It’s definite. To ensure that Government’s expenditure is reduced, a substantial number of public workers will lose their jobs in the first quarter of this year.
This is the word of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in a Press conference held at Government Headquarters last Monday.
However, during a meeting with the Minister of Labour, the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Minister Sinckler said that the Government would consider the NUPW’s ten-point proposal with a view of saving as many jobs as possible.
Still, the fact remains that in this prevailing depressed economy the Government sees job retrenchment as unavoidable.
This time of austerity will no doubt throw some of these workers into a state of depression.
I am reminded of the depressed prophet in 1 Kings 19. He complained: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:14, New International Version)
But God said to Elijah: “Go back the way you came . . . anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, king over Israel, and anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah, to succeed you as prophet.” (1 Kings 19:15 and 16)
I am reminded also of a previous column, With God On Our Side (November 25, 2013). I said then: “As a nation we are presently wrestling a stubborn economic hurdle; but by God’s grace we will overcome this as well . . . . Didn’t we survive the oil crisis of the early 1970s, and the IMF-inspired structural adjustments of the 1990s?”
Yes, we did. The point I am making is that with God there is always hope. Out of a seemingly hopeless situation He provides the solution.
In his defeated and depressed state, Elijah saw his situation as dismal. But God showed him there were still more miles to cover; more work with which to be gainfully employed; and more purposes to pursue. He showed Elijah that there were people who needed him and his skills.
For those of us who might be retrenched I offer the following thoughts.
First of all, never give up hope. David said: “Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God . . . . (Psalm 42:5)
Secondly, look inward and recognize those talents and skills that are innate. It is more than likely that these can be honed and marketed.
Seriously, has God blessed you with the skills of bread and pastry making, dressmaking, joinery, appliance repair, drawing and painting (you get the idea)? Then become an entrepreneur in your area.
In the previous column mentioned above I also made this observation: “We need to do more to inspire and encourage entrepreneurship in this country. This is what will unlock the doors out of this crisis we are presently experiencing.”
The problem is that when most people think about entrepreneurship and business, they automatically think of a building with equipment and an office.
This brings me to my third point: the promotion of your
skill and ability. It is becoming commonplace now for small business people to take their services and products to homes and commercial places. Chefs, life and fitness coaches, and so on are already doing this.
So, promote the service and product you are offering directly to the targeted customer. Let people know what you are doing.
Of course, some people will not be interested in what you are offering; but others will be. However, you will never know unless you get out there and make a pitch.
Surely, many times you have thought about turning your God-given ability into a money-making enterprise. Well, this might become a necessity this year!