Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Are we short on talent in Jamaica?

Published:Saturday | November 24, 2018 | 12:09 AM


The question of talent in Jamaica has been one of my preoccupations as I teach thousands of students at UWI. I am now better able to guess who are the people with the best-made plans to go. I have made presentations at conferences asking if we are losing our best. The jury was out but I think that the verdict is yes. Migration from Jamaica will only increase at this time.

When I meet a nursing sister who has gone to the Cayman Islands and now Bermuda, and an integrated science teacher from a rural secondary school who is joining those in Dubai, I have to face the facts. Talent is leaving in droves. This then helps to explain why in spite of our boasts about talent and excellence, the experience at home is less than stellar. We have many of our citizens helping to do great things overseas, but here we seem to frustrate the hell out of those at home.

So when I heard that a survey found that Switzerland is the country in the world that attracts and retains the greatest selection of talent in the world, and that Singapore is the highest scorer at about number 11, I wondered where Jamaica fell in this survey.

From traffic management to infrastructural development; from education to health; from entrepreneurship to education; from economic development to other fields of endeavour, we are demonstrating that we have lost some of our best talent.

Human capital and social capital are certainly necessary for us to meet the development goals. Talent is not enough but it is very necessary.

Hilary Robertson-Hickling