Fresh warning about brain drain


Donald Saunders

Kingston, Jamaica – A visiting politician is making a case for skilled Caribbean nationals to stay within the region rather than going to North America and elsewhere to earn a living.

Addressing students, administrators and others at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill last Friday, Deputy Speaker of the Bahamas House of Assembly, Donald Saunders proposed this as a way of stemming the brain drain affecting Caribbean states.

The Bahamian official was at the time delivering the matriculation address.

He cited the number of nurses leaving The Bahamas for more profitable endeavors and warned of the impact of such losses.

“If you’re going to move from Barbados, move to Trinidad. If you’re going to move from Trinidad, move to The Bahamas. If you’re going to move from St Lucia, move to Grenada. Let’s keep this UWI educational experience in the Caribbean,” he suggested.

“If you go to Europe or to America to secure further education…please just come back home! All the time we say ‘well, the industries are not here in the Caribbean’. Well, get that experience and create the industry in the Caribbean, get the education and come back home and create the industry in the Caribbean and help build your home.”

In his pep talk to students, Saunders spoke of some of the challenges he encountered in his academic and political career, including his inability to pass statistics and micro-economics courses at Cave Hill.

Having had no interest in working in public service, but harbouring a love for politics, he subsequently changed his studies from sociology and public sector management to political science and sociology.

He cited as another life lesson, his unsuccessful bid in the 2007 general election.

“I didn’t quit, I improvised, I looked for a different path to success,” he explained, before going on to advise the students: “Keep moving forward, keep looking for the finish line, the finished result.”

“Never giving up, never stop pursuing your goals, never take your eyes off the goal, find your purpose and keep moving forward.”