What happened on the Beetham on Monday was heart-rending but it was a situation where “you can almost lay blame by no one”.
This was stated yesterday by chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Catherine Kumar.
Speaking at the Chamber’s Nova Committee’s Jump Start graduation for 81 participants from educational institutions across Trinidad and Tobago, who interned at 47 different companies during the August vacation, Kumar said:
“It is a situation where you can almost lay blame by no one. You can’t blame those who decided to take action on the Beetham, they are hurting. They have gone through a lot and they feel as though a great injustice has been done to them.
“One of their own was shot dead. Two children were made homeless, one woman without a husband, a mother remains without a son, but at the same time, we cannot take action in our own hands and become indisciplined...and, therefore, the police, at the end of the day, had to do what they had to do.
“In some way, in between there, we know there could have been a better way, in probably the way they were approached, in the way the police responded. We just know it should not have turned out the way that it did,” she said.
Kumar said she believes through more programmes like Jump Start throughout the country, many will realise there is a better way outside a life of crime. The programme seeks to empower young people from less fortunate circumstances with vacation jobs that afford them mentorship.
She thanked those businesses which opened their doors to the participants of the Jump Start programme but also made a special appeal to other companies who may or may not offer programmes during the August vacation for students to get on board.
“To those members of the private sector who have not yet participated to get involved in this worthwhile project, our programme is not like their programme because our programme also focuses on developing the person and their skills towards national development, and not just finding a job during the vacation period,” Kumar pointed out.
She noted all around the world, young people have problems finding jobs but added no matter how difficult their lives may be, they have the power to make the decisions towards positive futures.
“You are the leaders of tomorrow; don’t expect life to be easy but don’t give up. I wish that you will continue to be an example of positive change to our country and not be lured into gangs and criminal activity.
“I urge you to choose to be always productive and law-abiding, so that you can be proud of the contribution you have made towards the development of your country,” she said.
Other speakers included Neal and Massy director Hugh Henderson, one of the sponsors of this year’s programme, who told the young people to work hard, pray often and dream big, and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour Carl Francis said the ministry was working to make the environment a more entrepreneurial one to facilitate young people interested in being their own boss.