Letters & Opinion

We prefer to toe the line than think outside the box. How sad…

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

I lay home listening to the budget speech and was taken aback by some of the figures I heard spouted out from our parliamentarians, indicating we’ve reached the stage where we need billions of dollars to keep our economy alive.

I was also amazed at what has to be paid back, how much has been spent on unfinished projects, recurring expenditure and futuristic projects. And I said ‘Wow’ as some of the sums I heard astonished me, such as ten million dollars for the youth economy, three million for carnival and more millions on refurbishing the Police force, building new stations and a Hall of Justice and also doing repairs on existing ones.

I also heard how much was spent on legal fees due to persons suing the government for wrongful dismissals and other matters, as well as the projected cost of finishing the hospital in the South and the airport — and I was simply overwhelmed.

I wondered, at this point, with the amount of millions already spent and squandered, if the government, with its finance experts and many advisors, as well as the varying consultants, was not putting the cart before the horse.

I wondered where the motivation will come from to guide the youth towards their proposed prosperity and asked myself where are the teaching fields, what systems are in place, where is the allocated space to function, what programmes are in place and where in the present school curriculum does it cater for that transformation.

I thought that if two million dollars were given to at least twenty choice schools to build and construct, as well as to provide professional tutorship, at least for the first two years, to create a skills-based, non-academic after-school program for this nations growth, incorporating diverse skills from electronic repairs and small appliances, to start to teach agriculture from planting to culinary training, sports of all kinds inclusive of judo, martial arts, gymnastics, boxing, etc. will surely help build better lives.

I thought of work on having art classes, learn media skills and broadcasting, even IT item-repairs, apps development and programming marketing and sales…

My point is: you need to prepare this generation for tomorrow’s development, as one has to plant a seed to get produce. But the children do nothing after school and it is this ‘nothing to do’ that suffocates growth.

I propose that government spend money on teaching and shaping minds for today and tomorrow and not assume that this generation will automatically become young businessmen and woman.

After all, how do you embrace self-employment with no training? We have to give the young people the needed start. They need to be motivated and mentored and we have to pay attention to their real needs.

Remember: we are competing against the rest of the world and being second-best is not good enough. The time the young people do have, but considering so much of it is wasted, what is absent is the means to an end.

The vision has to be to prepare for tomorrow and the more diverse and skillful our youth become, in addition to the provided academic base, the better our chances at national survival.

We often hear the term that we must ‘think outside the box’, but it seems many would rather ‘toe the line’ than open new opportunities or venture into new paths unknown.

In which case, to borrow the creole term, “Nou pwee en sa!”

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