Pineridge Member of Parliament Kwasi Thompson is
confident that should the corporate community and
residents of Grand Bahama form a solid partnership,
better communities will be developed and young people
mentored for the job market.
 
Thompson, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House
of Assembly, urged members of the Rotary Club of
Freeport during their weekly meeting yesterday to do
all they can to mentor young people, spending valuable
time teaching them to enhance their skills so that
they can become successful and productive citizens.
Thompson noted that the young people of Grand Bahama
have a great need for employment, but he realizes it
has to be balanced with the needs of the corporate
community. It makes no sense, he said, for young
people to finish high school or college then cannot
find a job in Freeport. In some cases, he said
companies cannot find suitable employees because there
is no one locally who has the expertise required.
"It makes more sense if the corporate community got
together with the local institutions here in Grand
Bahama and tailor-make certain programs that will
specifically fit their business," Thompson said. "So
that at the end of the day two things will happen. The
young person that goes through a tailor-made project
will have employment and the second is after the
training program is finished, the company will gain a
trained employee who is ready for the task at hand."
As movers and shakers of the corporate community,
Thompson reminded Rotarians that they are the ideal
persons to partner with young people and other social
organizations to help make our various communities
better. Furthermore, he told them there are instances
where their skills, expertise and experience is very
valuable when they seek to help those in need,
especially when they do so with the youth.
Thompson said there should be more mentorship programs
for young people. He said this is often left up to the
various churches on the island and other community
groups, but he believes there are many things young
people can learn from those who have experience in
travelling the road to success.
"There are many young people who look at a successful
business and they believe that one day you were doing
nothing and then the next day you had a successful
business," he said. "They don't realize that you would
have endured about five to fifteen years of
disappointments before you would have gotten to the
point where you are now."
He said it would be wonderful if members of the
corporate community could mentor young people in
entrepreneurship or mentor them on how to start a
business so that they too can be on the road to
success.
"It is frustrating as a politician to hear complaints
from young persons on a daily basis saying they would
like to be employed, however they don't have the
skills for the businesses that are here in Grand
Bahama," he said. "So the thing that we must do is to
make sure that our young people know what is required
of them if they want to work in Grand Bahama so that
they are then be able to fulfill those kinds of
positions."
Thompson urged the Rotarians to spend more time with
young people. He advised that they should mentor them
by showing them ways they can utilize their skills and
interest to achieve great things.
"Here is the road that I took and let me walk you
through the road that I took so that you would be able
to walk that road too so you can see the pitfalls or
what needs to happen," he said. "We need more than
just your money, we need your time, your level of
expertise and experience. That is something that money
cannot buy."
Thompson said a really good mentorship program will
enable young people to become their best. He said if
give young people a chance to prove themselves, they
can end up providing a vital contribution to the
businesses they work for.
"Young people should have a voice and when they speak,
they can have an impact," he said. "I believe that if
you market your business with young people in mind it
can become successful. It will even do better when you
have young people working with you to promote it."
He said the government realizes that young people are
a vital part of the community and as such has
allocated funds to implement a Young Person Start-up
Program to assist youth who require start-up monies
for small businesses. The program will also ensure
that the young people will be educated on how to
properly manage their business.