I would never have thought Bermuda would get like this
A 50-year-old mother desperate for work is now gambling on Governments waiter-server programme to secure her any kind of a job that can help with her debts.
Entrepreneur Colleen Bean-Jones drew fanfare in 2007, including a visit from then-Premier Ewart Brown, when she opened BeanZ Café in Hamilton Parish.
The business proved a bittersweet experience.
Business was fine, she recalled. But the people I was renting from were not business people. In the end, she said, I was losing money, and I had to make a decision.
Now, still without full-time work and health insurance, Ms Bean-Jones said shes another qualified Bermudian forced to go back to the drawing board.
Ive been applying for jobs and they keep telling me Im not qualified, she said. I went to school in the 1970s, secretarial and hotel college. That was what we did back in the day.
Although grateful for a Labour and Training initiative to replace 100 expat workers with Bermudian waiters, the former restaurateur said her experience shows how difficult life has become for ordinary Bermudians.
Government says they guarantee jobs after this course, so thats why Im doing it, she said. The sad part is, Ive done everything right.
She said her 22-year-old son is also unemployed, and struggling for a job.
Asked if the recession was the worst shed experienced, Ms Bean-Jones said: Of course. I would never have thought Bermuda would get like this.
Right now, with politicians arguing and bickering, I feel like the country needs direction, or the country will take its own direction.
I believe that we should march, not riot, but come together and go to Parliament to demand better. Everyone else in the world protests.
Currently working a minimum wage part-time job at Dub City, Ms Bean-Jones said shes seen a decline in the communitys morale.
Where do you go for counselling, so we can feel better? she asked. There will be chaos this summer. I hear the young men talking about what theyre going to do, what they would like to do, and theyre angry and bitter inside.
The robbery in November of a Hamilton Parish supermarket employee taking her groceries out to her car came as no surprise, she added.
I pray that Government will help more, she said. I have one son and I feel all these young men are my sons.
If we as a people dont come together, our grandchildren will all suffer. They will go right back to where my ancestors fought to bring me from. We will have to start all over again.
Are you taking part in the waiter-server programme? E-mail your experiences to jbell[AT]royalgazette.bm.
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