Give GATE a chance
I am a young man not involved in any
criminal activity in Maraval, and I must applaud the efforts being done by Minister Fazal Karim to give us youths in poor neighbourhoods the chance to learn a trade.
Recently, a UWI (University of the West Indies) professor was criticising GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses) in the newspaper, saying it lets the rich and middle class parents off, but what about the others?
Five years ago, I was a manual labourer who never earned enough; my salary must have been below minimum wage.
When YTEPP (Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme)opened their doors to me, my whole life changed. I learned how to be a building
electrical assistant, and my whole standard of life for me and my family got better; since then, I’m never out of work.
This knowledge strengthened my position and gave me more confidence about my career. Now, I’m one month away from getting an electrical diploma to be a licensed electrician.
I think the professor’s idea of abandoning GATE to go back to the “Dollar for Dollar” system would be a big problem. There are a lot of youths in crisis, and it would add to the crime on the streets.
I think if you want to change GATE, they should look into making the people who finish their course give more service back to the country. I also think the ministry should put leaflets giving information about these free courses in residents’ letter boxes, so more youths will know they have more choices to make money, other than getting into drugs and crime.