Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that there are currently more people working in St. Vincent and the Grenadines than at any other time in the country’s history.
The Prime Minister delivered the statement during the “Issues at Hand” programme aired on WE FM last Sunday. He referred to data from the National Insurance Services (NIS) to support his claim.
He stated that when the Unity Labour Party government assumed office in 2001, there were approximately 30,000 active registrations at the NIS for employees and self-employed individuals. However, the current data indicates that there are now over 42,000 registered workers with the NIS, indicating an increase in the number of people engaged in the workforce.
According to Gonsalves, self-employed persons and employees amounted to just over 30,000 (under NDP). “By 2019, the year before Covid, was about 41,000. Now it’s about 42,000 plus. There is no carpenter, no mason, no electrician, no plumber, no tile man, no general construction worker who wants work in St. Vincent and the Grenadines today, can’t get it. In fact, laborers are leaving the farms and going to work construction; making it difficult for farmers to get workers,” said Gonsalves as he highlighted the state of economic activity in the country.
He said that over 300 Vincentians are working at the construction site of the $550 million dollars Sandals Resort at Buccument, with hundreds more expected upon the completion of the resort.
The 2023 Estimates revealed that 115 new jobs were created by the government with the bulk of these posts being allocated to the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF). The positions were spread across nine ministries and departments.
The announcement was made by Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 as he presented the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the 2023 fiscal year.
The opposition NDP has chided the government in the past, for the lack of employment opportunities for Vincentians, particularly young people.