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Training deficit stunts Trelawny - commerce chief
Literacy centres are needed in Trelawny to develop trainable individuals for upcoming job opportunities in the parish, according to Trelawny Chamber of Commerce President, Dennis Seivwright.
"Human development is the greatest investment we can ever make and that is the area we have fallen short on," Seivwright said at a Gleaner Editors' Forum at Glistening Waters in Trelawny last week. "We need to 'net' everyone, whether or not they can read and write, and train them and maybe HEART Trust/NTA is not the one to do that."
Trelawny is poised to become a booming tourism and business hub with the impending multibillion-dollar Harmony Cove luxury resort. Tavistock Group, in partnership with the Jamaican Government, will develop several hotels, three world-class golf courses, a gaming lounge and other luxury amenities.
The parish is also slated to receive a major cruise shipping port, but the unfolding global economic crisis might significantly delay the port plans.
The chamber president fears that manpower to fill job opportunities on completion of the Harmony Cove development and the port will have to be sourced outside the parish, because of a dearth of qualified personnel.
"I think the state agencies need to step up to the responsibility," said Seivwright. "Because if they (developers) are coming to Falmouth and need, for example, 100 persons for training, but they can only find 10 that are trainable, they are going to go outside the parish to find the others."
According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, with a population of over 73,100, the parish of Trelawny has an overall literacy rate of 76 per cent.
Seivwright said that no private or public literacy centres currently exist in Trelawny. In an effort to generate awareness on the issue, he said the chamber has embarked on a public-education drive, seeking to partner with investors in launching literacy centres parishwide, which would lead to positive economic spin-offs.