JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has proposed a formal partnership between the Governments of Jamaica and the United States for Jamaica to train and export professionals such as teachers and nurses. Mr. Patterson made the proposal while speaking to in Hartford, Connecticut, in the USA on Wednesday (October 1).
Delivering a lecture at the University of Hartford on Jamaican migration into the Hartford area, international trade in services and on the education and training challenges facing Jamaica and the Caribbean, Mr. Patterson invited the university to become partners with the Government and educational institutions in Jamaica to significantly increase the pool of skilled professionals from which countries like the US could draw.
He pointed out that: “It is well known that there are substantial outflows of professionals and para-professionals from the Caribbean, especially in fields such as education and health where we have now to import skilled people from other countries to make up the shortfall.” Noting that these skilled professionals leaving the Caribbean constituted the new wave of migrants, the Prime Minister said in a world where movements across national frontiers are irresistible, the dictates of the job market had to be accepted.
“Instead of hoping to stop the flow by a restrictive approach, we should engage in dramatically increasing the trained pool from which these people are drawn,” he said.
Using the case of Africa to illustrate the negative impact of uncontrolled exodus of trained professionals, Mr. Patterson noted two recent reports which indicate that each year about twenty thousand professionals leave the continent costing Africans countries some US$4 billion per year.
Speaking later on Wednesday with members of the Jamaican and Caribbean community at the Hartford Social Center, Mr. Patterson reiterated the need for this partnership: “We are not putting down any restrictive prohibitions. People are free to come and go, but what we do intend is to provide a sufficiency of trained people that we have enough to satisfy our needs and when countries like America want some – because we are the best nurses and the best teachers – we can say to them we have a pool that is available. And we are inviting the United States to enter into a partnership with us in that regard and not wait until we have trained the people and pounce on them and leave us the poorer.”
Noting that many persons who migrated to the US did so to seek educational opportunities, Mr. Patterson said the Jamaican Government had over several years embarked on creating revolution in education so as to satisfy the educational needs of the nation and its people.
Mr. Patterson was in Connecticut to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of the Hartford for his contribution to Jamaica’s development and his international role in promoting the interest of the Caribbean and other developing countries.

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