Many countries have challenges recruiting the right talent among the citizens that reside in the countries and as a result they have to import labourers. The Turks and Caicos Islands is no different and we are so unique in that Turks and Caicos Islanders are outnumbered in their country. It is believed that Turks and Caicos Islanders account for about 35% of the population. Furthermore, Turks and Caicos Islanders comprise of 37% of the labour force in the country. This percentage is based on Table 3 of the National Skills Audit which indicated that there were 23,027 persons in the labour force and only 8,589 were Turks and Caicos Islanders.
The National Skills Audit report is dated May 2017 and this is now 2022 so we can assume that the percentage of Turks and Caicos Islanders comprising the labour force is significantly less than 37% given that thousands of Turks and Caicos Islanders have migrated to the UK and USA respectively.
Turks and Caicos Islanders cannot be on every job in the country as we do not have the numbers so there is nothing wrong if the Private Sector and Public Sector recruit talent from among the Diaspora. In fact, this should be encouraged.
I have already written several articles on encouraging us to tap in the Diaspora but the latest appointment of Mr. Godfrey Smith as the interim CEO of Turks and Caicos Airport Authority and the reaction from some of the citizens has prompted me to write another article.
Our pool of talent is limited in the country
In the introduction of this article, I have given you a synopsis of the composition of our labor force. We have to admit that there are not enough citizens to occupy the positions in the country. Therefore, we have to recruit from overseas. With that said, wouldn’t it be better to recruit from among the Diaspora? There are more Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad than those living at home. We are already outnumbered in the country and we can close this gap if we recruit from among the Diaspora. Honestly though, what do we want? We complained about the expatriates and we complained about our diaspora. Let us face the reality, there is not enough of us in the country.
There are a lot of experience and skills among the Diaspora
There are so much skills and experience among TCI Diaspora. Why should we not recruit them? They can bring so much value to our country and they can help train others who do not have the experience.
I believe in ensuring that Turks and Caicos Islanders are in key positions but we should not put people in positons because they are Turks and Caicos Islanders. What if they are not qualified? Find someone that is qualified and let the nonqualified person understudy the qualified person.
From the outside, it may appear that some of us are qualified because we were acting in the role or we were in the organization for a long time. Based on my experience, I can say all that glitters is not gold and we should not believe all the rumours people say about individuals especially those who are in key roles. We should not set up Turks and Caicos Islanders to fail and this can easily happen when we put unqualified people in roles they do not qualified for. However, there are many Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Let us attract them to return to TCI.
I know many will argue that there some experienced Turks and Caicos Islanders living within the Turks and Caicos and are not given an opportunity for some key positions. Know your rights. Apply for the job that you think you qualified for and if you were rejected, make a case to the Labour Department and don’t stop until you get what you deserve.
Many of our parents and grandparents migrated to the Bahamas for a better living and they made the Bahamas their home. However, their children and grandchildren have rights to secure Turks and Caicos Islanders Status. If they want to come to the birth place of their parents and grandparents, there is nothing wrong with that. They have the same rights as us. So what if their parents never returned to the TCI. Our cultures are the same and we should embrace our brothers and sisters from among the Diaspora. As I always say in any article I write about the Diaspora and the expatriates, assimilate within the Turks and Caicos Islands and don’t act like you are better than us. With that said, I take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Smith to the Turks and Caicos, the birth place of his ancestors.