Call for more locals in service industry
Getting more Bermudians into trades could grow Bermuda's economy, a Progressive Labour Party politician has said.
Christopher Famous said foreigners made up the majority of people employed in Bermuda's service industry.
He told the House of Assembly on Friday: “Unless we direct our young people towards these service industries, we are facing a failed state.”
Mr Famous said the 2017 Employment Survey Report showed that of 158 mechanics, 85 were Bermudian and of 360 masons, 120 were Bermudian.
In addition, 15 Bermudians were bakers compared to 65 from overseas and of 685 chefs, 137 were Bermudians.
Mr Famous said: “I am not blaming the foreigners. I am saying that we — this government, this opposition — must encourage our people to take up these trades.
“These are the jobs that are going to be here for ever. They are not fly-by-night jobs and if we don't get our people doing it, employers are going to continue to submit applications for work permits.”
Mr Famous said Bermudians often complained that foreigners were taking their jobs, but “aren't getting qualified for these jobs”.
He said the Government was responsible to get people qualified for these jobs.
He added: “The more we have our people qualified, the more we have our people employed, the more money being spent in this economy.”
Mr Famous criticised the view that Bermuda must learn from the Cayman Islands on how to grow its economy.
He pointed out that half of Cayman Islands' population was from overseas and Caymanians were the minority in the workforce.
Mr Famous added: “We have to ask ourselves, ‘Is that what we want in Bermuda?'”
He said: “We realise that we need to get people in the island, but we are not going to sacrifice our people in the meantime.”