brain drain needs new plumbing
principal Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie sounded a sobering note
of warning in Fridays Guardian of a growing migration
of our best-educated scholars from these shores.
While economists were measuring capital flight, our university
was logging lost training and intellect, and the report
doesnt look good.
Dr Tewarie didnt provide figures, but in his words,
we are losing our best and brightest in droves.
Some of this is a natural consequence of economies operating
on a global scale with the resources to cherry-pick the
best talent, no matter where it might have been born.
But some of it is also a consequence of an inadequate strategy
to make the best use of native intellect and talent in building
the next generation business opportunities that the highly-specialised
business initiatives that our future will demand.
Dr Tewarie cites the United Nations Millennium Development
Goals, the second of which is achieve universal primary
education and the emerging reality that developed
nations will demand a large, well-educated pool of tertiary-level
The problem sets in when the gap between a nation that aspires
to becoming developed and one that has been for decades
T&T is still building the business, social and governmental
infrastructure and mechanisms to make the best use of that
tertiary pool, while long developed nations are desperate
Along with this loss of intellect comes the loss of valuable
contributors to the middle-class and our business drivers,
the clever and driven people who, in striving to improve
their lot, raise the value of everything around them.
To change that loss, the Government will have to become
much smarter about the way it plans for T&Ts growth.
If we want to hold on to growing numbers of tertiary-level
graduates, trained craftsmen and other workers, the nation
will have to provide jobs that deliver not just appropriate
income, but also opportunities for individuals to invest
themselves in the development of the countrys potential.
The only sustainable way to do that is by encouraging entrepreneurship
and business incentives in areas in which growth is needed.
Business development in technology and engineering cannot
be mandated by policy, but can be actively supported and
The Government must also commit to developing or driving
the growth of a modern communications infrastructure that
will allow this country to work with the world along datapipes
that match those of the nations with which it hopes to compete
But these are not natural postures for a T&T government
to adopt. They may seem too forward-looking, too trusting
of the business sector, and too fundamentally uncontrollable
for politicians used to controlling every element of governance,
but they are, unquestionably, inevitable.
What we are seeing in the loss of so many of our most promising
people is not just a fear of crime or the lure of well-commercialised
nations, but a loss of confidence in the pilots steering
our future course.
If we want these valuable passengers, the sales pitch for
their future destination is going to have to be spelled
out in compelling detail and offer well-defined roles for
well-trained nationals to participate in the futuring of