‘Frustrated youths just want to leave Jamaica,’ Holness admits Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says young persons are increasingly frustrated by the lack of opportunities and proper housing in Jamaica and are eyeing migration to developed countries.

According to him, the issue of migration has affected Jamaica negatively, with numerous members of the middle class migrating.

Holness is contending that this situation is untenable, as it will lead to a depletion of the country’s pool of talents and skills, further derailing efforts to complete ‘Project Jamaica’.

“Who will lead the country when all the skills leave?” asked Holness during his address at the handing-over ceremony for phase one of the Ruthven Towers apartment complex.

“… And when I say leave the country…, I am talking about who will lead the NHT [National Housing Trust], who will take the leadership of the country to transform the country?” he further questioned.

Based on his interactions with some young persons, the prime minister said he has gained first-hand knowledge of the level of frustration that they are experiencing locally when they compare other developing countries to Jamaica.

“Somehow they [young persons] look at other countries, they see what is happening in other countries, and they say, ‘Why can’t it happen here? Why do we have all the problems that we have?

“It is infuriating to many of them, and when we talk to them, particularly the millennials, they just want to leave. They want to just go overseas and enjoy the benefits that are existing in other developed countries,” Holness informed.

He noted, as well, that Jamaica has suffered from migration since post-Independence, especially since the 1970s.

“Since the 1970s, there has been a migration of Jamaica’s middle class… No country can progress without building its middle class. The middle class isn’t a bourgeoisie concept. The middle class is the segment of your society, where skills and entrepreneurism and innovation exist,” he explained.

“So, the middle class is not this rich, well-to-do as people think. It is those that have benefited from the education of the country, that have the skills necessary to move the country along,” the prime minister continued.

“Unfortunately, we have been losing them, and one of the reasons we have been losing them is security…, job opportunities, maybe another, but we are slowly conquering that.”

Another issue driving middle-class persons away from the country is the quality of infrastructure, including housing, Holness claimed.

“In our 60th year, we have to confront this, and make a commitment to improve our infrastructure, so that people can feel that they are living in a modern society,” he stated.

“So we are appealing to the young people in our country to consider that ‘Project Jamaica’ is not complete, and you have a role, not just to be critical of the incompleteness and failures of ‘Project Jamaica’, but you have a role in making ‘Project Jamaica’ a success,” urged Holness.