Bishop Speech - Address to National Conference on Unemployment,
the Dome, Grand Anse, 28 June 1982

Comrades,

At the beginning of this historic conference there are five [5] brief points I would like to make by way of introduction.

First, unemployment is not the fault nor it is the wish and desire of our party, our government.

In fact, as all comrades here know, we regard now and always have regarded unemployment as being a disease, a curse, a blight and a water of very important and scarce human resources.

The second point is that unemployment for us in Grenada is a relatively new experience for our people, an experience created by capitalism.

The Siboneys, the Caribs and the Arawaks, the first inhabitants of our soil, all worked in those days because if you did not work you could not eat.

Likewise, under slavery, one had to work under conditions of degrading, criminal brutality and exploitation.

One had to work under the whip.

It is only when slavery had ended and capitalism came around that we began to see unemployment emerging in our country, and that came about historically largely because agriculture was the mainstay of the economy and the agricultural land was owned by a very small minority and all the rest of the people had to find work on a few huge agricultural estates.

The third point is that our people have had a long tradition of working, and working hard and working honourable.

Our people have been accustomed to work and working in the best tradition of hard, dedicated work.

All of this can be seen in many different ways.

We can see it certainly in the fact that today when we look around at our own historic landscape and we look at Fort Rupert and Fort Frederick, as we look at the tunnel, as we look at the network of roads going around the hills of our country, we know that it was our forefathers who built all those things.

It was their sweat, it was their blood, it was their labour, their sacrifice which produced all of those historic monuments and important networks of roads.

We can also see this evidence of hard work by our people in terms of the work our people have done in several metropolitan centres, certainly London and England as a whole, in Canada, in the United States, our people who have migrated to these countries have in fact done tremendous work and in the case of England it is our people who are responsible to a great extent for maintaining the transport and health systems in this country.

The fourth brief point, comrades, is that there is more unemployment today in the capitalist world than in the past 50 years.

The capitalist today is going through a major crisis and one of the major side effects of this crisis in this massive, unbelievable unemployment.

It is estimated that today in the capitalist world, there are 25 million people out of work in the 24 most heavily-developed capitalist countries.

And it is also estimated that by the end of this year that figure will become 30 million people out of work.

In other words, some 300 times the entire population of our country are out of work in the capitalist world, and as you know comrades, imperialist propaganda attempts to hide and distort this reality.

They try to pretend that there is no unemployment, or when they admit unemployment as they are more and more forced to do now, they say not only what they have always said that unemployment is necessary, unavoidable and they have moved to the ludicrous extend of trying to blame unemployment on the national liberation struggles worldwide.

These people try to blame their unemployment on what is happening in El Salvador, in Cuba, Nicaragua, Grenada, in Mozambique, Angola, in the Socialist World.

That is the extent of the desperation that the capitalist world now has.

The fifth point, comrades, is that in Grenada we allow no concealment, we allow no secrecy, we allow no lies to fool or mystify our people.

We come before our people openly, as always admitting this problem of unemployment and pointing out that together as government and people we have to find a solution to unemployment and that is why, comrades, we have this historic conference today.

That is why today, we continue this whole task of finding a mass solution for ending unemployment, trying to fight unemployment through increasing production.

In settling ourselves the huge task of solving our traditional and inherited unemployment problem, we can allow ourselves no brambling.

For because unemployment for us is a mass problem, we are determined to find a mass solution to it.

The people themselves, in particular the unemployed themselves, must be fully involved and engaged in finding the remedies that will cure joblessness once and for all in our society.

So when we began this historic process of talking unemployment, our first move was to organise an unemployment census which started on March 26th this year [1982].

This was followed by a series of parish conferences on the issue; first of all in St. Patrick’s, then St. John’s and St. Mark’s followed by St. Andrew’s, St. George’s, St. David’s and finally Carriacou.

In broaching the problem in this participatory way, we knew that we were only beginning the first steps of a long process that could not be completed overnight, or in a few weeks.

Democratic solutions, as we have learned repeatedly during the Revolution, do not happen that way.

As an honest revolutionary and democratic government, we cannot give unproductive jobs to our unemployed simply for the sake of giving them jobs and then watch them dig holes in the road and fill them up again, and then declare that we have finished with unemployment.

Neither do we have the economic capacity nor the desire to serve out a weekly dole or freeness to the unemployed.

Comrades, we can only honestly seek to solve unemployment by seeing it in the context of economic construction, of the drive for greater production – of the necessity to work harder in order to build our country.

So any solution that we create must have the capacity of contributing to production, so that other jobs are created, and conversely any productive drive we make must throw up more and more possibilities of work for our people.

In short, each job we create must generate dozens more jobs.

Comrades, unemployment is both your concern and your problem as well as a national problem, so you especially are the people to attend to its solution.

In the same way that we embarked upon an unprecedented democratic and participatory method in organising and framing our national budget which became a true People’s Budget, we are taking the same road, already blazed for us by our budget process, in seeking to resolve the massive problem of unemployment.

For we want a people’s solution, a people’s remedy, a people’s cure that will come out of the very guts and experience of our masses, and which will therefore be a guarantee of its acceptability and success.

So this is why we are here today comrades, and this is why our process has brought us to this point.

For by the end of the day we shall arrive at no magic formula, let us be very clear about that.

What today will serve to achieve will be a pooling of ideas and information, a discovery of common ground between us, an itemization of the insights and genius that our people have for creative ideas to solve their problems; and a definition of the precise nature and dimensions of the beast against which we are all fighting.

Our struggle is continuing today along the road of the process of solution, so we must not think of today as a last act or finale.

We are merely taking another step, but it will be a giant step, a massive step because it is a step being taken by all of us together with our minds focused and clenched round the same evil, and our wills collectively determined to finish with it forever in our country.

Comrades, during the period of 1970s our economy was unable to create jobs for our people.

The economy lacked the capacity as we exported our primary products which only used up our foreign exchange.

To get the extra value and benefit, what was needed was to process our primary products such as cocoa, nutmegs and coffee, and also to process our fruits, vegetables and spices.

However, the Gairy regime did not think of this, they were not interested in changing the 400 years of misery our people had suffered.

First under slavery and then under capitalism the majority owned nothing but their ability to work, and they were forced to work at a subsistent wage.

Comrades, let us look at some of the figures of the labour force during the period of the 1970s under the Gairy regime.

In 1970, the estimated unemployment was approaching 30% of the total work force.

This was so despite the so-called boom in the economy during the 1960s.

Of course, as the Gairy dictatorship displayed its total incompetency in handling the economy, the situation worsened between 1970 and 1975 as all production fell, and unemployment increased tremendously.

AFTER MARCH 13TH, 1979

Thus by the time of the March 13th Revolution, nearly 50% of the total work force could not find anything to do.

The economy had not changed much over the previous 400 years in terms of providing productive employment for our people.

This was even more destructive for our women and young people under 25, where the brunt of the unemployment fell.

When the people took power in 1979, the People’s Revolutionary Government pursued its previous objectives of diversifying the economy and processing its primary products, while always in our minds was the creation of productive employment – not just any employment, but productive employment – for our people.

Our first priority was to increase the employment of women, especially our young women who were the hardest hit.

Our first step n that direction was to decree equal pay for equal work in the state sector for all our women.

This was not employment in itself, but it brought equality and justice to women by ending discrimination against them.

And since then, on a progressive basis, more and more women have been brought into the work force.

Today we have women workers at the Airport Project, women tractor drivers, more women in the National Commercial Bank, in the Fisheries Company, in the Agro-Industrial Plant, forming micro-co-operatives, etc.

Our other main priority was to provide jobs for the thousands of unemployed youth.

Here we ensured that whenever new jobs were opened up that the unemployed youth were among the first to be placed.

It was this conscious policy that allowed thousands of youth to be employed in the International Airport project, on the roads, in the expanded and revitalized agricultural state farms, in fisheries and so on.

Together with this, we embarked on a nation-wide campaign in 1980, our “Year of Education and Production” to create more jobs through getting our youths to work co-operatively on the idle lands in our country.

Our great slogan than was ‘IDLE LANDS + IDLE HANDS = AN END TO UNEMPLOYMENT’.

This campaign achiever reasonable success with the result that some 20 agricultural co­operatives, with almost 200 members were established with the assistance of the National Co-operative Development Agency (NACDA) – an agency established by the Revolution to promote co-operatives.

And of course this programme of 1980 is continuing with a bang this year with our Land reform and Youth Employment Programmes, which we confidently expect to make a major contribution to our twin goals of raising production while providing more jobs.

Certainly, the enthusiasm of the 50-odd youth present at las Thursday’s formal opening of the new La Sagesse Agricultural Training Centre leaves us in absolutely no doubt that the youth of our country are ready to ‘Fight Unemployment through Production’, in the firm conviction that production is the only REAL SOLUTION.

THE 1981 UNEMPLOYMENT CENSUS

The Unemployment Census was conducted in April and May of this year and aimed at identifying all the unemployment in the state.

This is, all those who at the time of the census had no jobs.

It was also intended to identify part-time workers; that is persons who on average worked less than two days a week and season workers, that is those who worked for three consecutive months within the calendar year.

The census identified 7,040 such persons, including 6,640 who were fully unemployed, 229 part-time and 171 seasonal workers.

The majority of the total unemployed was found in St. Andrew’s with 27½%, followed by St. George’s with 27%, St. Patrick’s had 15%, St. David’s with 13% and the other three parishes making up the other 17.5%.

The census also confirmed another point which was generally known: that is that most of those unemployed are young people.

About 64% of the persons met in the census were between 16 and 25 years old.

This percentage got smaller as the age increased – only 18% of the total number of unemployed, season workers and part-time workers were between 26-35 years, only 8% between 36 and 45 years and only 3% of the total were over 55 years.

52% of those actively seeking jobs are the 16-25 year olds with 12% not seeking jobs, probably because of the frustration experienced or which they saw their colleagues experience.

The other 36% of this age group, the 16-25 year olds, are either season workers or part-time.

Still, they also need to find full-time jobs to ensure security and a better standard of living.

The greatest number of unemployed by far, were found to be females.

72% of 4,781 persons were females, and coupled with the fact that most of the unemployed are between the ages of 16 and 25, we see a real problem that these young women of our society face.

The parish which registered the largest percentage of female unemployed, happened to be Carriacou, where nearly 90% of the total number of unemployed counted in Carriacou were female.

Comrades, the data also indicated that we are still trapped to some extent within the socio0historical trap of sex discrimination, where men find it easier to get a job.

Although the male/female ratio in the population is roughly 1 to 1, we found that generally the split between male and female in the unemployed pool is 1 to 2; that is, for every one man unemployed, two women are unemployed.

The ratio between the sexes in relation to the number of persons seeking jobs suggests to us that for every one man seeking a job, there are two women.

This is in line with the unemployment breakdown; however, when we examine persons not seeking jobs, we see that there are three times as many of our women as men who have given up the search.

In terms of the educational background of the unemployed, season workers and part-time workers, less than 2% had no education whatsoever.

Over 70% of the comrades have gone beyond class four and up to secondary education but did not go to secondary schools.

We came across 18% of these comrades who had been to secondary schools – of course, we employ all our university trained cadres.

When consulted about which sector they would like to work in, whether state, private, co-operative or self-employed, the vast majority of comrades preferred the state sector, and in all parishes between 68 and 78% said they would prefer to work in the state sector.

Therefore, although 42% of the comrades displayed an interest in areas which are not directly productive, such as services and commerce, we must remind comrades today that jobs can only be created if we first produce goods; that is agricultural products, nectars, jams juices, fish, etc.

Only then, after each production, can we talk about employing people in the other economic sectors which are not directly productive.

A NEW CONCEPT OF WORK

Comrades, we have already spoken of the curse and brutality of our labour and the class of parasites it served in the days before we grasped our power and unfurled the flag of freedom in every village across our country.

For March 13th, 1979, as in so many things, gave us a new direction, a new cause, a new concept of work.

For as soon as our land became ours, as soon as we had severed its beauty from the ugly grip of the dictator, we knew that work itself would and must take on a new meaning for us.

From being an alienated act of hate and despair, work suddenly had the promise of being an act of love and fulfillment.

From being drudgery it began to take the shape of joy.

We began go see the extraordinary spectacle of many hundreds of our people from every village in our land, coming out in happiness to perform voluntary and unpaid acts of work, in their own time and most usually upon Sunday mornings.

We began to see drains and culverts cleared that had been clogged up by twenty-five years of sewage and Gairyism.

We saw roads repaired by the collective work of neighbours, overhanging branches chopped down, bridges built and walls decorated with the colours and words of freedom.

We saw the parents of our school children and the children themselves taking over their schools while their teachers discussed the future of education in our country at the National Teachers’ Seminar in their hundreds during January 1980, and we saw the parents contributing in that one week over a million dollars’ worth of free labour, of truly free labour.

We saw the House Repair Programme depending on the voluntary help of neighbours of the homeowners and getting it too.

We saw the maroon [traditional voluntary act of collective work] coming alive again in Grenada!

A new attitude had developed towards work.

Work changed its very nature as the Revolution revealed its true meaning for us.

For through our voluntary community work brigades and all the sessions of collective work that were carefully, or sometimes spontaneously organised, we were realising a truth that was new to us – that work is a liberator, work is what unites us, builds us, develops us and changes us.

Without work we go nowhere, we achieve nothing.

When our work is against us, only serving others who exploit and scorn us, we fall into despondency and frustration.

But with work on our side we build a new world, a world which will truly serve the workers of the world.

Comrades, perhaps I could make this point clearly and forcibly by quoting to you the words of a man who was with us in Grenada just a few weeks ago, as a member of the delegation of President Samora Machel of Mozambique.

For travelling with this great man were other outstanding men with a whole history of struggle and victory inside them.

One such Mozambican leader, who unfortunately we did not hear speak publicly as the visit was so short, was Comrade Sergio Vieira, who travelled with the delegation as Minister of Agriculture.

This comrade is recognised in his own country as  a prominent poet and thinker, and he is the author of a particularly widely read and influential pamphlet setting out the ideas for the creation of new men and women in his country Mozambique with new, liberated mentalities, called The New Man is a Process.

In the following way, the people themselves are creating their own future and constructing their own economy.

Work creates and liberates.

Work is not punishment.

When a person works there should be some result to his work.

Work can never be a game!

Work has to have a concrete result and have a social benefit.

Work which has no benefit is not work.

It is a demoralizing action.

Comrades, there is much to be learned in these words which is very relevant to our situation here in Grenada.

For here too, our work must have a concrete result, and that concrete result must be more and more production, which itself will create more and more jobs.

That is why we are framing our slogan in this way: Work in the mother of production, production produces/creates/throws up work!

For we can allow ourselves no non-productive work, no joke work, no disguised unemployment – for our task too in tackling unemployment is to unmask that and tear away the disguise.

Production is both the cause and product of our work, and there can be no space for work which is merely ornamental or which stands on the sidelines of development like an interested spectator on the roads, watching the bands pass at Carnival.

WORK. THE TRANSFORMER

Why are we so concerned about unemployment?

Why do we see it as such an evil, such a negative force in our society?

It is because we believe in the future and because we know that our people are builders of the future – and because we know that if we don’t work, then we can’t build.

We are working for ourselves and each other in Grenada now, and most importantly, we are working for our children, all our children.

So we believe that every single Grenadian should enjoy that right and responsibility to be a builder and constructor of that future.

While a Grenadian remains unemployed, it means that he or she is denied the right to build that future, to participate in the construction of that planned and real civilisation that we are mapping out for our children and our children’s children.

We would not deny anybody in our country that right and responsibility, which is why we believe so strongly in the right to work, and why we have to set out on this long process to ensure that every single one of our people can proudly say: ‘I am the builder of Grenada. I am part of that fuel that will drive my country forward’.

For when we understand the nature of the dignity that the Revolution is brining to our people, we see that the right to stand up as a working person, the right to achieve excellence in work, the right to be emulated for that excellence, the right to be exemplary in punctuality, efficiency and productivity – all these are the new rights that the Revolution has brought us with respect to work, rights that are a part of the great treasure that is March 13th.

And it is these rights which contribute to the new nation of dignity and independence that our people are proudly demonstrating right across the land.

Unemployment, therefore, is an attack on that dignity, but more importantly it is an attack on our resolve to achieve greater production, which will give us the true material basis for that dignity.

Unemployed workers mean less land under the plough, less processing, less manufacturing, less exporting, and therefore, less foreign exchange, less ability to buy those things we really need from abroad like tractors, medicines and vital spare parts.

And yet with all the loss in production that unemployment brings, we still have to feed the unemployed, to care for them, to educate their children, to hospitalise them when they are sick.

Like anyone else they still need housing and recreation, and they must still participate in and take the social wage that is there for all our people.

Although, in short, they are not producers, they are still consumers, and so they are inevitably taking out more than they are putting in, although this may be no fault of their own.

For work is a great transformer.

Not only does work change the material reality around us – like it created a new city in Dresden in the GDR, like it is making concrete our dream at Point Salines – but in doing this it transforms the human being himself, or herself.

For the serious application to the tasks of work, the discipline and sense of fulfillment that it brings, the sense of pride and purpose of contributing to building a new world – all this in itself creates a new mentality and a new type of person that must live in, contribute and bring his strengths to bear to that same new society he is helping to create.

THE FRUIT OF NEW JOBS

Comrades, we in Grenada are struggling to be part of that new world, and to build it we must ensure that there is work for everybody, that nobody is excluded.

At the moment we are a long way from that situation for between 21 and 22% of our people are still unemployed, which means that some 7,000 of our brothers and sisters are not being allowed to make their full contribution.

It is towards these Grenadians that we are resolving to reach over the next two to three years, to ensure work for all, and thus push up our productive capacity to create the possibilities of more and more benefits and a greater social wage for all of us.

For the solution to unemployment lies only in increased production.

We still have over seven thousand [7,000] acres of idle and under-utilised land, and every two acres of this land can create at least one new job in agriculture for our people.

This will cause the creation of a minimum of another three thousand, five hundred [3,500] jobs in agriculture alone.

Then we need to examine the prospects of the greater production that cultivated lands will bring, and the fruit of more jobs that will grow from that production, for example in the agro-industrial sector with the production of more mangoes, more guavas, more bananas, more soursops, more tamarinds to process.

The boxing plants will need for workers for more boxes for more bananas, the greater volume of fruit will need more transport, more trucks, more drivers, the docks will need more warehousemen, more stevedores, more forklift operators.

All in all, the rise in production caused by the new jobs we create by putting more land under cultivation, will take us towards a one-job-per-acre situation, and in the case of bananas, one and a half jobs per acre.

If we include the further jobs created in all the sectors connected to and spinning off the production from the newly cultivated land we get 7,000 acres creating over 7,000 new jobs!

Comrades, this is why we say again work if the mother of production, production produces/creates/throws up work; and we can only fight and win the battle against unemployment through greater production.

In addition to our agricultural thrust, we shall see the expansion of our fishing fleet, and its greater efficiency through the Land-to-sea radio equipment that we shall soon be receiving from our friends in the German Democratic Republic.

We shall also be encouraging the expansion for further light industries, particularly in the area of garment-making.

For we need to turn resolutely towards new forms of work and new methods of production, in order both to diversity our products and diversity our type of work.

All this will need new and requisite forms of education and training, something we have already successfully started with our fishing school.

For what we have seen in the fisheries sector is that our training facilities have developed alongside our growing capacity to catch more fish and process more fish.

All this growth has begun to create a genuine fisheries industry in our country, which is not only contributing to feed our people and beginning to give us some more valuable export earnings, but it is, of course, creating more and more jobs in that sector.

And this growth has caused many of our people to take fishing far more seriously.

It is causing our fishermen to look at themselves in a more, organised way and to combine together and form fishing co-operatives.

For a spirit of co-operation and working seriously together in a planned and organised way, will always cause the creation of more jobs than the dog-eat-dog, violent individualist competition of the capitalist way of production, which might have a few winners, but at the expense of many losers, many victims,

And the worst casualties are the rejected unemployed, those who are left behind in the race to dominate, crush and push out of the way.

A LEGACY OF DISCOURAGEMENT

We would all know, comrades, that in our country we have inherited from our particular history many reasons and factors which have encouraged unemployment.

Conditions of work were so bad under the dictatorship that many workers actually preferred unemployment to staying in lowly-paid jobs where they were exploited not only by their employers, but also through a situation whereby they paid a large proportion of their salary as dues to a corrupt union, whose leader only used its funds to build his own hotels, host decadent parties at his Evening Palace and lay up accounts for his inevitable defeat and flight to the heart of imperialism!

Who would prefer, if one was able, to drop out of such work, and perhaps fall back on some gardening, or sewing or a little washing and ironing, or whatever you could get?

Also in Grenada we have a legacy of unwillingness among many of our people to work the land.

Again, conditions historically have been so bad on many of the private estates that our people have always identified agriculture in terms of that particular form of production.

What is significant now, however, is that the Revolution has introduced new forms of production, organisation and management in working the land, in particular through co-operatives, whereby organisations and ownership are participatory and collective, and whereby the co-operators are working for themselves and for each other.

This democratisation of agriculture has clearly attracted many of our young people back to the land, and of course NACDA guarantees to find the resources to assist serious co-operative ventures to start and continue, and this is as true in the agricultural sector as it is in other areas.

In addition, colonialism continually floated the white collar in the dreams of our people, so that work was valued in how far you could escape from the land, rather than how well you could work it.

Non-productive work in an office was seen as the ideal, with the desk, the paper pad and the pan far more worthy of respect and aspiration than the hoe and the fork – and colonial education was based on this premise.

The six sizes and shapes of Henry the Eighth’s wives became more important than our own size and shapes of our bananas or mangoes.

Little Miss Muffet sitting on a tuffet became more significant that the sister who sat on a wooden staff cracking nutmegs, and Sir Francis Drake’s pirate boat – The Golden Hind  - took precedence over our schooners and fishing boats from Windward, L’Esterre, Petit Martinique or Gouyave.

This is why education for us now must mean production too, and this is why we place so great a value upon education, and why we have put the Centre of Popular Education at the centre of our educational thrust to raise the cultural and skills levels of our people.

So that when the time for more specific work training comes, then they can be more ready, more able and more receptive to commit themselves to it and to succeed.

This is also why we have resolved to integrate real production into the curriculum of our schools, so that they cease to be centres of irrelevant education that take our children’s heads out of their own land and earth and send them chasing after Brooklyn, Toronto or London, but instead become genuine production centres where all the growing brain power of our youth and students is focused upon how to produce more for our country – and thus know how to find more work and prosperity for our people

PRODUCTION THE KEY

For we have inherited an economy that doesn’t teach us to educate ourselves – and those are confines and walls that we must break through, for they force us towards importing rather than producing.

But the reality is that if we don’t produce then we can’t import, and so our emphasis must all the time be on what else can we grow ourselves, what else can we make ourselves, what else can we process ourselves and how much of all these things can we consume ourselves, rather than all those important items that give our economy such daily licks and blows.

For while we depend upon other countries’ products, we are line cast-asides and orphans in the world, motherless children without our own production.

For dependency in any form is very dangerous for us, and can jeopardize any progress we may be making.

When we import equipment and machinery from abroad, we must be able to maintain and repair it and this again shows the crucial need for training.

To have foreign equipment obtained at great cost sitting idle until a mechanic or technician from its country of origin can come and repair it, is another sure sign of our dependency and underdevelopment, something which can only be changed by permanent training, the acquisition of new skills and the mastering of the science and technology that we use on a daily basis.

REAL EMPLOYMENT

Comrades, during our People’s Budget process of January, February and March, we spoke about the need to eliminate what we call disguised unemployment labour which receives a wage but which is unproductive, which it wasted, which does not create wealth or contribute to development.

And our call was echoed by our people all over the land in the parish and zonal councils on the economy leading up to Budget Day.

This disguised unemployment was and remains a major concern of our people because they recognise that the provision of unproductive jobs through political patronage is part of the destructive and wasteful colonial and neo-colonial legacy inherited by the Revolution, designed to keep us in a state of permanent poverty.

Our people have correctly pointed out that some sectors of the public service are over-loaded, that some of these workers could be better placed somewhere else, that they should be re-deployed in a productive or a potentially productive sector.

For it is our working people who have to pay the cost and carry the weight of disguised unemployment in the same way that they have to support the totally unemployed.

Our disguised unemployed too, need to be freed from the mockery of work they are presently engaged in, so that they can make a real and genuine contribution to production and national development.

In three short years, the Revolution has made it possible for thousands of hitherto unemployed sisters and brothers to make such a patriotic contribution because the Revolution has created countless job-generating projects.

Formerly unproductive workers in the Ministries of Construction and Health, who have been redeployed on roads and other new projects like the Sandino block and tile making plant and the expanded telephone system, also now have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the production process.

In 1982 the forward movement to rid the economy of unemployment continues.

Despite critical problems, we have still been able to create jobs in our economy and re-deploy people.

For example, in the Ministry of Health we have created over seventy [70] new jobs, although the critical budgetary problems have made it necessary to re-deploy people.

To give a concrete example of this redeployment into areas more productive, we can also use the Ministry of Health.

The hospitals are now producing food for themselves.

For example, instead of laying off workers at Princess Alice Hospital, in the month of May alone the hospital’s farms produced 510 pounds of cabbage which not only made this hospital self-sufficient in cabbages for May, but also allowed them to sell 180 pounds of cabbages to the General Hospital.

The General Hospital itself is also producing – re-deploying its workers to produce, there are 100 banks of potatoes now, and during May they produced 50 pounds of cucumbers, 8 pounds of lettuce, 25 pounds of sweet pepper, 30 pounds of callaloo, 25 pounds of green peas, among other products, that this hospital has produced to preserve the jobs of workers and produce directly.

Richmond Hill and Princess Royal are also involved in agricultural production to save money and also more and more so to re-deploy those workers, thus saving their jobs.

Comrades, a tour around the country on any working day would reveal a startling sight that could convince even the scientists, the critics and the doubt Thomases.

What is taking place today is that in every parish in our land, involving hundreds of our people who were once jobless, is the most widespread activity geared towards social and economic development that our nation has ever known in its history.

What you can see on such a tour are dozens of capital projects that have and will continue to create jobs for masses, projects which cost hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars.

Let me give you a few examples.

So far this year, over $3,660,000 has been spent on our international airport, a project where 250 Grenadian workers find meaningful and productive employment.

Over 100 workers are now producing jams, jellies, nectars, pepper sauce and other food products at our new Agro-Industrial Plant in True Blue.

In Corinth, St. David’s and Bonaire, St. Mark’s dozens of workers are productively employed in the construction of two new primary schools.

With seven [7] hotels and restaurants, the Grenada Resorts Corporation, a production of the Revolution, today employs over 100 workers while our new fishing fleet and fishing company has given employment to some 70 of our people.

In our sister isle of Carriacou over $1 million dollars is being spent in bringing electricity to the entire island and $264,000 has been laid out already this year for the continuing resurfacing of roads.

In Petit Martinique a new $24,000 health centre is going up, the Marketing and Importing Board outset is expanding and an electrification project has just begun.

All this, of course, means new jobs have been created for the people of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

But, comrades, perhaps the most dramatic evidence of this stepped up economic activity can be seen in our massive road construction and resurfacing programme presently underway all over our country.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Productive Farmers Union, 32 miles of feeder roads have been laid with cliff sub-base since July, 1981 and another 20 miles will be prepared before this $2 million project is completed.

Here alone 240 jobs have been created and valuable voluntary labour has been provided by patriotic farmers all over the country who understand what these feeder roads would mean for opening up new lands to agricultural production.

But this is not the only feeder road project.

In face $7.5 million in funds provided by the Caribbean Development Bank will go towards the complete paving of 15½ miles of feeder roads in our agricultural parishes of St. Andrew’s and St. David’s.

This project currently employs 56 workers, while 60 more have found employment on the $560,000 Westerhall Redgate project and the $300,000 Davey Project Road in St. Patrick’s.

Of course, not to be forgotten is the huge Eastern Main Road that by next year will link St. George’s to Grenville with a beautiful new highway.

Over 100 of our people are now employed on this project.

And comrades, we can continue this list but time on this occasion does not allow for a lengthy catalogue.

However, we cannot overlook at this time one particular project with direct bearing to the strengthening agriculture, the motor of our economy, and which is indicative of the Revolution’s new thrust to create employment.

I make mention of the La Sagesse Agricultural Training Centre which opened last week with 50 students who will learn a wide range of agricultural sciences and ways of applying theory to practice in the service of increased production.

At the end of this training these students will become workers in agricultural co-operative and elsewhere in agriculture.

Plans are also underway to open three more such training centres which will teach 200 additional students by the end of this year, and which will bring 500 acres of productive land under cultivation as part of the practical application of the scientific skills acquired in the classroom.

Comrades, there is no doubt that the revolution has created jobs, and not just any job, but job that are directly productive, real jobs that produce goods and services, thousands of new jobs in three years.

In fact, more jobs than were created in the first 9 years of the 1970s.

By the beginning of 1981, the total number of unemployed had fallen to about 28% of the work force.

Thus jobs had been found for about 22% of those previously unemployed along with others who were just joining the labour force.

So our successes in the field of employment have been impressive and unprecedented in the history of Grenada and the English-speaking Caribbean.

A DEMOCRATIC SOLUTION TO UNEMPLOYMENT

But we must never rest on our victories.

We must never grow complacent.

The relentless struggle against unemployment continues.

So comrades, what is our was forward from here in the mighty task before us? – to remove unemployment from our country.

We have started a process which is democratic in nature, which will involve all of you here and thousands of other Grenadians.

For in fighting and organising to end unemployment, we shall be using centrally our democratic structures and mass organisations.

They are our problem-solving infrastructures and our means of mass consultation, and just as they provided the organisational basis for the making of our People’s budget, so they shall form the structures through which we shall finish with unemployment.

This is because we believe that people’s participation is a must, is essential to solve the people’s problems.

If we attempted to solve unemployment by bureaucratic methods with no popular involvement, we are convinced not only then such a method would be wrong and unacceptable to our people but that it would and could not work because the most important people in this entire venture – the unemployed themselves – would not be involved.

So we are calling upon the mass organisations, the National Youth Organisation, the National Women’s Organisation, the trade unions, the Productive Farmers’ Union to be deeply and integrally a part of the vanguard in this national campaign against unemployment.

Your members are involved in the problem.

So it must be your task and responsibility to contribute towards finding the solution.

We see it as your task primarily to help in the organisation of the unemployed so that they can find work themselves with the backing of the mass organisations.

We envisage that your members will seek to identify the possible areas of projects alongside your unemployed brothers and sisters as well as helping to mobilise support for projects already existing in their own villages or other parts of their areas.

In addition, the mass organisations must assist their unemployed comrades in the formation of co-operatives, and lend their organisational expertise and experience to those comrades interested in the co-operative principle, but who are inexperienced in the actual day-to-day organisation, administration and maintenance work necessary for the planning and efficient running of such structures.

The mass organisations must be firm and reliable means of support and infrastructure to the unemployed, must be there at all time to lend comradely help to the comrades’ search for work.

In particular, and here the role of the trade unions is especially paramount, our mass organisations must continue to encourage the unemployed comrades to gain as much education and training as they can obtain, as well as stimulate their own educational and training schemes, in order to increase the technical capacity of our unemployed to make them more useful future workers, as well as raising their general grasp of necessary agricultural and industrial skills – so that when they begin to work, they will already have a attributes and abilities that will make them more productive in the building of our production and economy.

THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR

The private sector, too, has a significant role to play in this great challenge to finish with unemployment in our country.

We hope and trust that they also, along with the mass organisations and Trade Unions, will keenly contribute their long experience and practised expertise to this vital process for our people and the future for all of us.

At this stage in the development of our economy, it is generally true to say that our private sector has, over the years, achieved greater skill levels in economic and managerial organisation than we have presently in our public sector.

Clearly, the brothers and sisters in the private sector are veterans in this respect, and have a lot to teach us and give us.

They are in no way left out of our economic thrust and strategy, and we see them taking a crucial and responsible role in our present battle against unemployment for we are on the same side.

Within the ranks of the private sector, many, too, are practitioners and businessmen with sympathizers and significant capabilities in raising and mobilising funds for schemes and investments that will create more jobs and thus create more production, and we welcome them into the heart of our strategy to cure our country of joblessness – for we are all doctors in this process.

We can see, for example, in the area of garment manufacturing, how great a contribution is being made to fight unemployment by the private sector for this particular industry is highly labour-intensive and is providing many jobs for our people – particularly our sisters for as we have seen, our women are the principal sufferers from the disease of unemployment in our country.

We feel strongly that similar strides could also be made by the private sector in the area of shoe-making, wood-working, furniture and food-processing – all of which would both cut down on our import bills and provide jobs for many of our people through direct production.

So comrades from the private sector, we are asking for your contributions and your advice and suggestions, for you are and always have been, in the mainstream of creation in our country, and we would certainly want this to continue.

THE PARENTS OF PROGRESS

So these are the basic points I wanted to make to you this morning. comrades.

As you continue in your crucial work, I am confirmed yet again in our Grenadian belief in collective consultation, collective discussions, collective wisdom which always emerges from assemblies such as these.

For with so many proud, independent and free minds exchanging and combining, giving and receiving, criticizing and deciding, together and more together every day, every week, every month, we are creating an intellectual and democratic unity which will form the basis of all our social activities and progress.

For comrades, all of you are the parents of progress, the mothers and fathers of national development, and as such you are making our economy not only productive but also reproductive.

With your insights, ideas and collective genius you will cause the birth of more jobs, more production, more wealth and carry our country forward to more happiness and freedom for all our people, whereby every Grenadian will be able to say:

Look, I have a job.

I am a producer for my country.

I am a builder of Grenada.

I am a constructor of a new land of courage, love, hope and productive achievement.


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