Thursday 26 November, 2020

CARICOM chair: C'bean witnessing 'crippling' unemployment due to COVID

CARICOM chair Mia Mottley speaking on BBC World.

CARICOM chair Mia Mottley speaking on BBC World.

The rising unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic has been “crippling” for the Caribbean economies. 

CARICOM chair Mia Mottley was speaking on BBC World with Matthew Amroliwala, when she disclosed that the tourism and trade-dependent economies have witnessed between 40 to 60 per cent of their government revenues for the month of April being affected by the coronavirus disease 2019. 

COVID-19 has starkly increased unemployment rates in member states where tourism accounts for at least 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mottley said the unemployment rates have even tripled in some CARICOM territories. 

“We have also recognized that the unemployment rates in countries that are tourism-dependent have gone from double to triple. It is no different from what is happening in the UK and the US, the difference is, however, is that we have a much narrower base and there are a number of countries that effectively depend on tourism,” said the Barbadian prime minister. 

Mottley said that the ‘silver lining’ of the crisis was that the global pandemic occurred at the latter end of the tourist season or “winter season” which runs from November to mid-April. 

“The only good news for us, as opposed to Europe, is that we have now come out of our winter season and therefore in a sense, we are going into our low season so that then allows us to do some refurbishment and training and other things that we would have otherwise been looking at anyhow,” she reasoned. 

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