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PM unveils plan to train single parent mothers

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony has announced a brand new initiative to be undertaken in the third term of an SLP-led Government to assist the island’s unemployed and unskilled single mothers.

Speaking at a recent Labour Party public meeting in Micoud, the Prime Minister, who is also Leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), indicated it was his Party’s intention to introduce the plan to assist the large numbers of unemployed single mothers in Saint Lucia who are in need of help to learn a trade, get a job and earn an income.

Dr Anthony said “the next Labour Administration will introduce a programme to train them.”
“And apart from paying them an allowance, the Government will also ensure that their children are taken care of while they learn their new skills,” he added.

The Prime Minister’s announcement was greeted with much applause by those gathered, many of whom were young, single parents.

He has since explained further that “this plan is already on the drawing board” and assured that “it will be implemented in the best possible way to ensure that it meets the needs of those who need it most.”

Dr Anthony said this programme “will benefit young persons in a big way, as a significant number of the single parents are young persons.”

The announcement of the programme to support single mothers through training is expected to be well subscribed, according to local sociologists.

A social analyst (formerly attached to the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College) said: “This matter of single parenting is a serious social and sociological problem.

“It is a phenomenon that has not been adequately looked at, but there are many more single parents than we may realize.”

He added: “The other sociological factor is that not too many of us realize that there are also single parent fathers, many of them fathers whose child or children’s mother, or wife, would have left them on his account.”

“What happens in many of these cases,” he continued, “is that the single parent fathers would leave the child or children in the care of his sister or mother while seeking a job.”

He argued that “single parenthood is not restricted to one gender” and advised that “when the Government starts this programme, it takes a gender-neutral approach and defines it as a programme to assist single parents – both single parent fathers and single parent mothers.”

Dr Anthony said the new programme “will complement others introduced over the past nine years by the first two Labour administrations.”

The earlier initiatives that also aim at and attract and assist young people include the National Skills Development Programme (NDSC) and the Youth Enterprise Development Programme (YEDP), both of which are aimed at training young persons and preparing them for the job market.

The Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) was also created to train new small business persons in how to manage and market their businesses, while the Belfund was established to provide low cost starting capital for micro business projects mainly undertaken by young persons.

Now, the Guyana-based Commonwealth Youth Programme’s Caribbean Centre (CYPCC) is getting ready to train 100 Saint Lucian “Youth at Risk” and prepare them for the challenges of entrepreneurial life.

The Prime Minister said the new programme for single mothers “will also provide new avenues for new opportunities and release the assisted persons from the double burden of unemployment and single-parenthood.”

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