Fishermen urged to consider alternative means of income in business, other skills
Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday urged fishermen to consider alternative means of income within other sectors to boost their livelihoods when they are not plying their trade at sea.
The Vice President made the suggestion while speaking at the distribution of the fishermen’s one-off $150,000 cash grant at Lusignan.
“We have to change; our country will change too and if we stick with one thing then the people who are going to make the most progress are those who are willing to change.
“You can start small businesses, you have to explore that sort of gap with us… but if you don’t take this step and you complain and sit down at the seaside or the corner shop and only complain, things will pass by you, development will pass by,” the Vice President said.
He acknowledged that fishermen go out to sea periodically and not every trip is successful.
To avoid returning without money and having to ponder their responsibility at home, Jagdeo suggested “It helps if you can have another profession… You have to have something else to fall back on to. You can continue with the fishing, I’m not saying stop any fishing but you have other things you can fall back on. It is not very hard to go in and get trained on these things.”
He noted that there are many existing vacancies in several sectors including the oil and gas, hospitality, private sector and housing.
“It will take you six months to a year to train and get a proper certificate [to be a welder] but with the oil and gas industry if you’re a certified welder you can earn maybe US$2,500 a month so a lot of people have to start looking and training. We have a shortage of carpenters now. Carpenters can earn maybe $10,000 a day. We have shortage of electricians, plumbers because there is a building boom,” he further said.
On a added note, the Vice President reminded that the government has several training courses, some of which are free of cost. He highlighted that some programmes cater to persons who might not have pursued education higher than the secondary level.
The distribution of $150,000 cash grants to assist fishermen who are affected by low catches is ongoing. Thus far, fisherfolk in Region Four and Region Six have received with Region Three expected to start receiving on September 21.