Throughout the Caribbean intellectuals, families and governments are faced with an unprecedented and enormously complex dilemma. Graduates of tertiary and vocation institutions are leaving there countries at draw dropping rates.
In Jamaica 85% of tertiary graduates migrate while in Guyana its 89%. These figures are not as high for Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, Dominica and others but they are high enough to send off alerts everywhere
So exactly what is happening here? Why are the brightest of the Caribbean leaving for places like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom where they are strangers with and accent and may be judged for having a “third world” education, as silly how that may sound. Furthermore they leave behind children in the pursuits of financial mobility.
Read about these children in Barrel children and the Caribbean diaspora.
Well historically Caribbean nationals have always been migration, going everywhere. But the problem has become that people upon gaining higher education just opt and leave without even sending out one resume in the homeland. It’s as if the main purpose of an education is to gain a visa and leave.
In doing some research into the issue a lot of migrants complained about not being able to find jobs that suit there technical expertise, economic reasons and nepotism in the work place. All these sound like logical reasons but the fact remains that these are not issues unique to the Caribbean.
Well speaking from a Jamaican perspective I’ve seen both sides of the fence in Jamaica, the United States and the United Kingdom. From what I’ve seen none of these places are what they are cracked up to be. In Jamaica there exist this pervasive belief that once you migrate money will be flung at you just by walking on the street. For anyone living honestly in the US you know that this is just garbage.
The US media which most Caribbean children are addicted to illustrate the “farin” lifestyle as strictly luxurious and stress free, they are bombarded with images of wealth and are intoxicated by the lure of advertisement. Naturally they start to compare and from and early age decide you know what the United States of America is where I belong.
I have an 8 year old niece who cried one time when I told that New York was a filthy place. “Your lying, your lying, you are a liar…..I hate you” 😯
Here is a young lady that has never left Kingston who is willing to die in the name of a country she knows nothing about. Am I surprised, no!
Just read this Business Insider article and you will know why I am not surprised by her reaction.
With so much being spent on ads yearly and such an immense public relations network it should only be expected.
This problem is not helped by Caribbean nationals who go abroad and behave as if all is when they are suffering like madness. Working a million and one jobs just to get by and pay the bills. They would be living better lives had they stayed in their country but there is this stigma that “yuh wutless if yuh go a farin and nuh mek it” RUBBISH! And as a result many chose not to return as they would face scrutiny if dem come back bruk.
So in response Caribbean governments need to take a proactive stance to ensure that future graduates look inwards for opportunity as opposed to moving to the land of high unemployment just for the sake of saying “O, I’m New York” in the most bogus foreign accent you’ve ever heard.
It should be noted that some of these migrants actually make a life abroad, through honest hard work.
For more read: Jamaican in New York: Why One Song Means So Much.