Pierre Reports Steady Progress In Creating Jobs – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has declared steady progress in creating jobs, asserting that his administration was doing all it could to provide decent employment and lift citizens from poverty.

Pierre spoke recently at the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) 68th annual health research conference.

 He disclosed that the number of people with jobs increased from 75,016 in 2020 to 97,394 in 2023, representing 86 percent of the working population. 

Pierre told the CARPHA event that Saint Lucia has seen consecutive declines in its unemployment rate every year since July 2021. 

“The rate dropped from 21.9 percent in 2021 to a near record low of 14 percent in 2023, but we are still not satisfied,” the Finance Minister stated.

He noted the overwhelming response of Saint Lucian youth to his administration’s youth economy program. 

A Youth Economy Agency established by an Act of Parliament in 2022 provides finance, business development, marketing support, and training and mentorship to young people.

 The Saint Lucia Prime Minister disclosed that its launch a year ago, with EC$20 million in financing from the Caribbean Development Bank, the agency has funded 445 projects.

The funding went to projects in the arts, agriculture, production and marketing, sports and wellness, services, and technology.

“Our hope is that beyond creating a national ecosystem of 3500 young entrepreneurs, this initiative will create a “feel-good culture” among all young people and help them build confidence,” Pierre stated.

He also revealed that the US Government was financing similar programmes through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in Saint Lucia.

 They include the Youth Resilience, Inclusion, and Empowerment (Y-RIE) initiative.

It seeks to develop the learning output of Saint Lucian youth, prepare them for professional job opportunities, connect them with professional development initiatives, and strengthen community and family structures that impact youth development.