• 31 MAY 2016

Post Cabinet Briefing Summary – Thursday 31st March, 2016

The Minister of Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie, hosted the Post Cabinet Press Briefing today (Thursday 31st March, 2016) at the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Clair, Port of Spain.

At the briefing, the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, the Honourable Darryl Smith, announced that Cabinet has agreed to the composition of the new Boxing Board of Trinidad and Tobago. The board will be chaired by Mr. Barry Ishmael, Attorney -at-Law and expert in combat fighting. Members of the board include Mr. Terry Young, Mr. Simon De Nobreiga, Ms. Cleopatra Borel and Dr. Rochelle Mohammed.

The Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development, Senator Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, also announced that Cabinet has approved the coordinated implementation of activities to empower unemployed persons in Trinidad and Tobago. The ministry recognises that the issue of unemployment is multidimensional in nature and has obvious financial implications as well as social, physical, mental and psychological effects.

Senator Baptiste-Primus revealed that a Ten (10) Point Plan focusing on unemployed individuals in society has also received Cabinet approval. The objective of the plan is to provide immediate, short and medium term assistance to unemployed persons and families where necessary in order to mitigate against the negative effects of unemployment.

The realisation and implementation of this initiative requires not only government support but collaboration with various stakeholders. The Ministry of Labour recognises this and its National Employment Services Division will the take lead role in this regard.

Thus far, the Ministry of Labour has collaborated with several government and private sector organisations on this venture including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Family Development and Social Services, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, the National Insurance Board (NIB), the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Limited (TTMF), the Banker’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago , the Credit Union League of Trinidad and Tobago, the United Nations Development Program, the International Labour Organisation Decent Work Team – Office of the Caribbean, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Energy Skill Centre, the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Elder Associates.

Some elements of the Ten Point Plan revolve around the development of a National Register of unemployed individuals and retrenched workers. A marketing campaign to solicit new job opportunities and to facilitate job-matching will also be developed.

The plan also focuses on the operationalising of training unemployed individuals, particularly those who have experience but are uncertified in their respective fields. The need for psychological and financial counselling for unemployed persons and their families is also an aspect of the plan. A hotline which will connect callers to a ‘webtrix’ of services will also be developed.

The formation of small business and cooperatives through NEDCO and the Cooperative Division of the Ministry of Labour has also been explored. Discussions with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services with respect to the provision of seed capital to start up small businesses have been held.

The financial sector has also been engaged in discussions regarding the adoption of a humane approach regarding loans and mortgages of such unemployed persons. The possibility of exploring job opportunities external to Trinidad and Tobago, particularly in CARICOM countries, is also on the table.

The Ministry of Labour will host a Job Expo next Tuesday (5th April, 2016) at the National Energy Skills Centre, Rivulet Road, Pt Lisas, Couva.