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back hassle-free travel TVET council, Labour Bring – Caricom transport ministers urge Ministry launch I labour market survey T he Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) and the Statistical Unit of the Labour, Human Services and Social Security Ministry have together embarked upon a crucial skills needs survey of the productive sectors of the economy, focussing on manufacturing, hospitality, construction and engineering, and commerce. This partnership venture will benefit from technical and financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the TVET council said in a release. The key objective of the survey is to obtain critical information on the actual level of skill shortages and skill availability in Guyana’s labour market, and on the quality and quantity of specific skills. Approximately 400 small to large-scale enterprises have been identified as representative samples in the public and private sectors. According to CTVET Chairman Clinton Williams, the results of this survey will be inculcated into the revised structure for TVET in Guyana. While delivering the opening remarks at a recent CTVET workshop on strategy and action planning, Williams said that it was recognised internationally that the rate of any country’s economic development is inextricably linked to its productivity, international competitiveness, and its capacity to build and sustain a competent workforce. He added that the CTVET is also in the process of introducing several innovative mechanisms to enhance vocational training countrywide. Among these initiatives he cited were the implementation of competency-based training programmes in formal and non-formal

CTVET Chairman Clinton Williams

training institutions nationwide.

Quality assurance guidelines

Simultaneously, a set of quality assurance guidelines is being implemented which will eventually qualify Guyana to award Caribbean vocational qualifications. The chairman noted that the main productive industries contributing to national growth over the past four years are gold and diamond mining, wholesale and retail commerce, building and construction, and information technology, all of which have been averaging 20 per cent growth rates. Despite these statistics, he said, the sectors have reported significant skill shortages, increasing skill poaching and migration, which have combined to retard production levels. He added that the traditional production sectors – sugar, rice, seafood, and forestry – have also been experiencing significant skill shortages that have translated into competitive disadvantages in the export market. The anticipated emergence of the new enterprises which are expected to spin off from the discovery of oil and gas, hydropower production, manganese mining and ecotourism, could ex-

acerbate this dilemma that Williams has described as a “dire national skill deficiency syndrome”. He applauded the CTVET for launching this critical survey and announced that arrangements are being finalised for a comprehensive IDB-funded Labour Market Intelligence Survey that will combine resources from the Labour, Human Services and Social Security Ministry, the private sector and the labour unions. The current demand/ supply survey encompasses eight of the 10 administrative regions. Emphasis has been placed on the level of demand for skilled artisans, the level/availability of trained and experienced skilled personnel. The enumerators have been equipped with a tightly focused survey instrument (questionnaire) to gather the required data. The pilot survey commenced on May 15, and will expand into the full-scale survey, which is scheduled to be completed on August 31. The council intends to make this a continuous exercise, given the volatility of the local labour market. The information derived from the surveys will become invaluable to the planning and creation of new, suitable TVET and other vocational training programmes.

n recognition of the benefits derived from the Single Domestic Space (SDS) during the International Cricket Conference Cricket World Cup in 2007, Caricom transport ministers are recommending its reintroduction. The ministers made the recommendation at their justconcluded one-day Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Transportation held in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, the Caricom Secretariat said in a release. Recommendations from the meeting will be presented to heads of government at their upcoming 34th Regular Meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobago from July 4 to 6 at which transportation will receive special attention. The ministers lamented that Caricom nationals encountered unnecessary problems as they travelled across the region and this was not only limited to scant regard paid to the Caricom Passport which entitles holders to an automatic six-month stay in member states. The meeting recognised that there were challenges with respect to frequent security checks and cooperation between the regional airlines, among other things, which negatively affected the travelling public and had repercussions for business and tourism as well. The ministers also agreed that much work had to be done to improve the service provided by order control officers in the region. The meeting agreed that the Conference of Heads of Government should be asked to revisit its decision to discontinue the inexpensive armband system

which facilitated hassle-free regional travel during the world cup. The success of that 2007 initiative was alluded to during the discussion, in particular its popularity with the citizens of the community. A SDS involving 10 Caricom member states was established for Cricket World Cup 2007. Among the features of the SDS were freedom of movement for all domestic travellers and a special visa stamped at the first port of entry for travellers from outside the region to allow hassle-free movement among the participating SDS states. Measures to support the initiative included an Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS).

Deeper collaboration

Discussions also centred on a fuel subsidy granted by Trinidad and Tobago to Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) which has occasioned complaints of it being anti-competitive, in violation of the Caricom Multilateral Air Services Agreement and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Consultations in an effort to resolve the matter amicably will be conducted between the shareholder governments of LIAT and the government of Trinidad and Tobago prior to and during the Conference of Heads of Government, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago in July. With respect to air transport, the ministers underscored the need for deeper collaboration among the regional airlines so that their operations could be better streamlined. Key among the recommendations were for shareholders in the government-owned carriers in

Caricom, beginning with CAL, LIAT and Surinam Airways, to meet in the near future, to discuss how they may rationalise their operations, routes, flight schedules, and luggage transfers among other things in the best interests of the consumer.

Essential service

The ministers agreed to put forward to heads of government that they support the upcoming LIAT application to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for funds to meet the costs of its proposed re-fleeting exercise, which is required to sustain its operation and improve its service. They also recommended that air transport services be included among the group of essential services and the necessary legislation be enacted to give effect to this reality. The meeting established a team, chaired by St Vincent and the Grenadines, to review elements of a draft policy or air and maritime transport, and asked member states to submit their comments by the end of June. Ministers also held discussions on transportation for agriculture produce and identified the need for coordination between farmers/producers and shippers in order to curb high costs. The issue had been referred to transportation ministers by ministers of agriculture and is to be examined by a team from the Caribbean Shipping Association, airlines and agriculture producers/exporters. The ministers also agreed that they would keep under review ongoing initiatives such as the proposal for a fast ferry service in the Southern Caribbean.

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The Beacon Of Truth - Breaking News, Top News, Sports, Entertainment, Latest, Editorials, Business, Letters, De Bell Crier, Satiricus, Eyewi...