Information Technology Minister, Kelver Darroux, has fired at critics of the National Employment Program (NEP), saying that they are not interested in Dominican youth.
He said he views the programme as a platform for young people to gain experience and employment, and referenced the recently-revealed 2016/2017 National Budget, in which over $7-million allocated for the continuation of the NEP.
“In this financial year, over $7-million will be made available for the continuation of that program [NEP],” he said, at the media launch of the review of the National Youth Policy, on Wednesday. “And, those who have criticized this program, I will say publicly, they are not interested in our young people because the National Employment Program, what it does is that it provides the opportunity for young people to be engaged and then to move onto other things.”
The NEP was introduced in 2013. Through the program, unemployed people are placed in the public and private sectors. The government then pays the salaries of those employed.
Darroux stated that over 1,344 persons have been engaged in the NEP.
Meanwhile, Darroux boasted that the current Labour Party administration has made the largest investment in the island’s young people.
“The government of Dominica continues to remain committed to our young people, and this government has invested the most in young people, and I say that with no apology,” he said.
He went on to discuss the government’s “major investment” in youth, through a budget allocation of $1-million to the Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT) to facilitate entrepreneurship among youth.
“It is this government that has invested in the Dominica Youth Business Trust, and again in this financial year, we will be making available to the DYBT, an amount of $1-million—monies that will be specifically targeted at young people who have these innovative business ideas, to go through a training process, a mentorship process, and then to receive financing to set up and start up their own business,” Darroux remarked.
He also pointed to the government’s interest in sports among youth and announced that $600,000 will be used to have the sports facility at Massacre fully covered, to allow youth to engage in sporting activities in inclement weather. The sports facility at Stockfarm will also be fully renovated, at a cost of $5-million.
“All of this is to give young people an avenue where they can recreate, they can socialize, and they can exert that energy in a very friendly atmosphere,” Darroux said.