of the citizens as part of their objectives.
The citizens should always be priority. It is meaningless to develop a country and maximize profits when the citizens are being marginalized and excluded from the process. I do not know what is happening in other countries but I know this is a big issue in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Because I am aware of this issue, when I started my accounting firm in 2013, one of my objectives was to recruit locals only and train them and once they are fully trained, they can join the private sector and public sector fully equipped. It would have been more feasible for me to hire experienced accountants which more than likely would require me to get a work permit as we do not have a lot of local professional accountants. However, that was not my objective.
The Citizens should always be priority
The Turks and Caicos Islands have a small population and of course the citizens cannot be on more than one job at the same time and therefore we will have to recruit individuals externally. There is nothing wrong with that but we need to make sure that the few citizens that we have are given priority. I believe if we take this approach, there will be harmony and peace in the country. Citizens are upset and frustrated because they are overlooked and some of the ‘experienced” people that are hired do not have the relevant experience.
There must be a training program in place in both the private and public sector whereby citizens are able to get the necessary training so within a few years they can occupy the key positions.
I know there are some citizens who are lazy and not performing well on the job but it does not mean they represent all citizens. There are also some non-citizens who are also lazy and non-performers but we yet some of us prefer to recruit non-citizens. There are some citizens who are hard workers and are very capable of doing the job but all they want is an opportunity.
The truth is the primary reason that businesses are here in the country is because they are making money and therefore one way, they can pay back the country is to ensure that they hire and put citizens in the right position. The Government must also lead by example in this.
I know the labour market is limited as you want to hire the best. That is why it is important that the Government provides the necessary training such as a technical school and a hotel school so that the citizens are well equipped to assume any role in the country. If this is not done, employers will continue to recruit from the outside or even use people remotely. With the advancement in technology, individuals do not have to be physically on the ground to get the work done, they can get the work done remotely. I believe this should not be encouraged especially if there are citizens who care capable of getting the job done.
I challenge employers to consider the citizens of the country. There are experience local individuals who have applied for jobs that are being advertised and they are simply being ignored. Some of the posts are asking for individuals to be fluent in Spanish and French and they know some of these positions do not require that but it being used to discourage locals from applying.
I cannot end this article without commending some of the employers who are going to Bahamas to recruit individuals with Turks and Caicos Islanders status. I know some people are against that but there are Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad who can assume many positions in the Turks and Caicos and we should encourage them to return home. After all, they are citizens too.